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How Long Do You Hold A Yoga Pose

Yoga Style Affects The Length Of The Pose

When someone asks me how long they should hold a yoga pose, my usual response is, At least three to five breaths, maybe up to 30 seconds, depending on what feels right in your body. However, the length that we hold poses is going to vary a lot depending on what style of yoga were practicing.

For example, in Vinyasa Yoga, yoga poses are strongly linked with the breath. You may hold a pose just for an inhale or an exhale. Thats not a lot of time. But, the point of Vinyasa Yoga is to find a moving meditation, where youre focusing more on just moving your body and dropping your thoughts. Its less about the pose and more about how you feel mentally and physically.

On the other end of the spectrum, youll see styles like Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga. These styles will hold a yoga pose for three to five minutes at a time, sometimes even longer. The goal is to getyour connective tissue to release, which takes a while to happen. So, using props to help support your body, you work to clear your mind of thoughts, breathe deeply, and relax into the pose.

Yin and Restorative classes havevery different vibe from aVinyasa class, but thats okay. Ones not better than the other; its all about finding what you need out of your yoga practice.

Building Stronger Bones With Yoga

For building stronger bones, I initially used information from Dr. Loren Fishman’s book Yoga for Osteoporosis, in which he cited an animal study that showed placing strain on a bone starts to stimulate new bone to be laid down as early as eight seconds. But in his recently completed 10-year study that utilized 12 poses done over 12 minutes, Dr. Fishman had the participants hold the poses for 30 seconds each. Nine of the poses were asymmetrical and therefore would take one minute total to complete. Results were positive.

So for strengthening bones, I’m now going to suggest that you hold your postures for 30 seconds, if possible. Could you hold them for less than 30 seconds, especially if you are weak or fatigued? Sure, but we dont have evidence at this time that those timings would be as effective for bone building.

How Long You Should Hold A Yoga Posture

There is no hard and fast rule as to how long you should hold a yoga pose for. While some institutions prescribe the minimum ratio of 2 : 4 : 2 : 2 , there are those who advocate holding poses for anywhere from 5 10 15 20 seconds even. This varies from pose to pose as well as depending on your experience with the poses.

Take for instance a simple standing pose like Tadasana . Even though, to many it doesn’t even qualify as a yoga pose, it does in fact have its own benefits and contraindications and can safely be held for up to five or ten minutes, depending upon your stamina and the state of your legs. Then there are sitting poses such as Sukhasana which, experience will tell are far from easy. Sit in a cross legged position on your yoga mat, place your hands on your thighs and shut your eyes. Now concentrate on your breathing and see how long you are able to hold the pose. Most practitioners are barely able to sit comfortably for even a minute, at the start. In fact, even many advanced students report being unable to sit in Sukhasana for more than a minute at a stretch, eyes closed.

If you are seriously interested in pursuing Yoga, it is best that you enroll into a Yoga institution and seek expert guidance.

Yoga For Fun Lighten Things Up On The Mat

Do you enjoy your yoga practice and have fun with it? For me one of the best ways to have a successful yoga practice is by keeping things light! For me that often means bringing my pets onto the mat with me – this class as shared on YouTube included my foster kittens….

Im an Ottawa-based Yoga Instructor on a mission to help others feel great with yoga. I started practicing yoga in 2008 as a way to become more flexible and learn to manage stress and anxiety. Little did I know in a few short years I would have the privilege of becoming a teacher, passionately committed to sharing yoga with others who, like me, were sick of feeling less than vibrant.

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How To Build Stronger Muscles With Yoga

How Long do you Hold a Yoga Pose?

In a previous post, I recommended that holding your yoga poses statically for 90 seconds would build muscle effectively. Unfortunately, I cannot locate the research I used to make that statement. But in going back to look at this more closely for our upcoming book, I discovered some important facts Id like to share with you today that flip my earlier recommendations almost upside down.

Isotonic Muscle Contraction

There are two commonly used techniques to build muscle mass and strength, both in sports training and rehabilitation from injury. The first technique uses motion against resistance, called resistance training, as in curling a 10-pound weight up and down with your arm smoothly at the gym to build up your bicep.

This utilizes what is known as isotonic muscle contraction against some sort of resistance to build muscle. Because you lower the weight down slowly, your bicep muscle also is contracting as it is grossly lengthening, which is called eccentric contraction.

For this action to be effective, you have to do multiple repetitions. In our yoga practice, dynamic sequences or mini-vinyasas could count as resistance training, especially if you do them more slowly. Since we are using our own body weight as the resistance, it may not work as quickly to build muscle as weight training, but it will still build strength. See below for more recommendations about how to use this technique in your asana practice. 

Isometric Holds

Vinyasas for Strength

What Are The Factors That Influence How Long You Should Hold A Yoga Pose

  • Style of yoga: This is obvious.
  • Your physical fitness: The stronger and more flexible you are, the longer you can hold certain yoga poses.
  • Your yoga experience: Logic dictates that more experienced people can hold yoga poses for longer.
  • Your age: Children and the elderly should pay special attention to what their body says.
  • Injuries: Muscle tears can make certain poses more painful than they would be normally.
  • Your state: When you are tired, exhausted or burned out, you might not be able to put as much energy into your yoga practice as you normally would.
  • Your clothing: If you wear clothing that is unfit for yoga, you are not going to stretch very far. See our reviews of the best yoga pants to make the most of your yoga classes.

The Person And Their Physical Fitness

If you are just starting out and are a beginner you will find it harder to hold some poses for a long time, saying that there are some experts who find it difficult to hold particular poses for a long time due to the nature of them. If your fitness is poor and you are trying to improve your strength and general fitness you may find you start by holding for 30 seconds and gradually increase that time depending on the type of yoga you are doing. Take prenatal yoga as an example, it is aimed at mothers at all stages of their pregnancy in the hope of keeping their muscles strong to allow them to go back to normal after pregnancy.

As you can imagine what they achieve depends on the individual and how their pregnancy is going. If they have a lot of pain, some poses will be more tolerable than others and some will be near impossible even if they do have pregnancy in mind. Another popular use of yoga is for building strength after injury as part of physiotherapy, so again it depends on the person and what they can do.

In conclusion, the answer really it it depends but you may find that some poses are held for 10 maybe 20 or 30 seconds whereas others may be held for 5 minutes and even longer than that. There are many variables and the biggest one is you.

When Practicing Vinyasa Yoga

This style of yoga is more focused on the movement between poses, so youll only spend one to two breaths in each pose.

Think of this as the cardio of the yoga world. Youll be constantly moving through a cycle of poses to form a flow.

In order to do this, each hold is usually held for a short amount of time.

Goals & Benefits Of Short Hold Times

Short hold times are great for introducing movement into your body, warming up both muscles and the mind. So if you want a quick workout for your entire body to boost energy and work out some minor kinks, then short hold times are a great option.

Youll hold poses for about 3-5 breaths, depending on how much muscle activation you want.

Benefits of Short Hold Times:

  • Warm-up / Muscle Activation Active yoga poses and twists are great for introducing movement and training muscle activation for more intense workouts like dead-lifts or squats. With a proper warm-up, youll perform these exercises better and with a lower risk of injury.
  • Quick Energy Boost Even short holds with chest opening poses can give you the energy boost you need. These poses stimulate your sympathetic nervous system , which gives you a natural way of increasing your energy levels.
  • Less Endurance Work Short hold times wont challenge your muscle endurance, so if youre feeling sore you can still get a workout in while working out minor kinks to help with recovery.

Twisting And Stretching Poses

The twisting poses segment of a Bikram yoga workout moves quickly between postures to build heat and flexibility within the body. The first three of these poses, Cobra, Half Locust and Full Locust, last 10 seconds each, followed by the 20-second Floor Bow into the 40-second Fixed Firm. Bikram poses vary in duration based on their anatomical focus and purpose. Once you complete the first half of the sequence, you’re going to repeat each pose for a 90-minute total workout.


Should Your Feet Be Flat In Downward Dog

Downward-Facing Dog is particularly challenging to new students because it works alomost every part of the body. Usually someone who cannot place their heels flat in downward dog also experiences a general tightness throughout the body manifesting as a somewhat hunched thoracic spine and tight neck and shoulders.

This Could Also Be Of Interest To You: Yoga Shorts Plus Size

  • Another way to determine how long to hold the position is toinhale and exhale, up to five times during the process of holding a pose, but only if the position can be held without discomfort.Remember, the main goal is to be able to achieve the pose, while maintaining a comfortable position.Understanding safety while practicing physical yoga is vital to achieving these poses, so as not to cause any harm to the body.It is crucial to understand that Hatha Yoga is not a race, and taking the time to do the poses correctly is much more important than holding a pose for a long period of time.
  • How Long To Hold Yoga Poses.

What Else Does Influence Yoga Poses Duration

How Long Do You Hold a Yoga Pose

How long to hold yoga poses for beginners comes down to what you are trying to achieve. You will increase your flexibility by holding poses a little longer.

If you are looking to relax and calm down, gentlemoon salutationin the evening is a good. You hold poses longer to unwind after a busy day.

Find what you like the most and what works for you. It is also good to hold each pose as long as you feel comfortable. This increases mind-body connection, focus and concentration.

Manyencourage students to hold yoga poses to increase balance and stability. In the end, everyone is different. Many factors influence the duration of each pose.

Your fitness level, age, health, flexibility, strength, experience, limitations, and willpower all have effects on your yoga practice. Start with a few seconds if you are new to yoga.

As you progress, your strength, flexibility, and endurance will increase. You will be able to hold even the most challenging poses for quite some time.

I recommend you experimentat homeand join classes to better your technique. It is best to start slow if you are new to yoga. Learn each pose separately.

Develop self-awareness and balance. Practice the basic postures until you master them. This ensures that you have a solid foundation before moving on to a more difficult practice.

At home, in your own space, you have the luxury to make your yoga practice completely your own. Hold yoga poses for as long as you feel like it.

How Yoga Styles Affect How Long You Need To Hold Poses

If you did not know that there is more than one type of yoga, I am here to tell you that are plenty, with about eight to 11 major types of yoga. There is yoga for restoration, yoga that focuses on the spiritual aspect, yoga for pregnant women, and so much more.

Yin Yoga is a slow-paced form of yoga that focuses on holding postures for long periods. As you hold your poses, you give yourself more time to be mindful and to meditate. If you are not yet an expert at holding yoga poses, you can try Yin Yoga another time.

On the other hand, Vinyasa Yoga concentrates on the breath. Vinyasa means flow as it emphasizes the flow of ones breath throughout the body. When you practice Vinyasa Yoga, you focus more on how you feel mentally and physically or finding a flow to your routine instead of holding poses for a certain amount of time.

On the other hand, Vinyasa Yoga concentrates on the breath. Vinyasa means flow as it emphasizes the flow of ones breath throughout the body. When you practice Vinyasa Yoga, you focus more on how you feel mentally and physically or finding a flow to your routine instead of holding poses for a certain amount of time.

On the other hand, Vinyasa Yoga concentrates on the breath. Vinyasa means flow as it emphasizes the flow of ones breath throughout the body. When you practice Vinyasa Yoga, you focus more on how you feel mentally and physically or finding a flow to your routine instead of holding poses for a certain amount of time.

Why Do We Hold Yoga Poses

  • Should your feet be flat in downward dog?
  • Staying in yoga poses teaches us to deal with this resistance and overcome it. Holding the yoga pose statically after repeating it few times leads to a more profound physical, physiological and psychosomatic transformation. The physical benefit of holding the pose extends far beyond stretching the muscles.

    How Are You Feeling: Physically & Mentally

    We arent built like machines that can endlessly repeat strenuous tasks. So one important question to ask yourself before a workout is: How am I feeling?

    Take into account how your body is feeling, noticing any muscle soreness, joint discomfort, or pain. Maybe you really pushed yourself yesterday but still want to workout today.

    Not every workout needs to be a butt-busting, sweat-drenching, challenging time. Its perfectly okay to take a step back and go easy on yourself. Getting up and exercising is already a major accomplishment.

    However, if youre feeling tired, unmotivated, or even sluggish, its perfectly okay to hold poses for less time. Maybe 3 breaths in a pose is all you want. Remember small accomplishments are still accomplishments. Even a short routine with short holds gives you more physical and mental benefits than if you were just lazing around.

    How Long Should I Hold Yin Yoga Poses

    Yin yoga is a restorative practice consisting of various seated and supine poses that target the hips, pelvis, and lower spine. The practice is characterized by extended holds of postures to allow the connective tissue to be stressed appropriately. Props such as bolsters, blocks, or blankets are often used in the practice to aid the practitioner in staying more comfortable for the longer duration of a pose and to keep the muscles relaxed. This introduction will help you get to know all the ins and outs of how long to hold yin yoga poses.

    While most yin yoga classes involve 2-5 minute holds, learning to listen to your body will help you find the appropriate length of time for you. As a baseline, beginners may benefit from starting with 1-3 minutes, while advanced practitioners may aim for 5 minutes or more even up to 10, 20, or 25 minutes! However, the 3-minute mark will give you most of the primary benefits of yin yoga.

    What Are The Goals Of Your Workout

    The goals of your yoga routine for the day plays a big part in deciding hold times. You can be doing yoga as a warm-up, for strength, recovery, increasing flexibility, or even for a quick energy boost. All of these utilize different hold times from short to long.

    But how is hold time counted in yoga?

    Its usually counted in breaths:

    • A short hold time is about 3 breaths.
    • A medium hold time is about 5 breaths
    • A long hold time is 8+ breaths

    However, breath times differ from person to person. Some people have 6-second breaths with 3-second inhales & 3-second exhales. While others have 10-second breaths, which you should be striving for.

    Why Hold A Yoga Pose Longer

    Firstly, extending the time you hold a pose builds strength and stamina, as it works your muscles much harder to keep the pose, and this not only benefits your yoga but overall fitness.

    The second way you benefit from an extended duration pose is that it gives you time to truly master your alignment. While you dont want it to become your sole focus, it does give you the time to perfect your alignment for each pose, and this can ensure you get that alignment right even during short holds as your body gets accustomed to just what the correct alignment feels like. One note if you are really going to work on holding a pose for a long time, you need to be on a good, solid surface. That can be a game changer. Culprits that can compromise a good pose duration include a poor yoga mat, or using a yoga mat on a slick surface like carpet.

    Finally, holding poses for a longer time stabilizes the mind, as it takes more effort to remain present the longer the pose is held. Over that extended time, it is easy to lose focus, and start thinking about dinner, the shopping list and so on, but by constantly recommitting your anchor, you can really build that stability in the mind that improves focus and concentration in all aspects of your life.

    Its all well and good knowing how to approach a longer hold, and just what the benefits are, but how long is long enough? As mentioned previously, this really does depend on your own abilities and the style of yoga you are practicing,

    So How Long Should You Hold A Yoga Pose

    So, if theres a lot of variation in how long poses are held, how long should you actually hold a yoga pose? My answer is always, How long does your body tell you it needs to be in that pose? If a pose feels really good and you want to stay there for a few more breaths, do it.

    This is also where yoga gets a little tricky. You build flexibility and strength by pushing yourself, but just a little. Baron Baptiste talks a lot in his books about finding your edge, which is a metaphor that I really love. We tend to stay in our safe comfort zones. But, sometimes you need to see if you can take a pose just a little further.

    The key to finding your edge is figuring out the difference between discomfort and pain. It can be tough to tell the difference between the two, but its whats going to help you advance your yoga practice without getting injured. If you feel true pain, especially in your joints, you should back out. However, if the pose is simply a little uncomfortable, particularly if youre in an intense pose like a big hip opener, you may want to stay in the pose a little longer.

    Strength Building: How Long To Hold Poses

    How Long to Hold a Yoga Pose

    In the past, I have given some guidelines on how to use yoga poses to increase or maintain the strength of both your bones and muscles. Based on some new information I have learned, Id like to revisit my guidelines for how long to hold your poses because Im going to make some different recommendations.

    Sign Up For My **free** 7 Day Yin Yoga Immersion Program To Improve Flexibility

    The people have spoken and they want longer Yin Yoga classes! So I bring you this introspective and meditative long hold practice.

    These 6 poses are held for five minutes a piece, in each variation and each side when applicable. This length of time will give the body the ability to open up slowly on its own, to get you deeper into the pose without passing your edge , and increase your flexibility.

    As you hold each posture, bring your awareness to the breath, and keep the mind from wandering.

    Holds of this length are better suited to someone who is familiar with practicing Yin Yoga. However, if you are newer to Yin and/or yoga, you are welcome to exit them sooner, when you feel you have passed your edge.

    As time passes you will find your body opening up and the pose becoming more comfortable and easier to hold. If this is not the case, ease off or come out of the pose.

    You may want to set a 5 minute timer to start with each pose, so that you are not constantly thinking about the time. OR allow yourself to stay in the pose for as long as the body wishes. Whichever method is more your style.

    These poses make up the entirety of this weeks 90 minute practice over on my YouTube channel.

    Having trouble deciding when to exit a pose? Want some soft music to accompany you? Come practice alongside me in the video below.


    P.S. Please remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel to support these blogs and videos I put out each week!

    When Practicing Strength

    Strength-based yoga such as Man Flow Yoga is structured around building strength, mobility, and flexibility through active postures. So, for this to happen longer hold times are needed.

    Theres a big reason for this. As you hold a challenging position such as a , your muscles will fatigue, and your body will recruit deeper muscle fibers thus developing more muscular strength and endurance.

    Shorter hold times wont have the same effect, because they dont develop the same amount of engagement and fatigue needed to facilitate that level of muscle growth.

    Along with that, longer hold times in strength-based yoga are much more effective at building your body awareness. By staying longer in a pose, youll start to notice more things such as imbalances, weaknesses, and limitations in your body.

    Keep Calm And Yoga On

    Get more Spoon in your feed.

    Yoga can benefit your body in numerous of ways- from aiding in the control of your breathing, to practicing relaxation and improving your balance. Here are 15 yoga poses that you should be doing every day to help your body recharge and feel less tense throughout the day.

    What Your Goal Is For Practicing Yoga Poses

    We have different goals when practicing yoga asanas. It dictates how long you should hold the poses. Is it your goal to develop more muscle endurance or to get a good cardio workout?

    Do you want a quick boost in your energy? Or do you want to relax and find calmness?

    If your goal is to develop more muscle endurance, you should hold poses for an extended period. The more stress you put on your muscles, the stronger the muscles get.

    If your goal is to get a cardio workout out of your asana practice, hold poses for one breath. Moving fast between each pose will pump your heart quicker and give you good cardio exercise. You should also be doing this if you want a quick boost to your energy.

    If your goal is to relax, you will benefit more from doing seated and grounding yoga poses that you hold for a long time. The same goes when you want to restore your energy.


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