Can You Stay in Shape Doing Yoga Once a Week?

Yoga Once A Week: The Good, The Bad, and Is It Worth It?
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Yoga seems to be everywhere at the moment. At the press of a button, we can find thousands of yoga videos on YouTube.

Yet then comes the question of how often to practice yoga?

Some people like to practice every day while for others yoga once a week is all they have time for.

But is that enough?

Yoga once a week is a good starting point, and as such, it is encouraged especially for yoga beginners. A single yoga class can be beneficial both physically and psychologically. Generally, by practicing yoga once a week any progress will be much slower than when practicing more often,

Why yoga once a week is enough

Yoga Once A Week: The Good, The Bad, and Is It Worth It?

Most beginners that come to my yoga studio ask me how many times a week they should practice yoga.

And the answer I generally give is, well, it depends!

I have students who come to yoga once a week and that seems to be enough for them. On the other hand, others can’t get enough and may even come every single day.

And so the general advice I give to yoga beginners is to do yoga twice a week. This way they themselves will understand if they want more or less yoga.

The frequency of our yoga practice is really dependent on a variety of factors, such as:

1. It may be enough for your busy life

How busy are you?

To be totally honest this can go both ways. And so if someone told you that they are very busy and can’t seem to have any time for themselves, you are most likely to recommend they do yoga once a week. Right?

And yet, for those very people, a more frequent yoga practice may be what they actually need.

There is a Zen proverb that I love that goes something like this:

“If you don’t have time to meditate for an hour every day, you should meditate for two hours.

The point I’m trying to make is that yoga has numerous benefits, both physically and psychologically. And the more often we practice, the more we get to experience those benefits.

And so if you feel that yoga once a week is more than enough for you, then great, that’s the right amount for you. However, if you feel you would like more, then see how you can plan your day to add even a short practice to your daily life.

2. It has health benefits

An increasing number of studies is looking into whether yoga can help people deal with injuries and chronic pain.

For example, one study examined whether yoga once a week can help older women with osteoarthritis. After eight weeks, they reported a 38% reduction in pain and a 35% reduction in stiffness.

Another study examined whether yoga can help with chronic lower back pain. After 12 weeks of yoga, yoga reduced back pain and back-related function was superior in the control group.

And finally, one further study examined yoga’s effect on our mood and stress levels. At the end of three months, the women in the yoga group reported improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being. Yoga decreased depression scores by 50%, anxiety scores by 30%, and overall well-being scores increased by 65%. 

And so from this small sample of academic studies, you may notice that yoga once a week can have important benefits to our lives.

And so if you want to start yoga and once a week is all you can commit to you’re wondering if yoga once a week is enough, then just GO FOR IT!

Why yoga once a week isn’t enough

Yoga Once A Week: The Good, The Bad, and Is It Worth It?

There’s a quote that I love that may help to explain why yoga once a week is a good starting point:

“If you practice yoga once a week, you will change your mind.

If you practice yoga twice a week, you will change your body.

If you practice yoga every day, you will change your life.”

1. You may feel like you are always a beginner

Despite the many benefits of yoga, by practicing once a week we may feel like we’re starting over when we step on the mat.

The more consistent and frequent we are with our yoga practice, the longer-lasting, and the faster the benefits we will experience.

The more often we practice yoga, the more the practice becomes part of our lifestyle. 

Of course yoga once a week is better than not practicing at all. 

But if we want to experience all the benefits of yoga, by practicing every day, even if it just a short meditation practice, we may be able to achieve this.

By becoming aware of what we eat, how we sleep, how we relate to others, we are tapping into the rich tradition of yoga which teaches us how to live a more conscious life. And that is the essence of a consistent yoga practice.

Some changes you may begin to experience in your daily life with a consistent yoga practice are:

2. Practice makes perfect

As beginners in a yoga class, many things are new and may appear difficult at first. And this is the reason so many people try out yoga classes and never come back. And yet, it is important to stick with it.

Yes, stick with the practice as it will give us the opportunity to work on the things that challenge us. Whether it is flexibility, strength, balance, staying calm, or simply being able to sit still and breathe mindfully. And who knows? What once seemed challenging may feel like a breeze after some time.

As a side note, I wrote an article about why yoga is hard and then discuss my favorite 15 tips for beginners.

3. You may crave more

One thing that is rather obvious in many of my yoga classes is the change in peoples’ moods before and after class (and similarly when first starting yoga to years later). I have taught classes where people came in with a lot of tension and frustration. And at the end of the class what I then saw was calm faces and gentle, grateful smiles.

Our modern lives are difficult and hectic, to say the least. And so you may notice that the more you practice, less frustrated you may begin to feel, and the less tension and weight you may feel like you are carrying on your shoulders.

4. You may want to see your yoga buddies

For those who practice in a yoga studio, you may have experienced the magical yoga community experience.

I have seen this form organically in several studios around the world.

With time our yoga studios tend to become our homes away from home. And so the people around us gradually become our yoga buddies.

Someone to sweat next to, go to post-practice coffee with, go on a yoga retreat with.

And these very people form a community that nurtures us. And so it only makes sense that we may want to see them often.

And so this yoga community may be one of the reasons that yoga once a week is not enough.

Yoga Once A Week: The Good, The Bad, and Is It Worth It?

How many days a week should you do yoga?

As a general rule, practice yoga as often as feels right for you. Generally, more beginners to yoga start by practicing yoga twice a week. This way they get to experience whether that is the right amount or if they want more or less. Most advanced practitioners practice yoga every day.

Is yoga 2 times a week enough?

As a general rule, most yoga beginners practice yoga two times a week. For many people, this is enough, and this can be seen by a study carried out in the US in 2016 which found that 44% of people in the US practice yoga 2-3 a week.

Is one hour of yoga a week enough?

One hour of yoga a week can be a good starting point for a yoga beginner looking to add yoga to their daily life. Generally, most people very quickly are able to tell if yoga once a week is enough for them. The important thing is to start and take it from there.

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