There are certainly advantages to practicing yoga in the morning, but I’m starting to wonder whether or not they are worth it in the end. One great advantage of practicing yoga in the morning is that you get it out of the way, so to speak, and don’t run the risk of having some emergency, work, or other distraction getting in the way of practicing later in the day. I know that personally I often start the day with the intention of practicing yoga later in the evening, but then something comes up or I get tired or hungry or cranky and end up not doing it at all. When I plan to practice first thing in the morning, however, I find that there is a much smaller chance that I won’t follow through with my plan. Also, practicing in the morning invigorates the body and mind for the day ahead, and provides a nice jump start that not even a so-called “complete breakfast” can provide.
So, with all these benefits, what’s wrong with practicing in the morning? Well, I find that my body is so stiff in the morning that I can’t do half of the poses that I can do in the evening. My hips are tight, as well as my shoulders, back…everything really. This tightness is particularly noticeable when I try to do a pose like Eka Pada Koundinyasana II or even a simple Uttanasana. As a result, I feel that I am more likely to hurt or strain myself in a morning practice than in an evening practice when my body is more relaxed and limber. In addition to tightness, I also feel less energetic in the mornings, and find myself less able to “push my edge” in an AM practice. This in turn tends to frustate me because I often walk away from a morning practice with the feeling that I only got a mediocre workout.
All of these factors combined are leading me in the direction of abandoning my initial plan for the new year, which was to practice yoga every day first thing in the morning, well before I had time to fill my brain up with the mundane worries and concerns of the day. But after trying out a morning practice a few times, I’m finding that the downsides are considerable. I wonder if readers of this blog have any thoughts to share about their own experiences with morning vs. evening yoga practice.