How Long Should I Hold a Yoga Pose?
As a yogi, you may be wondering how long to hold a yoga pose. It is important to examine several factors when determining the length of time for a yoga pose, including your level of comfort and experience, the physical benefit of the pose and the effect the pose may have on your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Most poses offered in a yoga classes provide physical benefits when held for a specific number of breaths. A longer holding of the pose allows the body to truly relax into the position, allowing muscles to stretch and providing a deeper level of healing. The following are the general recommendations for holding yoga postures:
- Beginner: Hold the pose up to 1 minute.
- Intermediate: Hold the pose 1-3 minutes.
- Advanced: Hold the pose 3-5 minutes.
Mental & Emotional Benefits
Yoga also provides mental and emotional benefits, and many poses can be held for an extended period of time to really get the most out of this aspect of yoga practice. For example, a restorative pose such as legs up the wall can be held for much longer than the physical benefits suggest. Holding a pose for five or more minutes can provide a great deal of mental and emotional release, allowing the body and mind to deeply relax.
When it comes to yoga poses, it is ultimately important to monitor your own comfort level. Pushing yourself to stay in a pose past the level of comfort can actually do more harm than good. Listen to your body and avoid using force or discomfort.
It may also take some practice to hold poses for longer periods of time. With regular yoga practice, you can build up your endurance which will allow you to stay in poses for a longer period of time. With patience and regular practice, ultimately you will know your body best and be able to identify what poses to hold and how long they should be held.
How Long Should I Hold a Yoga Pose?
Yoga poses can be held for as little or as long as you’re comfortable with. But there are some general rules of thumb to help guide your practice and maximize the benefit of each pose.
The duration for each pose will vary depending on the type of pose and your individual needs. Generally speaking, each pose should be held for at least 30 seconds and up to 1 minute or longer if you are able.
Resting in Between Poses
Before transitioning to the next pose, pause for a few breaths in a neutral posture such as mountain pose (Tadasana) or child’s pose (Balasana). This simple rest, just a few breaths long, allows your body to settle and gives your mind an opportunity to become aware of the changes that you have created in your body and breath.
Choice to Endure
In each pose, there is a choice for enduring or for releasing. Pushing through discomfort during a pose is a common way to deepen our practice, but balance should always be kept in mind in order to fully reap the benefits with minimal risk of injury.
Yoga poses can always be modified to a level that is beneficial and safe to each individual. Seeking the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher is the best way to learn and develop safe alignments of poses. If a pose is too difficult it is possible to add blocks, blankets or straps to make the pose more accessible. Alternatively, more challenging poses can be made more difficult with challenges such as moving through a vinyasa or adding an extra repetition.
Listen to Your Body
Remember to always listen to your body, practice with patience and go at your own pace. Being aware of your body and of sensations you may feel can deepen practice and can help inform your future practice with mindfulness.
At the end of the day, the duration you choose to stay in a pose is entirely up to you. Go with what feels good, staying within your comfort zone, and remember to make time for self-care and relaxation.
I am passionate about yoga and this is my blog. I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years and teaching for 5. Yoga has transformed my life in so many ways and I love being able to share that with others. My hope is that through this blog, I can help people learn more about yoga, connect with other yogis, and find inspiration to live a healthier, happier life.