How many times a week should I practice yoga?

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Yogi Cameron Alborzian
Alternative & Complementary Medicine

Many people in the West associate yoga exclusively with the physical postures. This aspect of the practice will be particularly helpful in helping the practitioner to find greater flexibility and strength. When yoga postures are practiced with presence and awareness, the body's general physiological systems (circulatory, digestive, nervous, etc.) will improve in their functionality. Though all of this is beneficial, the ultimate purpose of yoga postures is not to be as exercise in and of itself for a certain number of days per week, but to open up the body for meditation.

The ancient sages who developed yoga postures did so when they observed the animals stretching their bodies after waking up after sleep. They emulated these actions (as is suggested by many of the postures being named for animals) so that their bodies would be healthier and more limber for sustained periods of sitting.

Given this, and though yoga postures do provide many physical benefits in and of themselves, an ideal practice should consist of a daily commitment of at least a few minutes. This is because, ultimately, a meditation practice will grow from the posture practice and ideal spiritual practices are pursued every day. Even if it is only for ten or fifteen minutes a day, practice yoga postures after you wake up each morning so that your body will ultimately be more available for meditation should you ever choose to pursue it.

Ideally, you would do a full practice 2 to 3 times per week. However, if life gets in the way and you cannot do this it is more beneficial to do just a couple of poses every day (or every other day) than to do one long session per week.

If you are unsure how to go about this: take a few minutes to scan your body to see how you feel and what your body needs on this given day. Then select the asanas (yoga postures) that you think are right for you. Oftentimes, one pose will lead into the next and this will evolve into an organic, beautiful practice- which does not need to be long to be effective.

As with any form of exercise and for optimal benefits, two to three times a week is recommended. With a regular weekly yoga practice, your body will begin to form a kinesthetic memory which will easily guide you into the postures, help promote continual improved overall alignment, and help attain full integrity of the postures. Yoga can be practiced daily or incorporated on alternate days with any type of weight training or cardiovascular regimen. This is a personal decision based on your specific priorities or goals.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.