Should I Do Yoga Before or After a Workout?

Are you wondering if yoga is the right warmup for a workout? Or questioning its placement compared to other exercises? If so, then you’re in the right place to find out. Let’s hop right in and we’ll show you both schools of thought and what the final answer is.

The Case for Before

Many people think that yoga should be placed before their workout. After all, it’s just stretching, isn’t it?

And stretching has been shown to have benefits on performance and injury reduction.

Many people also like to build up their workouts over the course of a session. That naturally places yoga at the beginning, since it’s lower in intensity than resistance training or cardiovascular exercise.

The Case for After

Stretching after exercise has many benefits, but the main one which most people training look for is being less sore. Yoga works wonderfully in that regard.

Proper yoga, rather than just repetitions of asana, also includes deep breathing and is designed to calm down the mind. It’s a perfect state to achieve in the heightened wakefulness that comes from exercise.

As a cool-down there’s no real question: yoga is a fine way to end a great gym session.

So, Which is Best?

It depends, but in general, the best time to do yoga is after your workout is complete. Use light stretching beforehand to warm up like normal.

The reason for this is due to the fact that muscle tissue is challenged by yoga. That means less strength and stability for some time after a session, especially if it’s a particularly good one.

It’s a good cool down for everything from a spin class to powerlifting. The only real cost for your body is the time it takes to go through, but even a 15-minute session at the end of a workout can bring some benefits.

The truth is that with resistance training and other strength-challenging exercises you’ll just be in worse shape to perform after a yoga session. Depending on your end goals, this can be particularly devastating.

You can perform yoga before a lighter workout. Light aerobic exercise and the like, especially when repeated often, can do a surprising amount of good. Yoga will just enhance workouts that aren’t challenging on the body.

So it boils down to this:

  • How challenging is your exercise regimen?
  • How important are performance-related goals?
  • Does your routine have a significant amount of resistance training?

While the most important results are yours, it’s best to avoid any strenuous yoga before a heavy workout. Your performance reduction may be significant, and that can also lead to injury.

So, how do you integrate yoga into your normal workouts?

Solutions for Mixing Yoga and Exercise

There are a few different ways that you can treat your yoga sessions to integrate them into your workout routine without reducing performance or taking up more time than normal.

Do Yoga as a Separate Exercise Session

Separating your yoga sessions from your workouts is the best idea for most people. Yoga sessions can be an impressive, stand-alone exercise when you’re truly pushing yourself. That’s a bad idea before a workout, and doing it after a workout makes it harder overall.

Subbing in a couple of days a week with a good yoga session is one way to do it. It’s particularly recommended if you’re looking to advance into a more advanced asana or achieve better meditation.

Integrating Daily Yoga

If you do yoga daily, then you need to time your sessions away from normal exercise. Most daily practitioners are still after performance-related goals in yoga, so having full focus is important.

If you’re doing yoga in the morning, for instance, then you can slip in a regular exercise session eight to twelve hours later to avoid any strain from yoga carrying over.

Yoga really does work best as its own practice distinct from normal exercise. Just plan around it if you happen to engage in regular yoga sessions, and you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of both!

Full Integration

The most challenging way to handle this is to include yoga in your workout routine. This can be before, after, or in the middle but it only works in some cases.

For those engaging in light cardio and resistance training, yoga can often be seamlessly placed somewhere in the session. Remember, it’s a heavy exercise that suffers from an early yoga session.

For those with performance-related goals… well, this isn’t the best option. Yoga works best with light exercise, which usually just burns calories instead of pushing the body’s limits.

Conclusion

When you engage in yoga practices during your workout, you should place them after unless you’ve come up with a specific integrated plan beforehand. And make sure to wait a bit after if you’re a daily yoga kind of person and don’t want to perform after your normal workout.

In the end, it comes down to your routine. How are you going to try it out?

Isabel Ludick
Isabel is an avid yoga practitioner, who loves travelling, living life to the fullest, and cats. She loves living healthy and inspiring others to be the best they can be. When she's not performing her asanas or writing, you can find her at exquisite wine tastings around the world.