It seems every productivity-boosting article I’ve read lately keeps banging on about how rising an extra 20 minutes earlier in the mornings to do a little bit of exercise will change my life forever. If you’re like me and cringe at the notion of having to get up early, keep reading.
When I was working in corporate, the only available time for exercise was after the day’s work was done (usually 8pm or later). I found a yoga studio local to me that did late-evening classes as part of a 30-day challenge to encourage busy professionals to cultivate a regular practice.
It felt weird in the beginning, like having cereal for dinner. However, once I had acclimatised, I found there was plenty of motivation for me to stick to an evening routine.
So if you’ve got a chock-a-block workday schedule and love a lie-in, here’s 4 reasons why you should be clocking in late night yoga sessions during the week.
1. 8pm classes are less busy that the early evenings
You’ll find that with the early evening classes, the studio is buzzing (as tranquil a buzz as you can get) with people hurrying in from rush hour traffic, or hurrying out to be home in time for dinner. The 8pm crowd tend to arrive in plenty of time and mill around reception for a chat. As there’s no pressure to clear out for the next class on the schedule, you may be able to butter up the instructor for his/her secret top tips.
2. Work off the tension from the day – don’t take it to bed with you!
If you’ve had a particularly stressful day, the mind keeps going long after you’ve left your desk – reliving that moment your boss told you off, or when you felt let down by a colleague, and all those things you should’ve said or done. The conscious breathing and movement found in yoga gives the mind something else to focus on. By the time you’re off the mat, those squabbles will seem miles away… even if only for the moment.
3. Paired with dimmed lights and some slow grooves on low, delicious yoga stretches can feel just as good as a glass of red.
Tension builds up not only in the mind but also physically from being sat at a computer all day. Yoga is your chance to move the body in a way that feels good, easing out any stiffness and strain in the wrists, shoulders, back, or hips. Imagine all those bunched-up muscles being smoothed out once again, and on top of that the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain –an all-natural happy cocktail and massage, rolled into one!
4. Savasana is like training for your big-league sleep game.
When I first started regularly doing yoga in the late evenings, I found I had difficulty falling asleep. This troubled me; I was, like many others, in it for the promises of profound relaxation. My teacher assured me that once my body acclimatized to relaxing into the final relaxation pose (savasana, or corpse pose), its benefits would far outweigh the slight spike in body temperature and heart rate – and she was right.
Even though I now have more time to myself, I still love my late-evening practice. It’s that satisfying feeling of a long day well lived, a closing ritual of sorts – a coming-home to myself.