An interesting way to serve my audience and get content ideas for this website is to answer reader questions. Those left in the comments here or on YouTube or social media. One such question recently received was “How long should you hold a yoga pose?”
Without trying to sound like I’m taking the easy way out, basically, there is no clear “one size fits all” answer. It’s going to depend on a few factors. Which you can explore in this video, or read on to learn more.
How long should you hold a yoga pose?
When thinking about the length of time to hold a yoga pose, as I said above, there is no correct answer. Why? Well, because it’s going to depend on a number of factors. For example:
- Type of yoga practiced
- Purpose or goal of your session
- Fitness Level
- Yoga Experience
In short, all these things, and more, will influence how long you need to hold a yoga pose.
Type of yoga
There are many types of yoga asana practice. Including styles such as ashtanga, hatha, vinyasa, yin, and restorative. Each of these is performed in a specific way. With each style having a different length of time that the poses are held. Hatha might be held for 5-8 breaths. Vinyasaya for 1 breath. Yin for 3-5 minutes. Restorative for 5+ minutes. So, firstly, you need to know the style of yoga you’re performing, and why.
Before you can get a result, you have to know what you want. This is where finding the purpose behind your practice is invaluable. Why does this change how long to hold a yoga pose? Because your purpose defines the type of yoga you’ll perform and the length of time you hold the asana. For example:
- A fast-moving practice like vinyasa, where the pose is held for 1 breath is a great way to get some cardio. As well as increase fat burning, metabolism, stamina, and strength.
- Hatha poses held for 5-8 breaths help mindfulness and allow time for alignment in the poses.
- Staying in the poses longer, like in Yin yoga practice, can increase the range of movement and flexibility more than a fast-moving practice.
- To reduce anxiety and stress a restorative practice might be more beneficial. In which case you should hold a supported pose for 5+ minutes.
You have to know the destination before you can plot a route to get there. Decide what you need for your practice today, and work from there. And remember you can change your mind midway through your session!
Another factor in how long to hold a yoga pose is your fitness level and yoga experience. An experienced yogi’s with knowledge of yoga poses can find a challenge with a fast-flowing vinyasa. While for beginners, holding a pose for 3 breaths might be a tough workout.
Another factor to consider is the number of times you’ll be in the pose. In a flow, you might come into the pose four to five times, maybe more. So staying for a short time in the pose may be apt. However, in a class where the pose is experienced once or twice, perhaps a longer pause in the pose is needed. Some poses
How long to hold a yoga pose?
Honestly, there is no one answer because we are all individuals. Remember that what your ego wants to do, and what your body needs are often two completely different things. What we want isn’t always what we need.
You can view the video on YouTube. Maybe add it to a playlist? Above all, remember to subscribe to my channel. New videos are uploaded every Tuesday and Friday. However, for exclusive longer format videos sign up for my Patreon community. Patrons also get early access to all my videos, along with lots of other benefits.
- What is your purpose for practicing yoga?
- Are you a beginner at yoga?
- Which style of yoga do you practice?
I had no idea the time in various positions vary but then, I’m not surprised because the more one practices, the longer they can hold up their chosen positions.
Yes length of time practicing definitely impacts the time one can hold a pose.
This is such a helpful guide Di, thank you for sharing! I’m a huge fan of yin and restorative practices and I love the release holding a pose for a long period of time gives me xx
That’s awesome Bethan! So happy you find release in yin, it’s a great yoga practice.
The only yoga pose that I can hold forever is the child pose 🙂
On a serious note, I like the side plank. It really helps with my legs and core.
Side plank is a great pose! So good for the whole body!
Indya | The Small Adventurer
Wow, I can’t believe how LONG some people hold their yoga poses for! I started out doing yoga on my Wii fit (lol), and I’m pretty sure that only makes you hold your pose for less than a minute – although I’m really not sure because it doesn’t tell you – and I still find that really difficult as I’m a super beginner and get absolutely no other exercise besides that. Knowing that other people can hold their poses for 5-8 minutes just blows my mind!
Usually the longer holds are supported poses. Restorative for example is always supported.
This is really interesting. I have just started to incorporate some yoga into my daily workout, but I’ll admit that I know very little about the ins and outs of doing it properly. That being said, I am very interested in learning the details like this so that I can continue to build upon my knowledge. Thank you for sharing this (and everything else on here).
Thanks Britt! Yoga is a great addition to any fitness regime! Glad you’re finding my content useful!
I hold until I start feeling the burn lol, but I usually count slowly and make it to 5 before I switch.
5 count is good. Start where you are. And never hold the “burn”.
I have recently just started trying to do yoga. I am not very got at it, but practice makes perfect, as they say.
Practice makes progress, not perfection! Perfection doesn’t exist!
I didn’t realize that you held poses for different lengths of time depending on the type of yoga you are practicing. I have practiced only Hatha yoga!
Yep hatha typically is held 5-8 breaths, I like to combine my hatha with flowing yoga
This was a great breakdown! Thanks for sharing this! I typically like to hold my poses for 3-5 breaths.
3-5 is a great mid-ground for a yoga practice!