In this article I wanna share with you my tips on how to do yoga twice a day, and help you answer some common questions.
In general, you can do yoga twice a day as a form of exercise and active recovery. Separating yoga sessions into morning and evening can significantly increase your daily energy expenditure, improve your flexibility and reduce stress levels.
The only thing that will determine if doing yoga twice a day is a good fit or not is your ability to recover from those sessions.
Case Study: Lessons Learned From Doing Yoga Twice A Day
The first time I did yoga twice a day was in the Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training, in Rishikesh. It was in the middle of my 5 months backpacking solo trip in Southeast Asia where I had a lot of free time to devote to my new yoga journey.
Before I give you my recommendations, I wanna share with you my experience and give 5 lessons that I’ve learned from doing yoga twice a day.
Lesson #1: Muscle soreness
Your muscle will get sore from doing yoga twice a day. Depending on the intensity, the two-a-day workout leaves not enough time for the muscles to fully recover. The best way to reduce muscle soreness is not to get to the point where you overtrain.
There are several ways to help you get through DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). I won’t cover here all the methods. I’ve already covered them in “Stop Soreness After Yoga (Science-based methods)“, which I recommend you read.
Lesson #2: Have enough protein
You need to have enough proteins when you’re doing yoga twice a day because the excessive forms of physical activity induce muscle protein breakdown and slow down muscle protein synthesis. This will inhibit your recovery and compromise your strength.
How much protein do I need while doing yoga twice a day? You need 1 gram of protein for 1 pound of body weight for optimal muscle protein synthesis to occur while doing yoga twice a day. The body cannot manufacture proteins, which means to improve your recovery and inhibit muscle loss, you need to get it from the food.
My biggest mistake was to completely disregard proteins in my diet. At the time I was doing yoga twice a day, I also experimented with a plant-based diet, and I totally neglected the importance of proteins. In the effect, I got weak, skinny fat, and sluggish.
Should I drink protein after Yoga? You can drink a protein shake after yoga because it helps to deliver all essential amino acids, inhibit muscle breakdown and keep your energy expenditure high. A combination of protein shake with a small carbohydrate serving after a yoga session helps to facilitate muscle protein synthesis.
Lesson #3: Always spend time for warmup
You should always warm up before a yoga session because it helps to facilitate muscle adaptations, improves muscle elasticity, and prevents injury. The easiest way to warm up before yoga is either go for a 10-15 minutes walk and do some basic mobility sequence.
I cannot tell you how many times I had to take a few days off because I’ve “skipped” the warm-up. Especially in the morning when your muscles are brutally stiff and you don’t have the same range of motion as you would have later on during the day.
I’ve also noticed that when you do a proper warm-up before the morning session, the afternoon yoga doesn’t feel so stiff anymore. So if you plan to do yoga twice a day, do not skip your warm-up.
How do you warm-up before yoga? To warm up before yoga, you can either spend 10-15 minutes walking, cycling, or swimming. You can also perform some basic Pilates exercises that will mobilize your core, glutes, in combination with dynamic stretching or PNF stretching.
Lesson #4: Take a lot of rest
You should take days off when you’re doing yoga twice a day because it will improve your performance and prevent injury. Having a day off helps to reclaim your length-tension relationship in the muscles, and restore depleted muscle glycogen stores.
Take a look at this study done by Dr. Anne K Hansen from The Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre. She compared the effects of two training modalities (once a day versus twice every second day) on seven healthy untrained men (source).
The results showed that training twice every second day has better effects comparing to training once a day.
Which makes perfect sense. Because that aligns with what I’ve noticed myself. After a couple of days doing yoga twice a day, I’ve had a much better range of motion, and feel more energized when I have a complete day off somewhere in between.
Lesson #5: You don’t need to be yogi
Yoga is not only for yogis. You don’t have to become obsessed with your practice, change your values, priorities, or beliefs to get the benefits from yoga. You also don’t need to be super flexible or athletic to start practising.
A lot of people who practice yoga as a way of life say that you need all parts of yoga to fully appreciate the benefits. Of course, there are several benefits from breathing sequence, meditation, or chanting mantras. However, they are not essential to get the physical benefits or lose extra pounds.
It’s ok to just focus on the asanas. When I started doing yoga, I was caught up with all the details of every single session. And when I’ve skipped chanting mantras before the class or savasana at the end, I kind of felt guilty.
Now, I don’t stress about it anymore.
How Many Times a Day Can You do Yoga?
In general, you can do yoga once to even three times a day. Some yoga schools offer their yoga program with 3-4 daily yoga sessions. The right number of yoga sessions will depend on how much free time you have, your fitness level, and your previous yoga experience.
Is it OK to do 2 yoga classes a day? It is ok to do two yoga classes a day, as long as you can have around 6 to 8 hours of rest in between classes, you have enough water and an adequate amount of proteins to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and inhibit muscle protein breakdown.
Is yoga twice a day too much? Doing yoga twice a day isn’t too much because you can modify each session to meet your current goals. Depending on how you feel, you can either increase or decrease the intensity of each session, which will reduce the risk for overtraining.
Let’s break these down.
- How much time you have. This will be the biggest factor because if you’re on your holiday, then you have much more spare time to practice yoga. If you are working 10 hours a day then squeezing in two 1-hour yoga sessions in one day may be challenging.
- Your fitness level. How fit you’re right now will also dictate how much yoga can you realistically do. Post-exercise metabolic adaptations are different for people who are just getting started with their exercise, comparing to people who have been physically active for months or years.
- Previous yoga experience. Flexibility and mobility are totally different fitness modules that strength or cardio. You can be physically fit, run fast or lift heavyweight, but if you haven’t done yoga before, your body will respond by feeling sore. This means more time to heal is necessary.
- Your ability to recover from sessions. Yoga can be modified and optimized to fit your personal goals. This means you can either turn it down and make it more relaxing, or you can increase the volume. The harder you push, the more time you will need to recover.
- Your intensity. If you spend most of your yoga sessions doing strength-focused poses, it will drain your energy and deplete muscle glycogen. It will also require more time to recover from DOMS.
Doing Yoga Twice A Day
I’ve done hardcore modified ashtanga primary series two times a day. This type of trip is a perfect way to focus on yourself, on your health, and make your body the priority. In ashtanga, you have a lot of upper body strength movements combined with forward folds, which challenge your hamstrings.
But because I had nothing else going on, I could easily do that twice a day.
- I could sleep as much as I wanted
- I could read and relax as much as I wanted
- I could eat whatever I wanted
- I had no stress (only where to find good wifi)
I’ve continued with this practice for another couple of months after the initial yoga teacher training course. But once I got back to real life, everything changed. Immediately I was swamped with time, projects, deadlines, KPI’s, targets, etc.
This escalated my stress levels, changed the way I sleep and eat, and made my recovery less optimal. In other words, I wasn’t able to do yoga twice a day anymore. At least not at the intensity I did before.
And that’s ok.
Of course, yoga is a great way to reduce stress, but if you push it too hard, and too often, you won’t allow your body to recover.
Is daily yoga too much? Doing daily yoga isn’t too much, as long as you have the right balance between intensity and recovery. Some people can recover faster than others. The factors that influence your recovery from yoga include the intensity of exercise, daily stress, nutrition, and regular sleep.
Each of us has our own unique “recovery tank” of resources and resilience, which can be depleted. How soon and how much your “tank” will get emptied depends on a lot of factors and your allostatic load.
What is allostatic load? Allostatic load is the accumulation of chronic stress and life events. When the environmental and personal problems exceed the individual ability to cope with them, allostatic overload occurs. This reduces your stress tolerance, patience, and positive attitude.
In other words, everything else that is going on in your life. For example, a student in their 20s has a different allostatic load comparing to a 45-year old single mother of three, who is dealing with financial problems and family stress.
Keep that in mind.
What Happens To Your Body When You Do Yoga Twice a Day?
Doing yoga twice a day triggers training-induced adaptations that lead to significant improvements in aerobic fitness and strength performance. However, to match the recovery and prevent overtraining, you should keep 6 to 8 hours of rest between the yoga sessions.
Is it good to do yoga 2 times a day? In general, it is good for the body to do yoga 2 times a day because it can help you increase metabolic rate, enhance fat oxidation, and induce post-training adaptations. When done with the right volume, it can also improve your flexibility and reduces muscle soreness.
Is it bad to do yoga twice a day? In general, it is not bad to do yoga twice a day, considering your intensity is kept to an optimal level. Having the right balance between volume, intensity, and rest helps to prevent overtraining, muscle soreness, and the occurrence of DOMS.
Benefits of Doing Yoga Twice A Day
There are several benefits from practising yoga twice a day:
- Improved strength
- Improved flexibility
- Improved mobility
- Improved metabolic rate
- Improved body composition
- Improved mental fitness
- Improved sleep
- Reduced stress and anxiety
Yoga Twice a Day For Weight Loss
You can lose weight by doing yoga twice a day because yoga at moderate intensity can elevate your heart rate, increase energy expenditure, and burn a similar amount of calories to walking. The amount of lost weight will depend on your consistency, intensity, body weight, and nutrition.
How much weight can you lose by doing yoga twice a day? You can lose 1-2 pounds per week by doing yoga twice a day. Two yoga sessions can burn between 400 to over 1000 calories. The best results you get from the combination of two yoga sessions, together with calorie deficit and the optimal amount of proteins.
Yoga can really help to improve your body composition, however, if that’s your only goal then there are more effective ways lose weight.
I won’t cover here your nutrition to lower body weight and burn fat. I’ve already done that in “Calorie Deficit and Protein: How much should you eat“, which I suggest you read.
From the training perspective, the best results you get from combining yoga with strength training. However, if you want to do only yoga that’s ok.
How To Lose Weight Doing Yoga Twice a Day
Here are the strategies that help you lose weight doing yoga twice a day:
- Plan your first session early in the morning. This gives you enough time to recover from one session to another, restore muscle glycogen and prevent overtraining. Allow for at least 6 to 8 hours of rest in between sessions.
- Do your first yoga session on an empty stomach. This of course depends on how much time in the morning you have. Doing yoga on the empty stomach keeps the blood flow in the muscle and helps with further digestion.
- If you struggle with energy, have a coffee or reduce the intensity. Doing yoga in the morning requires some level of energy. Some people need to eat something to have more power. So you can either have a coffee or simply take it easy with intensity if you feel weak in the morning.
- If you want to eat, take a spoonful of MCT oil or extra virgin coconut oil. Normally when you eat, your stomach secretes digestive enzymes and directs the blood from the muscles into the stomach. That’s not good because you want to keep blood in the muscles for the workout. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) don’t kick-start digestion and do not affect pancreatic enzyme secretion.
- If you have good energy, push yourself. If you have more time (work from home or your schedule allows you for morning off) and you feel like your energy levels allow you to challenge yourself, do it. Having an intense early morning session can set you up for the day and you can use that evening workout to downregulate and relax.
- Have a protein-rich breakfast. Try to have a decent amount of protein in the morning after your first yoga session. In the long-term, this will keep you stronger and prevent you from feeling lethargic.
- Have proteins with each meal. I’ve already covered the protein topic in detail and gave you the recommended article to read before.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. This will help you to release soreness from the muscle and keep your energy high.
- Use liquid chalk on your hands. I like to use liquid chalk when doing yoga in the morning. This helps me to have a significantly better grip and creates friction that allows me to go deep and feel the stretch properly. I also don’t have the best yoga mat so without chalk, my hands slip all the time.
- Use evening session to counterbalance the morning routine. If your morning session was a short and relaxing one, use an evening workout to push. However, if you already went all out in the morning, then use that evening routine to down-regulate.
- Take days off every 3-4 days. Don’t underestimate days off. Remember that majority of weight loss is happening in the kitchen and during recovery. Exercise only accounts for 15-30% of total daily calories burned. Rest is metabolism.
Doing yoga twice a day is definitely challenging. However, if you have enough resilience you will have a lot of benefits in half of the time. The most important question you need to ask yourself is why do you want to do yoga twice a day?
Remember that for weight loss there are scientifically proven much more effective ways to lose weight. My biggest goal with doing yoga twice a day was to clear my thoughts, improve my flexibility and mobility.
Of course, I didn’t mind the extra few pounds of weight loss. But yoga wasn’t; what really moved the needle. It was nutrition.