Yoga is an antidote to the struggles and strains of modern life.
Once practiced solely in the East, it has become trendy throughout the world, and for a good reason, it is associated with improving health conditions such as high blood pressure and depression.
You may be wondering how often and in what amount you need to practice this holistic mind-body exercise to enjoy the advantages that yoga brings.
Here we delve deep into what it means to do yoga every day, both for you and your body.
- Can You Do Yoga Everyday?
- Is Daily Yoga Enough Exercise?
- Benefits of A Daily Yoga Practice
- How To Start Doing Yoga Everyday
- Should You Do The Same Yoga Routine?
Can You Do Yoga Everyday?
Firstly, let’s start with the safety of doing yoga every day. The great thing about practicing yoga is that you can adapt it to suit how you feel on any given day.
This means that even if you have an injury, illness, or feel more tired than usual, you can try a form that fits your situation. Make sure you find a great yoga teacher to practice with, whether on or offline.
Practicing yoga every day has no concerns about safety, as long as you listen to your body and aim to respond to its needs. Sometimes this means decreasing the duration and intensity according to your state of health at the time.
Sometimes, this can mean just sitting in a comfortable position and practicing some mindful deep breathing or lying in a corpse pose.
Remember that mindfulness and meditation programs are just as important as the physical asanas (postures) and can help you come back more vital the next day.
The results of sticking to a regular and consistent practice can be profound.
You are likely to find the following:
- Increased flexibility and fitness
- A greater level of awareness of your body and breath
- Ability to react better to daily struggles and strains
- Improved sleep
- Reduction in stiffness
- Reduced weight gain
So, it is more than just ok to do yoga every day to make real progress and feel the benefits in your body and mind.
Is Daily Yoga Enough Exercise?
When considering if practicing yoga is enough physical activity, we need to think about the type and duration of the practice.
If you are practicing for ten-twenty minutes, it is unlikely to fulfill your daily exercise requirements in a gentle and relaxing way.
However, if you are engaged in vigorous vinyasa style classes for an hour or more each day, this will be contributing to your daily exercise target.
Remember that we want to include a range of activities such as cardio, resistance work, and flexibility exercises for a healthy body.
Ideally, this means that a mix of jogging, biking, dancing, yoga, and strength work would all be part of your routine.
Benefits of A Daily Yoga Practice
Doing yoga every day has the unique capacity to improve your physical and mental health while making a real impact on your day-to-day life, even when you are off the mat.
The effects of yoga on the body have now been studied extensively, and experts have created a solid evidence base to demonstrate how yoga and meditation improve our health (1).
Below we discuss some of the critical ways a daily yoga routine can help you, whatever your health goals.
Your Immune System Improves
Yoga targets several factors which can affect your immune system. It reduces the hormone cortisol levels, which, when elevated, can reduce our immune capacity.
The act of daily deep breathing as practiced during a yoga workout can also help to tone and strengthen your respiratory system, which helps to condition the lungs and increase both blood flow and fresh oxygen supplies (2).
When you do yoga every day, it also encourages the stimulation of our lymphatic system; movement is needed to promote the movement of our lymph, and the head-to-toe stretching and twisting of a yoga pose do just that.
This movement of lymph is required for the body to remove any waste materials from the body, including white blood cells produced in response to an infection or injury.
Therefore, doing yoga every day, when coupled with a nutrient-dense diet and plentiful sleep, is an excellent way of supporting your immunity year-round.
Remember, a good yoga teacher will include a mix of pranayama (breathing practices), asana (postures), and relaxation, including the savasana, pose for the best effects.
Improves Your Strength
As well as a walking and running routine, our bodies need regular weight-bearing exercise to improve the strength of both our muscles while reducing bone loss.
Yoga incorporates a lot of positions that target muscles throughout the body.
For example, the plank pose is excellent at building core and back strength and upper arm strength, while the repetition of positions such as chaturanga (similar to a push-up) targets your arm and shoulder strength.
To build up our strength through yoga, we need to come back and practice every day to increase our routines’ intensity and duration. You will likely notice visible improvements if you do yoga every day for at least a month.
Adding in repetitions of sun salutations and holding positions such as plank for at least five deep breaths can quickly challenge your body and build muscle mass.
Focus and Energy Levels Boost
When you do a dynamic yoga class every day, such as vinyasa, you will experience a rapid energy boost.
This is because doing yoga every day will get your blood pumping, raise your feel-good neurotransmitters, and help you to fight the fatigue which comes from sitting still too much.
Equally though, a more restorative and relaxing practice of movements can also increase your energy by giving you the deep rest your nervous system craves.
A daily yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) practice, guided by a yoga teacher, can be as effective as 2-3 hours of sleep and help you come back feeling strong during long days.
Suppose you are someone who struggles with focus at work or home. In that case, the inclusion of mindfulness or meditation can help keep you in the present moment, making it easier to be productive and reducing overwhelm.
Even taking five to ten minutes once or twice a day to sit and focus on your breath or a specific mantra is an excellent investment as you are likely to maintain better focus for the rest of the day and help people complete their tasks with more ease.
This is the power of doing yoga every day. We quickly improve our mind-body connection, which is why many yoga practitioners have so much passion for their practice.
You Might Lose Weight
If you practice yoga every day, you may find it easier to manage your body size. This is for two main reasons:
- The physical yoga asana practice can burn around 180-460 calories a session. When you do something like yoga every day, this can make a real difference in the amount of energy you expend on a daily basis, so you end up burning more calories overall.
- The reduced anxiety from practicing yoga poses every day makes it easier for you to make better choices around eating. When your nervous system is relaxed, you will have fewer cravings and be less drawn to highly palatable foods, which leads us to overeat.
When people eat better and move more, this can help us stay in shape, but the magic aspect of doing yoga poses every day is the immediate benefits to our nervous systems.
Improves Your Mood
We can all suffer from periods of low mood (or depression) from time to time. Often this is the result of being overburdened by the work and demands of daily life. But happiness isn’t something we have to fight to bring back.
When we stop to stretch, breathe, and relax, doing yoga poses every day can encourage us to let go of our worries, at least temporarily.
Daily yoga also makes it easier for people to appreciate being in the present moment. The practice of returning our attention to the breath, again and again, means we will find it less effort for our brain to be where we are.
This improves our mood, as it stops us from being caught up either back, past, or the future.
Finally, yoga poses also reduce inflammation in the body (3). Chronic inflammation is strongly correlated with conditions such as depression, making it a great tool to improve your state of mind.
Less Stress and Sleep Better
When practiced every day, yoga can overcome the effect that chronic stress has on our system.
Yoga switches us into the parasympathetic nervous system response, reduces high blood pressure, and triggers a much-needed period of rest and digests for our body and brain.
All too often, we are in a state of fight or flight; something we experience by facing several different challenges daily, and these can accumulate to cause us:
- Repetitive stress injury
- Trouble sleeping
- Inability to concentrate
- Susceptibility to infection
- Physical tension and muscle discomfort
- Feelings of anxiety and unease
A Yoga class tackles each one of these symptoms, but only when practiced every day. This is because we need to press the “reset” button often to allow our bodies a chance to recover, reduce tension and gain the benefit.
Yoga practiced every night before bed can help us switch off our overactive minds, making it more likely we will sleep well.
Good sleep also helps us transform our capacity to manage challenge-making it yet another reason to hop on the mat each day.
We all sit too much, whether through driving, working at a desk, or relaxing on the sofa watching TV.
This can set us up in bad postural habits, as we usually slouch or rely on the support of the chair behind us. We can end up with weak and lazy muscles.
We can lose the ability to even sit comfortably on the floor.
But, by practicing seated yoga postures every day, we will soon regain the ability to sit up straight, using our core muscles to support our spine and helping us to recover a better posture throughout the day, even when we are sitting.
If you are particularly interested in yoga for good posture, consider integrating some form of Iyengar into your daily routine.
This type of pose is very focused on correct alignment and building a healthy posture. In particular, an Iyengar class is great if you have any lower back issues at times.
Yoga practitioners often report that they feel ‘taller’-this is just because their posture has improved.
Helps To Manage Chronic Pain
When we are under pressure, our sensitivity to pain increases too.
Often, chronic pain is the result of overblown brain response, and by reducing stress, one of the health benefits of a yoga pose is that we can dampen down this reaction, reducing the severity and frequency of the pain.
A daily yoga class can also encourage fresh blood flow around the body and increase endorphins production, which acts as the body’s natural pain killers (4).
Restorative yoga can be a great asset on days when your pain makes it hard for you to practice a more strenuous style, and even just taking a downward-facing dog can make a big difference, especially if you have chronic back pain.
Muscle Flexibility and Mobility
Yoga has a reputation for increasing flexibility, whatever our level, and this is especially true when we get onto the mat every day, as the body can soon stiffen up again through the act of sitting or running.
But it is not just increased flexibility that results from our daily yoga practice. We can also promote the type of mobility required for healthy functional movement. Our backs, in particular, are prone to being stiff and painful as we age.
Better mobility is also necessary to protect our joints as we age, so including some more challenging postures can help us.
Yoga includes many postures which require balance; poses such as the tree and the dancer are great examples.
Even if we find these positions hard at first, our balance function will improve over time, helping us with other daily lives.
When beginners start practicing yoga each day, and their balance is not yet fully formed, they can use the support of a chair or wall and focus on “Drishti,” a specific point on the floor or wall that helps us to maintain stability in a balancing pose.
Promotes Heart Health
It’s not just cardio workouts that help build healthy hearts. Yoga supports our hearts in several ways (5):
- It increases heart rate variability
- It can lower blood pressure- a marker of heart health
- It keeps you active every day
- It can lower our resting heart rate
- It can improve our cholesterol levels
Yoga is excellent for the health of our hearts as it offers both a physical and mental practice, improving the fitness of our bodies while reducing the stress of our minds, the two critical aspects for a healthy heart.
Aim to include 2-3 challenging dynamic practices each week to build your cardiovascular endurance while adding some relaxing yin sessions to promote mental relaxation.
Bones May Get Stronger
As we age, the density of our bones naturally declines.
For women after menopause, there can be an increased risk of osteoporosis, and even for younger women and men, if we don’t use our bodies enough then, we too are at risk of fractures and falls.
The advantage of a daily yoga practice is that we can strengthen our bones from the inside out without impacting our joints.
The weight-bearing nature of yoga makes it one of the best things we can do every day to protect our bone health.
Science-based studies have also demonstrated that regular yoga movements may reduce our chances of getting arthritis and pain, and immobility if we already have it (6).
How To Start Doing Yoga Everyday
Now we know just how beneficial the daily act of practicing yoga can be, we will focus on how you can get started with your daily practice from today.
We often put off getting started, and the prospect of doing yoga every day can leave us feeling overwhelmed, but it’s just a question of forming a good routine.
It is effortless to get going; you don’t need any fancy equipment or unique clothes, but there are a few essential pointers to bear in mind:
Which Style of Yoga Suits You?
Decide what your goals are and try to choose a suitable style.
For example, if you mainly want to shape up, lose weight or build strength, then a daily practice of a dynamic style such as vinyasa or ashtanga will help. You want to have a real passion and purpose behind your decision.
If you just want to relax, then try Hatha or yin to help you unwind.
What Time of Day Is The Best To Practice?
Consider your current activity program and what time of day it would be easiest for you to commit to a regular practice.
Yoga flows can be beneficial when practiced every morning, as they help set you up for the day ahead, building mind-body awareness and triggering other healthy routines.
Some people also prefer to get in the PM habit to help them decompress after a busy day and help improve their sleep quality.
How Will You Practice? Online or Offline?
Nowadays, there are many great online classes for you to choose from to practice whenever and wherever you like. These classes are great if you have some prior experience with yoga or also practice in real life.
If you are entirely new to yoga, you might want to think about attending at least a couple of face-to-face classes with an experienced teacher to make sure you have a safe alignment and get you used to the postures first.
Should You Do The Same Yoga Routine?
It can be tempting to repeat the same yoga routine every time you return to your mat, but this is likely to become ineffective after a while.
It is lovely to practice the same routine for a few days or weeks until you feel comfortable and familiar with the poses.
But then, try to mix things up a bit. This will challenge your body and keep things interesting.
You could come up with a series of different routines of different styles, lengths, and difficulties so that you can pick and choose depending on how you feel each day.
You can also drop into many fantastic yoga teachers with online offerings for inspiration, which will help keep things fresh and push you to progress.
In conclusion, doing yoga every day is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It is so healthy for your body and mind as it offers a lot more than regular movement alone.
When you practice yoga every day, you set yourself up for a strong body and a resilient mind. You can reduce your risk of many chronic diseases, improve your capacity to manage modern life and help to manage your weight.
Aside from these benefits, you will likely find that everyday yoga will start to influence and improve other areas of your life, affecting how you eat, think, and live generally.