There are many different styles of yoga and variations of them and this causes many different ideas on how long we should hold a yoga posture. Don’t let this confuse you because it really depends on the person.
The yoga class and practice should be up to the individual, because we all have different bodies, health and ability levels. You should go to a class that challenges you to hold a little longer and allows you to go at your own pace when you need to.
These are the gifts I have noticed from taking my yoga a little slower and here are the reasons I believe we should hold the postures a little longer:
- Stretching muscles
It’s obvious if you have ever have had tight muscles this is going to take a little time to undo the tightness. It took your body some time to tighten it will take a little time to undo this.
- Building strength
Holding a yoga posture helps build strength and stamina and the muscles need to work harder.
- Physical Alignment
It take a little time for your body to adjust to the spinal alignment. It takes time to feel it and to understand what is physical balance.
- Releasing pain
We create holding patterns and going deeper and longer in the posture unravels these patterns and allows us to experience peace and gentleness in the body.
- Balancing the nervous system
Your nervous system needs a little time to adjust before running on to the next posture. We need to balance and calm the nervous system.
- Allowing the breath to be present
When we are in postures we have time to be present not only in our bodies but with our breath. We can connect our breath and body.
- Exploring your internal world
Do you know how amazing you are? There is an entire universe inside you of health, peace, beauty and bliss.
- Overcoming emotions
When we hold postures longer there is more time to emotions to come up and to release them. This is extremely healthy. If you are busy keeping up in class this process will not be able to work.
- Building mental & emotional resistance and strength
We do this by practicing an attitude of overcoming obstacles. This is not just a metaphor while holding long postures… “Are we done yet” can sometimes be the thoughts that come up. Going beyond our comfort zone will allow us to succeed not only in the yoga practice but also in overcoming obstacles and accomplishing our goals beyond the mat
This is what participants in Thursday’s class where we take things slow have noticed in just a few weeks of practice:
“I’ve benefitted from holding yoga postures longer because it has helped me with three things: Created better body awareness, increased my stability and has helped my flexibility. I would recommend the Thursday night class to everyone, not just beginners. Everyone, no matter their fitness level, beginner or more advanced, can benefit from increased body awareness, better stability and flexibility.” – Dr. Julie Vance, Chiropractor
“For me, it is my neck and shoulders that give me discomfort. I have benefited immediately from holding postures longer because the relief when i release is incredibly more noticeable and lasts a lot longer. I would recommend Thursday night class because Ricky guides us through postures that release tension and increase flexibility in areas that you may not have even known you needed it. And the relief in problem areas is very noticeable. I always sleep better on Thursday nights!” – Lynn Beyer, Workforce Program Manager, NFPA