Is There Such a Thing As Too Much Yoga?

You asked, we answered. Four fitness experts weigh in.

By: Melissa Romero

There’s no doubt about it: People in Washington love their yoga. Virtually every neighborhood has multiple yoga studios, and it’s become a popular complement to avid runners and cycling enthusiasts alike.

But last week a reader posed a question to Well+Being via Twitter that left us scratching our heads: “I know about over-cardioing, but how many yoga classes in one week is too many?”

Here’s the short answer: “More doesn’t always equal better,” says Lululemon ambassador Heather Calcote. As with any type of exercise, too much of the same type of yoga is not in your best interest—just like running a hard ten miles every day isn’t recommended.

Why? Performing the same workout repeatedly leads to overuse of muscles, which in turn can cause injury. In addition, over time our muscles become used to doing the same thing repeatedly—so the much-touted benefits of yoga go out the window after awhile.

The good news is that there are a wide variety of yoga classes, from the more fast-paced vinyasa to Bikram or hot yoga. Therein lies the key to doing multiple yoga classes a week, if not every day. “Alternating gentle and restorative yoga classes with more vigorous classes can create an effective balance throughout one’s week,” says personal trainer Lance Breger.

If an everyday yoga practice is something you plan to try, own your practice, says Lululemon ambassador and personal trainer Errick McAdams. “Don’t shy away from yoga bricks for support in difficult poses, and don’t compete with the person next to you.”

Think of yoga as you would any other fitness program, says instructor Sarabeth Stone. “Appropriate amounts of rest and nutrition must always accompany a healthy exercise regimen, including a consistent yoga practice.”

“Ultimately, it’s just listening to your body to understand what you need, which is what yoga is all about,” says Stone.

Do you have a question about health, nutrition, or fitness? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com or tweet us @washwellbeing, and we’ll ask our team of local experts to answer it!