Got a question about yoga? Want to know where to put your arm in Trikonasana? How does Downward Dog help your shoulders? Why do we chant OM? In this new series I’ll try to answer all your questions… this first one is from Sarah who recently came for a 1-2-1…
How long should I hold a yoga pose?
To increase flexibility and strength it is best to hold the yoga postures or asana for as long as is comfortable -aiming for about 20 breaths (or 2 minutes). When we are warming up or trying to build up circulation of prana we may move through postures more quickly in a Vinyasa style (with the breath), however, those students who attend my classes regularly, will notice that for some postures (usually toward the middle of the class) there are times when we hold postures and spend time truly feeling what is going on inside the body, feeling the muscles at work, sensing how the body is coping with the asana or focusing on the breath inside the body. It is in these postures that the improvement is happening. When we hold postures for any less time we are really just maintaining our flexibility and strength, although we are increasing circulation.
So in your own personal practice, ask yourself, am I trying to maintain my fitness or improve it and work out how long you need to hold the pose for. There is a need for flowing postures, short and long holds in a practice to ensure that you have warmed up tissue prior to a long hold in a strenuous pose.
It’s not a simple answer – but I hope it makes sense.
Please email your questions to me – don’t be shy, if you are wondering then there is bound to be someone else who is too – consider it a community service!!