As a seasoned yoga teacher, one of the most common questions I get from my students is, ‘How long should you hold a pose?’ This depends on several factors:
Practitioner’s experience level
Style of yoga
Specific benefits one hopes to achieve
Firstly, it is essential to remember that yoga is a journey, not a destination. Every practitioner’s body is unique, therefore the length of time that they can comfortably hold a pose will vary. Beginners may find it challenging to hold poses for an extended period of time, whereas intermediate and advanced practitioners may be able to hold poses for longer periods without discomfort.
Let’s look at the benefits of holding a pose for a certain length of time. Holding a pose for an extended period can help build strength, flexibility and balance. On top of that, holding poses for a longer duration can help increase focus and mindfulness.
The length of time that a practitioner should hold a pose will also vary based on the style of yoga they are practicing:
Vinyasa Yoga typically involves flowing through poses quickly and smoothly, with minimal emphasis on holding the poses for an extended period of time. Typically each pose is held for not more than 5 breaths.
Power Yoga is a more dynamic and challenging style of yoga, which typically requires poses to be held for either a few breaths or up to 30 seconds. This style of yoga is designed to build strength and stamina, and sometimes incorporates more challenging poses such as balancing poses and inversions.
Hatha Yoga emphasizes longer periods of holding the poses, with the focus being on the breath and correct alignment.
Yin Yoga is a passive practice which requires the practitioner to hold the poses for much longer periods of time, sometimes with the aid of props – ranging from two to five minutes, or even ten minutes per pose. Yin Yoga is designed to target the connective tissues of the body, namely the ligaments, joints and fascia, and induce a deep sense of relaxation and peace in the practitioner. Among some yoga poses to hold for a long time in this practice include Balasana (Child’s Pose), and Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose).
How long to hold a yoga pose, based on category of pose & practitioner level:
|Standing Poses||5 – 10 seconds||10 – 30 seconds|
|Seated, Twist & Backward Bend Poses||10 – 30 seconds||30 – 60 seconds|
|Inversions||30 – 60 seconds||60 – 90 seconds|
In conclusion, how long to hold yoga poses will vary based on the individual’s experience level, the style of yoga being practiced, and the specific benefits you are hoping to achieve. Remember to always listen to your body, practice mindfulness and accordingly gradually increase the length of time that you hold the pose over time, so that you can enjoy the many benefits that yoga has to offer. It is important to listen to your body to avoid pushing yourself beyond your limits, which can lead to injuries. For those who are new to yoga and seeking to enhance their knowledge, we invite you to explore our 200-hour yoga teacher training program in Bali.