Do You Need to Practice Yoga Every Day to See Improvement?

Muna Hassan

(Photo by cottonbro from Pexels)

Question: Do I need to practice yoga every day?

The short answer: No.

The longer answer: No, but …

If you go to a yoga studio or gym to do your yoga sweat sessions, chances are, you're spending between 60 and 90 minutes on your mat each practice.

For some people, dedicating that much time each and every day for a yoga practice is just too much. There are plenty of other things you could be doing in that time. Or it's possible that your local gym or yoga studio only offers a selection of yoga classes that fit into your schedule some days but not all days of the week.

Because of that, many find themselves turning to longer practices once or twice a week. Is that wrong? No. Will it give you the maximum results when it comes to gaining flexibility? No.

That’s not to say you won’t get any results from a once-a-week yoga routine. You will. Longer bouts of yoga a couple times a week are a great supplement to other workouts you may be doing. Depending on the style of yoga you are practicing, these practices can also help improve your cardiovascular system (i.e., the efficiency of your heart).

But what if you could fit in shorter sessions more often throughout the week?

Studies show that doing shorter bouts of yoga daily (10 minutes or so) can improve your overall fitness similar to practicing once or twice a week. In fact, it could improve your flexibility moreso than doing longer sessions less frequently. Sure, that means you’ll have to schedule time most days of the week to get those benefits, but the time you have to put in each day shortens considerably.

(Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels)

Daily practice vs. weekly practice

So what’s really better: to practice yoga every day or to practice a couple times a week? The answer depends on your lifestyle and your goals.

If your goal is to maintain your current flexibility, supplement other workouts and/or improve your cardiovascular fitness, practicing a couple times a week is a good base. In fact, supplementing a current workout routine with 5-10 minutes of dedicated stretching at the end may be just enough to maintain your current flexibility while simultaneously improving your recovery time.

On the other hand, if you want to work on gradually getting more flexible and improving your cardiovascular fitness at the same time, practicing yoga every day will be more effective than just a few sessions a week. This could be short sessions every day (10 minutes or more) or it could be longer sessions every day (45 minutes or more).

If you have enough time, motivation and energy to complete a 60- or 90-minute yoga session each and every day, you will see the biggest improvements when it comes to flexibility, cardiovascular ability, breath control and strength.

A great combination -- if possible -- would be to get long sessions in as many days of the week as you can. Then, on the days where you simply don't have enough time or energy to complete a full hour session, you can get on your yoga mat for a shorter session. That way, you're still stretching and moving your body each day, but you're not confined to a specific timeframe for each practice.

All that said, there’s no need to go for the all-or-nothing approach. Some stretching and breath practice each week is better than none. If you simply can not fit in two or three longer sessions a week but can put in 10-15 minutes each evening before going to bed, great!

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Muna has been a journalist and fitness professional for more than 10 years. With degrees in exercise science and dietetics, Muna focuses on informing people about how to lead a healthier lifestyle. Muna is the owner of Body and Mind by Muna, an online gym for at-home workouts, as well as MuslimahFit, a fitness app for women.


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