Depending on what time of day you practice yoga, you can experience different kinds of renewal. We humans are deeply affected by the time of day. We all have a circadian (daily) rhythm, or physiological rhythms associated with the 24-hour clock. Have you noticed you have more energy in the morning, the late afternoon, or at night? Are you a "morning person" or a "night person"? Are you usually hungrier at a certain time of day, or sleepier, or happier, or more depressed? Probably, if you take the time to notice, you'll be able to determine how your feelings, emotions, and energies change throughout the day. So it only makes sense that morning yoga, afternoon yoga, and evening yoga will all be a little different. And remember, yoga is about rhythm and balance—of body, mind, and spirit. Our very lives move to the rhythm of our heartbeat and our breath.
Although each person's rhythms are different, people have a few similar tendencies. Keep these points in mind when deciding what time of day to practice yoga:
> Early morning yoga tends to be slower. Do not rush into postures. Gently and steadily move through your workout.
> Late-morning to midday yoga will probably be more intense. The body is awake now and ready to rock and roll (literally!). This is a perfect time for vinyasa, a way to practice yoga that involves a steady flow of yoga postures.
> Afternoon yoga is centering. The body naturally takes a siesta in the mid-afternoon, so a more intense workout may help you get through this time.
If you end your workout with shavasana (the corpse pose), you'll be ready for the rest of your day.
> Evening or late-night yoga is unwinding. Let the strain of a busy day float away. If your day was unusually stressful, an intense Hatha Yoga workout will help to release tensions before you go into a nice, long shavasana.
No matter when you practice, yoga will renew you. Yoga has many purposes—among them, to energize, heal, relax, realign, and inspire you. But all paths and purposes lead to renewal, or a new you, free from stress and preoccupation with the self.
The Least You Need to Know
^ Establish a plan that works for you—how often you will practice yoga and what you will do in each practice. It doesn't take much time!
^ When starting out, strategies such as getting the family involved or keeping a yoga journal can help you stick with your practice.
^ You can easily fit in short yoga practices throughout your day.
^ Yoga can help relieve tension at home, school, and work.
^ Your yoga workout will differ depending on when you practice.
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