How often should you do yoga? Which yoga mat should I buy? How long will it take for my hamstrings to become more open? Should I do handstands if I’ve had a rotator cuff injury?
The inquiry never stops, nor should it. Ask and question everything. There’s only circumstantial evidence that curiosity killed the cat. Curiosity is what it’s all about.
If you have a question about yoga, chances are that many others have the same inquiry
I’ve been teaching yoga for coming up on 13 years now. Primarily, I teach Vinyasa Yoga. But I’ve also spent time teaching Hatha, Yin, and Restorative. Below are the most common questions I’ve received over the years. The answers are based in both fact and opinion, so take it all with a big bag of salt. And keep that curiosity muscle flexed.
How often should you do yoga?
Daily. Keep in mind that your practice should reflect your goals, health, injury accommodation, and any other needs. Many swear by daily meditation. This can certainly be viewed as a yoga practice. If you believe the concept that your practice is your life, then practicing with every action you take, every word you speak and choice you make is how often you should do yoga. But if we’re zeroing in on asana, I’m still going with daily. The practice can be restorative with lots of support from props and deep stretches. If muscle building and a lovely combo of strength and flexibility is what you’re after, then get on your mat each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. If that’s overwhelming or doesn’t feel possible, aim for at least three times a week to really begin to see benefits and progress.
What yoga mat should I buy?
The style of practice you love will help dictate which mat you decide to invest in. If you’re brand new to yoga, get a simple, inexpensive yoga mat. Mats can run anywhere from $10.00 to $160.00, so be sure you’re going to commit to a practice before buying a high-quality mat. There are lots of good options out there. Manduka offers a lifetime guarantee, and the price tag reflects it. I’ve had mine since about a year before going through yoga teacher training, so that makes it more than 14 years-old. And there’s not one molecule of damage. Certain mats are better for doing hot yoga because they really do offer better support in the effort to not slide off your damn mat. So, depending on your needs, there’s a mat that’s perfect for you.
Should I practice with an injury?
Absolutely! But you need to modify, obvi. A little over four years ago I broke my leg in an ATV accident. I know they look fun, but they’re really damn dangerous. Figuring out how to do yoga when I couldn’t even stand without crutches was definitely a challenge. I made this video of my daily yoga sequence so others suffering from a lower extremity injury had options for practice. Find a way, but please for the love, let your injury heal. So if you just dig handstands in a way you can barely explain, I get it. But stop doing them if you have a shoulder, wrist, hand, or elbow injury. Heal. The pose isn’t going anywhere.
How long will it take for my hamstrings to loosen up?
It really, really depends on you. Genetics plays a role. But with diligent and safe attention, the hamstrings can begin to feel more spacious. Stay with it. They need frequent maintenance. But be careful about overdoing it. Hamstring injuries totally suck and trust that you don’t want one.
Include any burning yoga practice questions you have in the comments. We’d love to help!