Yoga is a very varied way of exercise -- e.g., doing Surya Namaskar many times will of course improve one's stamina; most of the yoga asanas will build both strength and flexibility; some will help to develop a better sense of balance.

(Compare these questions: "What are the health benefits of Yoga?" and "What are the best benefits of yoga (versus cardio and weight training)?")

As mentioned in the answer to "Which daily exercise are helpful to maintain health for long?", there are certain recommendations the American Health Association gives regarding how often one should work on certain aspects of fitness, like moderate cardiovascular training should be done almost every day (5 days a week), while high-intensity muscle-strengthening is recommended only 2 times a week.

How does yoga fit into that picture?

Considering that yoga is in itself a kind of "cross-training", how often and how long would one do yoga asanas, in order to improve overall health in the sense the AHA recommends?

In what way can one's yoga practice be adapted to meet such recommendations, for instance by leaving some strengh-intensive asanas out for a few days, especially if yoga is practiced on a daily basis?

More specifically, are there any studies or otherwise noteworthy recommendations on how to arrange one's yoga practice in order to improve overall long-term health (compared to just getting better at doing the yoga exercises as an end in itself, as discussed in this question)?

1 Answer 1


Yoga has a more holistic approach to good health and well being. Its mind,body and soul and there are no specific program or ideology behind it.Do it as long as you are happy to do and you can physically do it.

For example Sukhasana or shavasana are more to do with meditation, relaxation and has a calming effect on your body. If you are too stressed out or suffer from anxietypanic attack than you can do it 3-4 times a day or whatever you are comfortable with. It's a lifestyle rather than a exercise program.

If you can start your day with Suryanamaskar then nothing like it, also try to repeat the whole suryanamaskar cycle 10 times a day and keep on increasing the cycle. Focus on your breathing,unplug your mind from the daily chaos and practice it daily.

  • I don't see how lack of a specific program is inherent to yoga specifically. For instance: running. You can do it simply as long and often as you like, or you could follow a training plan.
    – tmh
    Dec 23, 2015 at 8:09
  • As you mention, Sukhasana and Shavasana are meant for meditation and relaxation, respectively. They are probably not good examples when discussing fitness aspects of yoga. Shavasana doesn't build any strength, stamina, flexibility or coordination at all. We might ask how meditation and relaxation exercises can support regeneration after a workout, and therefore help improve one's fitness, but that would probably be a different question...
    – tmh
    Dec 23, 2015 at 15:50
  • My question is, more specifically, if there are any studies or otherwise noteworthy recommendations on how to plan one's yoga exercise to keep good long-term health. "Do it as long as you are happy [..] and you can physically do it" doesn't seem like very thorough answer. Say you're really happy to practice, so you tend to exhaust yourself, then probably the other day you don't feel like doing anything. I'm wondering if this was ever objectivized. I see how yoga can be seen as sort of a special case philosophically, but still, did anyone ever come up with something close to an exercise plan?
    – tmh
    Dec 23, 2015 at 16:13
  • Yes you are right and there is no benchmark to sta how much and specifics to get optimal health benefits. Because of my indian roots I know that it was never imposed as a routine or regimen and always seen as a way of life. I know people in their 80s who do 50 circuits of Suryanamaskar in a day with fantastic overall health( both mental and physical). I do a 7-15 minute modified routine of Suryanamaskar and it is very close tp calisthenics exercise and quite intense and good routine for my body. Dec 23, 2015 at 22:41
  • There is no doubt that yoga can have such positive effects on health and can be practiced even up until old age. Although, did anyone ever study the way how such people actually practiced over the years and decades of their lives? Whether in India or elsewhere, both data would be interesting.
    – tmh
    Dec 24, 2015 at 6:51

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