Unlike some other types of strength training, yoga is safe to do every day. When you lift weights, you're encouraged to exercise major muscle groups to fatigue, so you need at least 24 to 48 hours of rest between sessions. Yoga, on the other hand, you can do on consecutive days since you are not doing maximal strength training with added weights.
Newbies should start by practicing two to three times per week, yoga teacher Cyndi Lee recommends in "Yoga Journal." The duration of each session may range from an hour to an hour and a half. More than one session a week will help the new yogi better learn the postures and increase strength, flexibility and endurance. As your fitness increases, you can advance to three to five sessions per week.
If you only have time to squeeze in one yoga class at a local studio per week, that may have to do. It is better to do some yoga than none simply because you can't commit to a few sessions per week. The key is not to overdo it during the time you do have in that one session and balance out the rest of your week with other fitness-minded activities, such as walking to work, to maintain a fitness level.
Less Is More
You may find it benefits you more to do shorter yoga sessions a few times per week than longer sessions a couple of times. According to Sivananda Yoga, a short practice session of 15 to 30 minutes a day lifts your mood, increases energy and improves concentration levels. If you are an early riser, try doing a 15-minute session before work to increase alertness and start your day with a sense of calmness. Late sleepers may prefer to do an evening session either before or after dinner that lets them sleep in longer in the morning and unwind from a stressful day at work.
Many yoga centers promote and encourage a 40-day yoga challenge to newbies, novices and advanced yogis. A typical 40-day challenge involves practicing yoga daily for 40 consecutive days with roughly five studio sessions and two days of short, restorative sessions at home. The challenge hones discipline, allows personal transformation and challenges students to a life-long commitment performing yoga.
Jennifer Andrews specializes in writing about health, wellness and nutrition. Andrews has a Master of Science in physical therapy from the University of Alberta as well as a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. She teaches yoga and pilates and is a recent graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.