If you follow me on social media then you know I read quite a bit. And if you don’t follow me on social media..go add me! @empwr.wellness 🙂 I enjoy exploring current research for my personal yoga practice, to share with my clients, and for this blog. But I also typically have both a fiction and non-fiction book going simultaneously to read before bed and on the weekends. My current non-fiction read: The Power of When by Michael Breus, PhD.
Have you ever heard of a chronotype? Before reading this book, my answer would have been no. And I certainly didn’t know what my chronotype was! Essentially, a chronotype is your personal biological clock that can be divided into four types: lion, bear, dolphin, or wolf. After establishing your chronotype, Michael then explains the best (and worst) time of day for you to engage in various activities according to your personal biological clock. One of the activities discussed: yoga.
Before I go any further, I highly encourage you to take Michael’s quiz to see what type of chronotype you are! Not only is it quick, but it’s free (warning: you do need to submit your email address to get your results). The quiz can also be found in The Power of When book if you’re curious about allllll the things related to your chronotype!
So how do chronotypes relate to when we do yoga?
If you read last week’s blog post, you’ll know that I highly encourage individuals to do gentle movements as a “warm up” before moving into more challenging poses. This is to assist with injury prevention, along with making those deeper movements more beneficial. But learning your chronotype also makes a difference in your yoga practice. Our chronotype influences when we wake up, our energy levels throughout the day, and when we eat. So obviously, this means we’re going to feel “stiff” at different times throughout the day as well! It makes sense that we should adjust our yoga practice to match our inner clock. We all have this draw to sunrise yoga and morning workouts to start our day off “right”..but is it what actually makes sense for our body?
Without giving his entire chapter away, in accordance with my “bear” chronotype the most beneficial times for me to practice yoga are 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. After I read this, it makes sense to me! Although I try to convince myself to be a “morning person”, morning workouts involve me waking up earlier than I’d like to in order to accommodate my work schedule. But on the weekends when I have a flexible schedule, I prefer being able to exercise around 8:00. My body thrives when I can exercise at 8:00!
Additionally, the yoga classes I teach in non-covid times start at 4:45 pm. What I wonderful coincidence! Although I always feel “better” after doing yoga regardless of time of day, my movements feel so much smoother and deeper closer to 5:00 pm compared to 5:00 am. I end my practice feeling lighter and more clear-headed when I incorporate movement around 8:00 am or 5:00 pm.
Now obviously you may or may not be able to do yoga according to your chronotype every day. But, what if you could take it into consideration once per week? Or a couple times per month? The choice is yours. But ultimately if you are taking time to invest in yourself and do yoga, it may be worthwhile to see when it would be most beneficial for you.