If you’ve ever wondered how long should a yoga workout be, you’re not alone. It was the first thing I wanted to know when I started my at-home practice.
I remember searching Google and quickly realizing that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. At least, not in terms of minutes per day, days per week guidelines to follow. Rather, it’s more important to find what works best for you, what you want to get out of your program and what you can fit into your schedule on a regular basis.
I’m not going to tell you how often to roll out your mat. If you need help with that, I suggest talking to your Doctor or a qualified yoga instructor for some advice. What I will do is give you some insight into what works for me, at 57 years old, and has enabled me to maintain my routine at home for the last 5 years without too many lapses along the way.
What’s the end goal?
I think it’s helpful to write down any fitness goals you have, both short and long term, before you start. It’s a good way to get a better idea of what your yoga routine should look like.
Here’s my list:
Short term goals
- Stretching – I have a desk job so it’s super important for me to fully stretch my body each day
- Deep breathing – calms my mind and makes me feel in control
- Mindfulness – by focusing my thoughts on the present I’m able to remove outside distractions and reset
- Wind down – I mostly do yoga in the evening so I use it to unwind mentally and in turn that helps me to sleep better
Long term goals
- Maintain fitness – daily workouts, even short ones, help with this
- Improve flexibility – something that happens organically by doing yoga regularly
- Look after my mental health – meditation sessions are important here
- Stay happy and healthy – at the end of the day this is what we all want, right?
What does my body need today?
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’m a huge fan of Adriene Mishler’s 30 day yoga programs because she takes care of this question for me. By this I mean that if lesson 6 focuses on working your abs and core, in lesson 7 she will give that area time to recover. Also, over the course of the month you will have had a thorough total body workout from top to toe. It’s a no-brainer really.
When I’m not currently doing a 30 day course then I consciously decide what I’m in the mood for right now. If I’m feeling tired I might opt for a short, restorative practice. If I’m bouncing off the walls with energy I might choose a fast flowing Vinyasa routine. On days that have been extra stressful, I’ll do some meditation.
It’s also important to be ok with skipping a day or two if you really don’t feel up to it. I like to think of it as giving myself permission to take a break, something we all need to do every now and then.
Find yoga videos with varying time lengths
This is a big one for me. Once I’ve checked in with my mind and body and know what it needs, I’ll also have a good idea about how long I want my session to be.
There is a ton of free content available online with routines that last anywhere from just a few minutes up to an hour long. On most occasions, I prefer a 20-30 minute routine as I find that length gives me a decent workout and also fits comfortably into my schedule. But there are some days when all I can manage is a quick 10 minute lesson.
Quick access to my favorites
To help you avoid having to search through endless lists on YouTube, I’ve created a catalog of my favorite yoga videos and sorted them by length. It doesn’t matter if you’re short on time or have an hour to spare, there’s a workout here to suit.
I’ll be adding more to each category as I complete them, so make sure to bookmark this page and keep coming back to see what’s new.