How Long To Hold A Yoga Pose?

In the modern world, it is certainly true that yoga has increased in popularity – and is used by many as a means of improving their mental health, their physical wellbeing, and their general flexibility.

How Long To Hold A Yoga Pose?

However, it is important to know just how to perform the positions, and indeed how long they should be held once you are in them. So this begs the question: how long should yoga poses actually be held for, and what happens if you don’t follow these recommendations? 

Are You Supposed To Hold Them? 

The many benefits of yoga poses actually come from the stretching and holding of the pose – however it is important not to go crazy with the length of time you do this for. 

How Long To Hold Them? 

When it comes to yoga poses of any level of type, it is important to only hold them for the right amount of time. 

While this might differ depending on the practitioner, the general time frame that yoga poses should be held for is roughly anywhere between a couple of breaths to five minutes. 

They should never really exceed the five minute point, as this is when the potential for injury, accidents, and strains can come into play. The whole point of yoga is that it is supposed to be a gentle and uplifting experience, and anything other than this would be defeating the object of it. 

How Long Is ‘Too Long’? 

Generally speaking, exceeding five minutes per pose is considered excessive, and this is when other problems can occur – even for experienced practitioners who know what they are doing. 

Many of the more advanced poses can be somewhat demanding on the body and the balance, and exceeding sensible hold lengths can lead to unwanted consequences. 

Why Shouldn’t You Hold Them For Too Long?

Of course, the reasons for this are not arbitrary, and there can be actual consequences of holding yoga poses for longer than is comfortable – especially if you are a newbie to yoga, or if you have pre-existing conditions that could be agitated as a result. 

Muscle Stiffness

One of the most common consequences of holding yoga poses for too long, is that you will likely get some form of muscle stiffness or achyness from doing so. 

The same goes for any form of physical exercise, and if you choose to repeatedly over do it when it comes to the poses, then you will ultimately do more harm than good. 

Muscle stiffness can not only cause you pain and discomfort, but it can also mean that you will have to give up yoga for a while to heal properly – disrupting your routine. 

Injury & Accidents

You could also cause yourself serious pain if you hold them for an excessive period of time, and as with any exercise, it is important to be mindful of your own limitations (be them physical or mental) and know what you should and should not be doing. 

If you have existing injuries or problems, then you should be especially mindful of agitating them or making them worse through yoga. When performed correctly, yoga can be highly beneficial, however, when mistreated, the practices can only make things worse. 

Likewise, many of the poses require some form of seemingly unnatural balancing, and if you hold them for too long you may lose balance. This could mean you damage something in your home or studio, or you could cause yourself injury from the landing, or indeed anything you happen to crash into when you fall over. 

What Are The Benefits Of Holding Poses?

How Long To Hold A Yoga Pose?

However, when done correctly, there are numerous benefits (both physical and mental) to holding yoga poses – many of which are responsible for the widespread popularity of the practice. 

Improved Balance

Firstly, yoga is great for improving balance, and this can be useful for all manner of things in life – not least of which improving our stability as we age. 

This can strengthen our muscles, making us quicker, not to mention more agile – something that can come in handy for any number of other sports and activities, or even making us stronger for physically demanding work and hobbies. 

Body Toning

Yoga is also good for developing muscles, and generally toning/shaping the body. This is great for anyone wanting to lose weight, tone what physique they have, or simply keep their bodies strong as they get older. 

There are obviously numerous benefits to conditioning our bodies in this way – ranging from the physical, to the mental, and even down to the aesthetic – but to get the most from this practice, you need to ensure you are doing it correctly. 

Mental Health

Yoga poses have also been shown to be beneficial for our mental health. This derived from the importance that  is placed on clearing out minds, improving our concentration, and focusing on our breathing. 

This helps with mindfulness, a key tool in grounding us as people, preparing us for life, and fighting off depression, anxiety, and all manner of negative emotions. 

By engaging in these activities in the proper way, you can not only improve your physical wellbeing, but also your mental and emotional health – something that opens up so many more opportunities to you in life, and will give you the strength to achieve great things. 

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about yoga poses, and how long you should hold them for while performing it. 

It is certainly true that yoga has numerous benefits for practitioners – not least of all improving their health, flexibility, and mental health. However, without the proper understanding and methods, this dream state can soon turn into a nightmare. 

So if you are looking to get into yoga, then be sure to take note of this handy guide. Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!

Laura Simmons