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How Often Should You Practice Yoga?

how often should you practice yoga

Whether you’re thinking about starting the practice, or have already started but are still finding your feet, it is only natural to wonder, ‘how often should I do yoga to see results?’.

With so many different answers out there, we’ve created the definitive guide to how often to yoga. We’ll cover: 

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How often should you practice yoga on average?

how often to do yoga beginner

When answering the question, ‘how often should you practice yoga?’, unfortunately, there is no definitive answer we can give you!

This is because how often you should do yoga varies from person to person. It ultimately depends on several personal factors, including:

  • Your goals
  • The type of yoga
  • Your fitness level 
  • How much free time you have
  • Your budget

We will explore how each of these things affect how often to do yoga in this article. 

That said, we can give you an average figure based on the average person practising yoga. 

If you have a moderate fitness level, have no major injuries and practice the most common types of yoga such as vinyasa, the recommended amount of yoga sessions is around 3-5 times a week

This amount of time strikes the balance between being enough to make progress, but also gives you enough time to rest and recover! 

how often should i practice yoga to see results

But as we have said, you may do more or less than this. 

Only you know your body and what works best for you. But in this article, we will outline all the possible factors that can determine this figure, so that you can decide for yourself how often you should practice yoga to see the results that you want! 

So, if you are working out how often to do yoga a week, we’ll take you through some key factors that can determine this figure. 

#1- How often to do yoga according to your goals

how often should you practice yoga to see results

When wondering how often you should practice yoga to see results, you should first ask yourself: exactly what results do you want to achieve? 

In other words, what are your goals for practicing yoga? 

There are lots of benefits to practicing yoga, for both physical and mental health, including:

  • Increasing physical strength 
  • Improving flexibility 
  • Reducing anxiety and stress
  • Reducing the risk of injury 
  • Improving posture
  • Improving circulation

Given the wide range of benefits of yoga, every yogi will ultimately have a slightly different goal for doing yoga.

If you feel that you relate to more than one of these goals (for example you want to both improve your flexibility and achieve a calmer state of mind), then simply take an average of the two recommended times for practicing yoga! 

With that in mind, let’s break down a few of the most popular goals for practicing yoga and how that can affect how often you do yoga:

How often to do yoga for flexibility 

how often should i do yoga to see results

Perhaps the most common reason that people take up yoga is to improve their flexibility. 

This is because there are lots of benefits to improving your flexibility, from preventing injury to improving circulation. 

So, how often should you do yoga to increase flexibility?

If this is your main reason for wanting to practice yoga, then on average, you should aim to do yoga 3-5 times a week. 

All types of yoga will help improve your flexibility, but slower-paced practices like hatha and Yin are particularly beneficial, as the slower pace of the class allows you to get deeper into poses, which will improve your flexibility over time. 

Hot yoga is also particularly good for improving flexibility, as the heat of the room makes your muscles and joints more supple, making you more flexible.

So if improving flexibility is your aim, prioritise doing these types of yoga more often! 

However, even if two people have the same goal of improving flexibility, how often they will need to practice yoga can vary. This is because everyone will have a different starting point when it comes to flexibility, depending on factors such as:

  • The natural range of motion in your joints. Different people will naturally have a different range of motion in their joints, which determines how flexible you are in these areas.

  • Injuries. For example, if you have suffered from a knee injury, you may find it hard to build flexibility around this joint, such as in the hamstrings.

  • Your current fitness regime. Your fitness level and the type of activities you do will affect your flexibility. For example, regular runners typically suffer more from tight hamstrings so may take longer to build flexibility.

  • Age. As we age, the joints and muscles typically get weaker, which can hinder flexibility compared to younger people whose joints are typically more supple.

How often to do yoga for flexibility also depends on the element of flexibility you want to improve. This is because more advanced poses will require more regular practice than others.

For example, if you want to be able to touch your toes, this will not require as much practice as a more advanced pose such as wheel pose, which requires a lot of back and hamstring flexibility.

That said, despite slight variations, when improving any element of flexibility, practicing regularly is key! This is because it will take time for your muscles, joints and ligaments to adapt and for their flexibility to increase.

So, in answer to the question, ‘how often should I do yoga to increase flexibility?’, we can say 3-5 times a week, depending on the factors we have outlined above. 

But in general, if you’re wondering ‘how often should I do yoga to improve flexibility?’, be aware that building flexibility is a long-term process that requires commitment and regular practice.

Check out our guide on how to improving flexibility for more tips! 

How often to do yoga to build strength 

how often should you do yoga to see results

Another great physical reason to do yoga is that it can help you improve your muscle strength. 

Flexibility and strength work hand in hand in yoga, as most yoga poses require both joint mobility and strength in the surrounding muscles.

So, how often should you practice yoga to see results in terms of building strength? In short, we recommend practicing yoga around 3 times a week to improve strength. 

If this is your goal, you should aim to make the majority of your sessions a dynamic type of yoga such as:

When wondering how often to do yoga for benefits to your strength, remember that rest and recovery is key when it comes to any type of strength training. If you want to build healthy muscles, they also need time to recover. 

With this in mind, doing two high-intensity yoga practices in two consecutive days is not a good idea. Instead, space your higher intensity sessions throughout the week, with at least one or two days between them, to give your muscles time to recover and build strength!

How often you do yoga to improve your strength will also depend on whether you are doing any other strength training in the gym. 

For example, if you already lift weights 3 times a week, then you might want to reduce how often you do high-intensity yoga to once or twice a week. Again, this allows enough time for muscles to recover. 

How often to do yoga for your mental health

how often to do yoga to see results

As well as the physical benefits of yoga, a major reason why you may want to start yoga is that it has huge benefits for your mental health, including: 

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved concentration 

So, how often should you practice yoga to benefit your mental health?

We would recommend doing yoga every day if you want to really reap the benefits for your mental health!

Now, this may sound like a lot, particularly if you are wondering how often you should practice yoga for beginners. But don’t worry, we aren’t saying that you should do a dynamic, advanced hour-long practice every single day! 

There are many different aspects of yoga. As well as the physical postures, a huge part of yoga is also more to do spirituality and mindfulness, which of course benefit your mental health! 

The main elements of yoga that can benefit your mental health are meditation and pranayama. 

Meditation for Improved Mental Health

how often do you need to do yoga to see results

There are many different ways to meditate, but it is all about enhancing the conscious mind, with the aim of training the attention and awareness, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. 

Check out the many benefits of meditation here! 

Meditation is an easy part of yoga to incorporate into your daily routine, as even as little as 5-15 minutes of meditation a day can have huge benefits! This is even easier thanks to apps such as Headspace and Calm, which provide guided meditations and exercises.

Pranayama for Improved Mental Health

how often to do yoga

Pranayama is a form of breathing exercise that focuses on controlling the breath. 

We have a whole article on pranayama and its benefits here. But in short, it is great for calming the mind and improving sleep. 

Like meditation, pranayama is very accessible and can be done anywhere, since you don’t need any equipment to do it- all you need is you and your breath! Even a small amount a day is beneficial, making it an easy way to incorporate more yoga into your daily routine. 

Since these things are purely mental and not physical activities, there is no reason why you cannot practice them every day. In fact, we would recommend it! 

#2- How often to do yoga according to the type of yoga

As well as different styles of yoga, yoga varies in terms of the length of the session and the difficulty. These things will therefore affect how often to do yoga a week. 

The length of the class affects how often you should do yoga

how often to do yoga a week

When answering the question, ‘how often should I practice yoga to see results?’, this largely depends on how long your sessions are. 

For example, we could tell you to do yoga 3-5 times a week. But of course, if these sessions are only 15 minutes long, you will not make as much progress compared to if you were doing 3-5 90 minute sessions!

Most standard yoga classes in yoga studios, gyms or online, are 60 minutes long. However, some ashtanga classes may be longer at 90 minutes, and many studios even offer ‘express’ 30 or 45 minute classes.

So when determining how many times to do yoga per week, you should consider what length of class you are doing. 

If you are doing shorter classes, you may want to do 5 classes a week. Whereas if you are doing longer classes, then 3 per week may well be enough. 

The difficulty of the type of yoga affects how often you should practice

how often to do yoga per week

As well as the length, the difficulty or intensity of the class also affects how often you should do yoga. 

For example, if you are doing only high-intensity yoga classes such as hot yoga or rocket yoga, then 2-3 times a week may well be enough. 

Likewise, if you are doing only lower-intensity classes such as Yin and Nidra, then these can be done more often, such as 5 times a week or even every day. 

However, if you want to start a well-rounded yoga practice, we recommend doing a mixture of high and low intensity types of yoga, 3-5 times a week! 

Enjoying this article so far? Here’s 3 more that we think you’ll love:

#3- How often to do yoga depending on your fitness level

Another major factor that can determine how often to do yoga is the level that you are starting from. 

Here is roughly how often you should practice yoga according to the level you are currently at:

How often to do yoga as a beginner

how often to do yoga for benefits

So, how often should you practice yoga for beginners? In short, we would recommend starting at once or twice a week

At this stage of your yoga journey, it is more about forming a habit of including the practice into your life. You are much more likely to stick to it and stay motivated this way, than if you were to force yourself to go from a complete beginner to doing yoga every single day.

Check out our guide to yoga for beginners for tips on how to get started! 

 

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How often to do yoga if you are at intermediate level

Once you have practised yoga for a while, mastered the basics and have established which types of yoga you prefer, try to up the regularity of your practice to around 3-5 times a week.  

This allows you to delve deeper into the practice, try a range of different types of yoga and keep up your progress.

How often to do yoga at advanced level

how often to do yoga to see benefits

If you consider yourself an advanced yogi, then you should really be practicing yoga every day

For advanced yogis, yoga is not just an activity- it is a lifestyle and a part of your daily routine.

Your practice should also continue off the mat and into your everyday life. You should be in tune with the spiritual side of yoga, practicing things such as karma yoga

If you consider yourself a yoga pro, why not turn your passion into a lucrative career? Taking a Level 3 Yoga Teaching Diploma with OriGym allows you to do just that! 

#4- How often to do yoga depends on how much free time you have

how often to do yoga for flexibility

Even if we tell you to practice yoga a certain amount of times, who are we to tell you how often to do yoga a week without knowing how much free time you have to dedicate to it?

When it comes to establishing a new hobby such as yoga, the most important thing is to be realistic with how much time you can commit to it. 

For example, if you have a full-time job and other hobbies and commitments, one or two yoga sessions a week may be all that you can fit in. 

If you try to do too much on top of everything else, doing yoga will become a chore, rather than something enjoyable. This will only make you stressed, which is the exact opposite effect that yoga should have!

Instead, if you already have a busy lifestyle, try to just schedule in one or two sessions a week and stick to that. 

Think about the nature of your other hobbies too. For example, if you already do a lot of physical activity- whether you run, lift weights or swim, this can affect how often to do yoga. So even if you have a lot of free time, this doesn’t mean that you should fill it with yoga, as your muscles need time to recover.

On the other hand, if your other hobbies are more sedentary, such as reading or painting- these activities don’t require time for the muscles to recover! So you can afford to include more yoga sessions into your week. 

The key is finding a balance of what works for you and your lifestyle at the moment. 

#5- How often to do yoga depends on your budget

how often to do yoga 2

When answering the question ‘how often should you do yoga to see results?’, one of the most overlooked factors is budget. 

If you are practicing yoga in a studio or gym, this of course comes with a price tag! The price of a yoga class depends on several factors, such as:

  • Location. The cost of yoga classes will likely be higher in London compared to other areas of the country. 

This is predominantly to reflect the cost of living being higher in London. 

  • The type of yoga. More specialist types of yoga- such as hot or Iyengar yoga, are typically more expensive.

The higher price tag for these types of classes is simply because they account for the cost of running them- such as heating the room for hot yoga or providing equipment for Iyengar. 

  • Where you practice. Private, high-end studios will typically charge more for sessions than in a more budget fitness centre or gym. 

Again, this higher price accounts for the fact that a higher-end will have higher overhead costs to account for, such as studio rent, equipment and lighting. 

For example, if you only want to spend a maximum of £10 a week on yoga classes, this could get you around one class from a high-end studio, or two classes in a more budget fitness centre. But in London, that might not even get you one class, particularly if you want to do something like hot yoga! 

So, if you want to practice yoga through an in-person class, then how often to do yoga per week will depend on your own personal budget that you have to spend on the classes.

However, if you want to avoid costs altogether, you can practice yoga at home for a fraction of the cost. After investing in a yoga mat, there are plenty of yoga Youtube channels with free follow-along classes!

how often should i do yoga to improve flexibility

If you choose to practice yoga at home, this therefore means that you can do yoga more often without worrying about your budget! 

Yoga studio classes are great as you can benefit from the atmosphere of a class and the teacher can give you personal adjustments and advice. 

On the other hand, practicing at home means that you can practice what you have learnt in classes. You are also more free to explore certain poses, as you can pause a video and spend longer on a certain part of a class. 

To reap the benefits of both, if your budget allows, we would recommend doing a mixture of yoga studio classes and your own practice at home. For example, you could do 1 yoga class in a yoga studio, and 2 or 3 practices at home. 

How often to do yoga to see results: 4 tips to help your progreess

Now that we have outlined some of the factors that can affect how often to do yoga per week, here are some general tips to help you work out how much yoga you should be doing. 

#1- Make yoga part of your daily routine 

how often should you do yoga to increase flexibility

If you’re wondering how often to do yoga to see benefits, the only way you will progress is through consistency. The best way to do this is to make yoga a habit and part of your daily routine. 

For example, you could practice yoga in the morning before you go to work. Or perhaps you prefer a relaxing evening Yin practice just before bed. 

If you’re new to yoga but a regular in the gym, why not incorporate yoga into your workout routine? Yoga makes a great warm-up or cool down!  

Whichever you choose, the important thing is that the more you do it, the more it will become a habit, and the more you will improve. 

 

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#2- Track your progress

how often should you practice yoga 3

When working out how often you should practice yoga a week, a good way to establish a routine is to track your progress.

By this, we mean giving some structure to your yoga practice by writing down (digitally or by hand) your yoga sessions. 

For example, if you have decided that you want to do 3 hour-long yoga classes per week, you should plan these out in advance so that they are as evenly spaced throughout the week as you can (e.g. Monday, Thursday, Sunday). 

how often should you practice yoga 2

That said, although having a structure is certainly helpful, you should also be flexible to change! 

For example, if you feel that you aren’t seeing the results you want from your yoga practice, then you may want to adjust your schedule to include more sessions per week. 

Likewise, if you feel that you are struggling to keep up with the amount of yoga you are doing and your muscles aren’t having enough time to recover, don’t be afraid to reduce the amount of times you do yoga a week! 

Tracking your progress makes it easier to notice these things and make adjustments to your yoga schedule. 

So even when you have decided how often to do yoga to see results, remember that this is not set in stone and should always be open to change as your progress!

#3- Don’t compare yourself to others 

how often should you practice yoga 4

As we have said, when it comes to how often to do yoga a week, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. 

Yoga is a very personal practice, and only you know how often to do yoga to suit you and achieve your own personal goals. 

For example, if you are a beginner, it can be tempting to look at more advanced yogis who do yoga every day and think that you need to do the same. But this is not a helpful mindset to have! 

Instead, focus on your own practice and remember that progress is a personal process that will take a different amount of time for everyone.

#4- Go on a yoga retreat 

If you’re still struggling to work out how often to do yoga for benefits, a good way to establish  a routine with your yoga practice is to yoga on a yoga holiday or retreat

This is because during a yoga retreat, you will follow a set daily schedule, such as these:

how often should you practice yoga

how often should you practice yoga for beginners

As you can see, each day includes a set amount of yoga practices at certain times. 

Having this structure already planned out for you takes away the task of working out how often to do yoga, so that you can just focus on improving your practice instead!

Most retreats only last a few days or a week, but even when you return home, you will have hopefully got into a routine that you can carry on into your daily life. 

Even if you don’t continue with 3 yoga practices a day, you may simply take inspiration from the retreat schedule. For example, you may have found that you particularly enjoyed the evening yoga sessions, and decide to do this at home too. 

Before you go!

So, we hope that you now have an answer to the question, ‘how often do you need to do yoga to see results?’, depending on the factors we have outlined. 

Feeling inspired? Take your practice further and become a yoga teacher with OriGym’s level 3 yoga teacher training qualification! Enquire today, or find out more by downloading our free yoga course prospectus here.  

Written by Alice Williams

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Alice is a content writer at OriGym. With a first-class degree in French and Linguistics, she loves all things language, fitness and culture. As part of her degree, she spent a year living in France where she worked for a lifestyle blog, gaining professional experience in both translation and content writing. 

When she’s not writing, you can usually find Alice practicing yoga and she hopes to one day become a yoga instructor herself. She also loves running, tennis and cooking up a vegan storm in the kitchen! It was this passion for health and fitness, combined with her love for writing, that brought Alice to OriGym.

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