Being nice isn’t always easy for Martha Kornman, especially if she doesn’t start her day right. Her busy schedule revolves around her kids. Between taking them to school, events, doctor appointments and running errands, it’s almost impossible to find time for herself. The only time Kornman can squeeze in for herself is at a 5:45 a.m. yoga class.
“It sets the whole day,” Kornman said. “There is something nice about coming here early in the morning and feeling centered, calm and very awake as opposed to feeling half sleep, groggy and rushed in the morning.”
Kornman has been practicing yoga on and off for five years and is a regular at the 5:45 a.m. class at Karmany yoga located in Dallas. Although some people dread the thought of waking up this early in the morning, Kornman looks forward to every yoga session.
“It’s my favorite thing to wake up to first thing in the morning,” Kornman said.
Yoga has been shown to help someone relax and manage both stress and anxiety. Yoga also brings together physical and mental disciplines that may help people achieve peacefulness of body and mind, according to mayoclinic.org.
However, there is a difference between taking yoga early in the morning versus later in the afternoon that doesn’t just have to do with the time. Practicing yoga at 5 a.m. warms and prepares the body for movement throughout the rest of the day.
Melissa Preston, a yoga instructor at Karmany Yoga, even sees more improvements in students who come to her early morning classes, primarily because they are regulars.
“They come almost every Tuesday and Thursday. Students in the noon classes, I think in most studios, are very sporadic so it’s harder to track their progress,” Preston said.
Preston believes taking yoga any time of day is great, but specifically mentioned the benefits of taking a class early in the morning.
“The benefit of coming to an early morning class is that you really open your body. In the morning when you first get out of bed, you’re really cranky,” Preston said. “A lot of people jump out of bed, get in the shower, and then they’re in their car and their head is still all wrapped up in yesterday.”
Preston also said that taking an early morning yoga class can prevent injuries.
“If you jump out of bed and are walking up stairs to get to work but your body is not warm and open, you are more prone to injury because you haven’t strengthened your muscles and gotten more flexible,” Preston said.
The main difference in taking a yoga class early in the morning versus later in the day though is how warmed up and ready one may be, according to Preston.
“If you do take a noon class, your body will naturally be a little more open because you’ve been walking and you’ve been driving, so you already have more flexibility,” Preston said. “But that’s simply from living your daily life and not from being here and doing it in a safe, healthy way.”
Ashley Isles, a computer science major at Southern Methodist University, has been doing yoga on and off for two years. She has taken yoga classes at two different times, 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., and agrees that practicing yoga in the morning is a better way to start her day.
“I prefer the morning class because the night class makes me sleepy. The morning class is a refreshing start to the day,” Isles said.
Eleanor Odenheimer, a yoga instructor at SMU, has been teaching yoga since 2006. She also emphasized the differences of taking yoga in the morning versus afternoon.
“There are ancient yoga traditions that say there are certain times of day to do yoga,” Odenheimer said. “What kind of yoga you do is also dependent on the time of day. In the morning it may be very slow, you might just be easing into your day. In the evening it may be more invigorating or faster moving to help balance out the waning energy level.”
“Taking yoga anytime of day is incredible, but it is absolutely the most beneficial in the morning,” Preston said.