For those of us who are just getting into yoga, our earnestness is often accompanied by a lingering question regarding just how much yoga is needed before we begin seeing the fruits of our labour. After all, holding a “downward dog” for minutes at a time can be rather challenging! Thankfully, you don’t have to be the most flexible person in the room to see results from a regular practice of yoga, nor do you have to hit the studio every day of the week!
The Short Road to Happiness
In a sense, yoga is similar to any other form of exercise – frequency builds proficiency. While doing yoga once a week is great, three or four times a week would definitely yield better results. Of course, not all of us may be able to dedicate that much time to yoga practice each week, but a full 60-minute yoga session is actually enough to increase your blood flow, get your oxygen moving, and relax the parts of your body that happen to be “stuck”.
A study on women over 50 revealed that practicing asanas (yoga postures) just once a week was enough to improve the mobility of spinal joints and the flexibility of muscles used during yoga practise.
Regular Practise is Key
Depending on the class you take, a weekly commitment to yoga should have you noticing progress in your flexibility over time, which can result in fewer injuries and improvements in overall muscle tone.
Studies revealed that a single yoga class for inpatients at a psychiatric hospital had significant reductions in fatigue, anger, depression and anxiety. Another study found that one to two yoga sessions every week were equally effective in treating lower back pain.
What Else Is Important?
While teens and young adults may not need to put in as much work as older individuals when it comes to restoring flexibility, it’s never too early to start. The optimal frequency for practising yoga is at least a couple times a week. Not only will you see longer-lasting benefits, but if you were to practice yoga once a month, you might feel like you were starting from scratch every time you hit the mat.
If you know you can’t do an hour-long session each week, try setting aside small amounts of time at home to practise what you learnt at the studio. Doing so not only assists your body with the skill retention, but also allows you to get more frequency into your regimen without having to step out the door!
Kelly, E. (2016, June 06). Here's How Much Yoga It Takes to Truly See Results. Retrieved from http://greatist.com/move/how-much-yoga-to-see-results