If, like me, you value self-care and try to create routines that contribute to your well-being, then you are probably also curious about underlying theories and scientific research.
Besides what practically suits me (and feels good!) I also want to compare this with the scientific findings.
So one of the questions that posed itself was: Is there such a thing as the best moment to do yoga?
And what turns out?
The best time to practice yoga and meditation practices is during the transition period. This is the twilight zone between day and night. During this ‘sandhya kala’, around sunrise and around sunset, everything is in motion. When you practice yoga during this period, your ability to transcend your limitations is greater. Your life energy is then in a state of change.
Interesting, isn’t it? Let’s dig a little deeper into this matter.
The Yogi’s Timetable
Certain times of the day support a yogi(ni) in specific ways. The five most important moments of the day are the four ‘sandhya kalas’ (transition times) and the early morning or Brahma muhurta (3:40 pm)
The four sandhya kalas are the transition times of 40 minutes that are appropriate to do / practice balancing processes. These are 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after:
The Brahma Muhurta is the best time for you to practice if you want to transcend your physical nature or know dimensions that we call spiritual. It starts at 03h40 and ends at 03h50.
Don’t worry, I can’t get up this early either 😉
If, on the other hand, you are only looking for physical health, then the sandhya-kala around sunrise is the best time to do exercises.
Another important aspect is the fact that practicing yoga generates a certain amount of ‘ushna’. This word is usually translated as ‘warming’. Heating, not in the sense of increasing temperature (because in yoga the goal is usually to keep the metabolism and heart rate low), but in the sense of one of the three aspects that regulate the different functions in the human system (the other two are ‘sheeta’ and ‘pitta’).
When you have excess ushna you feel that your body is hot. However, if you were to measure your temperature right now, it will be normal. So ushna is not like having a fever, it is an experience heat.
We are now aware that doing yoga practices increases the ushna of the system. This also means that when the outside temperature is high and your ushna rises above a certain point, it will cause cellular damage.
This is the important reason why yoga exercises should always be done in the cooler hours of the day. In the transition between day and night, the friction within your system will be less, and therefore the yoga practices will generate less ushna.
In Yoga, the prana is categorized into five different vayus. Vayu means “wind.” Each prana vayu moves through the body in different ways. The tradition states that optimally functioning prana help people realize their greatest potential.
Our ‘Samana vayu’ is in charge of maintaining body heat. A yogi always wants to keep the body on the warm side, because warmth also means intensity and dynamics.
After all, in a body that cools down below a certain point, inertia is created. Almost all yoga exercises are designed to take you to a so-called ‘higher realm’. A higher realm here does not mean a higher metabolism.
It means that your body will function at an easier pace. With regular practice of this kind of yoga exercises, we can prove within three to six weeks that your energy will be brought to a certain level and your physiology will come to rest and continue at a calmer pace.
When your energies are low, your body tends to move at a higher pace (to keep your life process going), resulting in exhaustion of your entire system. Maintaining this high rate of bodily functions can eventually drive your mind to madness and, above all, will significantly shorten your lifespan.
Best Conditions For Your Body
You can think of a specific time or moment of the day, but you can also think of the most favorable conditions for the body to practice yoga. For example, a full stomach is not very handy for yoga exercises. The postures put the necessary pressure on that area and that doesn’t feel very pleasant. The stomach is also the area involved in Samana Vayu (see above).
It is therefore best to start practicing yoga on an empty stomach or at least two hours after the last meal eaten.
You can drink some water fairly shortly before you start.
If you practice in the early morning, on an empty stomach, it is often advised to drink two glasses of water before you start. Again, look for yourself what feels good for you.
Early Bird or Night Owl?
In terms of time, the morning is ideal. I like the peace and quiet of the morning very much. It can be so quiet outside and that can be very helpful during practice. Shortly after getting up, I also feel that my mind is not so active yet.
Sleep has slowed down the activity of thinking at least a bit. In those circumstances my mind surrenders more easily and also goes along with the flow of yoga more easily. The body is often a bit stiffer at such an early hour than during the day.
In a natural way you practice more gently than when you are already on steam during the day. The early morning can also increase your attention to the state of your body, which is a favorable condition from a yoga perspective. I prefer a series of morning salutations or some Vinyasa yoga if I choose to do yoga at the start of my day.
The next-conveniently time to do yoga exercises is in the evening. Normally you will have finished most of your activities (work, household) by then. It is therefore advisable not to choose too stimulating yoga exercises.
Yoga in the evening has the added advantage for some people that it prepares your body and mind a bit more for sleep. If you have trouble getting to sleep, yoga exercises can be very helpful at such times. I have a great preference for Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra in the evening!
So when is the best time to do yoga? Actually, all the above points are about finding the right balance.
But most important, ask yourself: “What do I need”?
When you’ve had a short night, you’ll need to really wake up your body and mind. In that case, morning yoga exercises that activate your energy will respond to this. However, when you’ve had a busy day, you probably need an evening yoga session that calms down the hustle and bustle in your body and mind.
I’m curious what’s your personal best time for yoga. You can always leave a comment below.
With love ❤,