From new and even more experienced yogis, one of the common questions we yoga teachers receive is, how long should a yoga pose be held for? The truth is that no answer will fit all of the yoga practices. The amount of time you need to hold a yoga pose will depend on the type of yoga you are doing.
On top of that, some guidelines can help you get an idea of how long you should aim to hold each pose, depending on the style of yoga that is being practised.
What is Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga is a restorative yoga practice that focuses on mainly targeting the body’s connective tissue, such as ligaments, the facia, joints, and bones.
Apart from the previously mentioned benefits on connective tissues, Yin Yoga also works to improve the connection between the body and mind, providing a harmonious balance.
Yin Yoga provides many benefits that can help you alleviate pain and tension in your body, relieve anxiety and stress, and improve your overall wellbeing. Yin Yoga classes are among some of the most popular inside MerryBody, most members do a Yin class every Sunday (or as we like to call it: blissday).
Some of the main benefits of yin yoga include:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Calming and balancing the mind and body
- Increasing circulation and improving flexibility
- Releasing fascia and improving joint mobility
- Balancing the internal organs and improving the flow of chi or prana
Longer Hold Poses with Yin Yoga
The thing that sets Yin Yoga apart from other yoga practices is the length of holding the poses. In Yin Yoga, poses are held for much longer periods of time, which differs from yogi to yogi.
The recommended time to hold a pose is one to three minutes for beginners, while advanced practitioners often aim for five minutes or even more. It might seem like a long time but it really is so relaxing.
Some of the most experienced yogis aim for a longer period of time, holding the pose for even ten, fifteen, or twenty-five minutes!
How to Practice Yin Yoga and our Favourite Poses
Yin Yoga is easy to practise anytime and anywhere because Yin Yoga does not require much space at all.
The key to Yin Yoga is holding a yoga pose for an extended length of time, which allows your body to build endurance, and your mind to relax.
As for the Yin Yoga poses themselves, they are often seated or reclined since they require your muscles to be completely relaxed.
Some of the main examples of Yin Yoga poses (and our faves) include:
- Wid legged child’s pose
- Pigeon pose
- Reclining hand-to-big-toe pose
- Supported fish pose
- Supine spinal twist
- Legs-up-the-wall pose
The best way to learn about Yin Yoga is to simply try out a class!
What about Vinyasa Yoga? How long should I hold yoga poses for?
Vinyasa Yoga is a yoga practice that focuses mainly on strengthening the muscles of the yogi’s body. Vinyasa Yoga is, in its essence, a series of fast-paced poses and postures focused primarily on flowing through asana.
Vinyasa Yoga builds strength while improving the flexibility and mobility of the body while also increasing stamina.
It is perfect for the yogis that really like a physical and mental challenge, and it is also the perfect choice for those who are looking to get a cardiovascular workout out of their yoga session.
Vinyasa Yoga will leave you filled with endorphins, feeling good and energised while also feeling grounded.
Some of the main benefits of Vinyasa Yoga include:
- Enhancing core stability and building strength
- Improving flexibility, mobility, and range of motion
- Keeping your heart healthy
- Calming the mind and reducing stress, physically and mentally
- Boosting and improving the mood and outlook
- Improving the quality of sleep
- Increasing lung capacity
Try out this 12 minute at home yoga flow, it’s designed to stretch out your legs and to welcome in flexibility.
The Flow of Vinyasa Yoga
When it comes to Vinyasa yoga, it is all about the flow aspect of the class, and there is no time limit on holding poses but you’ll definitely hold poses for a shorter time compared to Yin Yoga. A good rule of thumb for this fast-paced and energised class is to follow your breathing and to only hold each pose for three to five full breaths before smoothly moving into the next one.
The real kicker are standing poses that are done during Vinyasa yoga classes, as they build strength and endurance.
The end of the Vinyasa yoga class is very likely to include cool down poses that are held for longer periods of time, such as 30 seconds to a whole minute.
Compared to Yin Yoga, the hold is not too long, but it is compared to the usual flow of Vinyasa Yoga! Those cool down poses will help you catch your breath, relax, cool your body down, and get ready to end the class feeling amazing and grounded.
So now it’s time to begin your Yoga practice!
The beauty of yoga is that there are so many different kinds and variations available, and everyone is guaranteed to find something that floats their boat and feels good for them and their needs.
Different people will prefer different kinds of yoga practices, depending on their needs.
The best possible option is to try every kind of yoga and see what you like best and what makes you feel the most comfortable and challenged.
You will most probably have a preference of style. Maybe you find yourself struggling to hold a yoga pose for long periods of time? Or maybe it’s the opposite, perhaps you struggle to keep up with the fast pace of a Vinyasa flow?
Practising both Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga is an excellent approach because it will bring the benefits of both yoga styles and the variety into your yoga practice and daily movement.
Inside MerryBody you’ll find Yin, Vinyasa and slower flow classes to stream and download. This means you can start to practise yoga right here and right now! Plus, we as you teachers, will tell you how long to hold a stretch for!
Start with a free 7 day trial where you’ll gain access to hundreds of classes.
We look forward to seeing you on the mat!
Emma + Carla