How long do you hold a yoga pose depends on the type of yoga pose you are doing as there is no definitive time that you should hold a yoga pose for, instead we have guidance and best practices that we can follow?
Chances are you have just begun practicing yoga and are intrigued to know how long you should hold each yoga pose.
It’s an interesting and valid question. So how long do you hold a yoga pose for?
It really depends on what you are doing yoga for, what’s its purpose, and what pose you are doing.
Some poses are for strength such as a high plank, boat pose, and feathered peacock pose, some are for flexibility like downward dog and bound angle pose whereas some yoga poses are for meditation like corpse pose.
As a beginner starting yoga you are most likely practicing Hatha yoga. Hath yoga is great for beginners as the poses are the most basic.
How are yoga poses timed?
Yoga poses are often held for breath counts rather than time.
This is because yoga is about being centered and being at one with your body.
Yoga is an experience, something that should enjoyed, and not just a workout and therefore you can hold yoga poses for as long as you feel necessary.
However, yoga has become much more westernized and popular with people who are used to regimented workouts.
Athletes are using yoga to become more flexible, business people are using yoga to help them calm down after a hard day at work.
So as a beginner who wants to start yoga and experience the wonders yoga has to offer for your body and mind, how long to hold yoga poses for is a great question.
How long do you hold a yoga pose for?
Although there isn’t a definitive amount of time of how long to hold yoga poses for, there are some basic rules and principles to help guide us which lets us experience the benefits of yoga.
In a basic yoga sequence for beginners such as Hatha yoga, you would typically hold your poses from 1-2 breaths per asana (pose) up to 10 breaths. If you would prefer to time each pose then you would hold each pose for 30 to 120 seconds.
At start right yoga we would typically hold each pose for at least 5 breaths up to 10 depending on the pose to allow you to get to grips with each pose.
Some poses which are great for flexibility such as downward facing dog and child pose we may hold for longer at 10 breaths.
When it comes to yoga, and holding each pose, do not rush take your time. Relax into the positions and hold them until you feel ready to move on.
If you do yoga with the aim of increasing your flexibility, you should aim to hold each pose for 30-60 seconds.
If you are doing a morning yoga routine to help energize your body you don’t need to hold each pose for as long, a shorter hold would be fine. Something as short as 1-2 breaths or around 30 seconds.
How long do you hold a yoga pose for relaxation?
There are some amazing yoga poses for relaxation such as easy pose. You could quite happily sit in easy pose for 10 minutes plus as you clear your mind.
When doing yoga for relaxation it’s actually quite easy to get lost and even fall asleep in some poses.
As a beginner yogi, you will find some yoga poses that are damn right painful or impossible to do.
Yoga shouldn’t be painful, instead, you should only hold a pose until it becomes painful.
Hold each yoga pose until you can’t anymore, then each time you come back to those poses that feel tough, try to hold it a little bit more. And over time you will become stronger, more flexible and confident.
Yoga is not a matter of fact like going to the gym and pushing out 15 reps for muscle tone and strength which is backed by scientific studies, yoga rather is more of a spiritual discipline that connects body and mind and therefore can be done at ones own pace.
Of course, a lot of yoga poses are stretches and from a fitness point of view if you are doing yoga for the benefit of becoming more flexible, which by the way yoga is absolutely perfect for this, then science would say 30-60 second holds are ideal for developing flexibility.
So in short, how long you hold a yoga pose depends largely on why you are doing it.