There are all types of yoga activities—in both the morning and evening—awaiting you at a Wanderlust Festival. Join us this summer!
Try as we might, the night owls of this world do not like to get up early. Despite setting our alarms and going to bed at a semi-reasonable hour, there are those of us who fantasize of being a “morning person,” yet fail endlessly to make that dream a reality.
Practicing asana both morning and night is not feasible for the average hardworking person—whether they are a yoga teacher or not. The time of day you practice should match your personality type, individual stress levels, unique needs—and one time of the day isn’t necessarily better than another. Just as we choose which style of yoga is best suited for us, which studios we like to attend, and which teachers we most identify with, determining whether you’re a morning or nighttime yogi is integral to maintaining a regular routine and to receiving the amazing benefits.
I have both practiced and taught yoga at all times throughout a 12-hour (or more) working day; the earliest being 7 a.m. and the latest at 8:30 p.m. While I won’t deny the surge of energy that follows an early morning class and that wonderful feeling of “being done” for the day, in truth I am a nighttime person and therefore a nighttime yogi. Whether you find my reasoning and rationale to be completely subjective, or are able to relate on some level, I’ve broken down the archetypes of the Morning Yogi and Nighttime Yogi to help you rediscover or reaffirm which type of yogi you most identify with.
A Morning Yogi wakes up naturally minutes or even seconds before their alarm clock goes off at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. Before the first ray of light peers through their bedroom window, the Morning Yogi has already leapt out of bed and is seated at their meditation cushion in the dark, somehow managing to avoid falling asleep before they’ve even had any caffeine. Twenty minutes later, the Morning Yogi has suited up in their favorite yoga pants, blended their advanced preparation green smoothie and is out the door touting their mat with a skip in their step. As the neighborhood begins to awaken and the light of day has peered through the clouds, the Morning Yogi strolls to their local studio and is one of the first to arrive for the 7 a.m. class, with a smile on their face, no less.
The Morning Yogi has a full-time job, could be a mother or father, is ambitious, motivated, and prioritizes self-care despite their busy schedule. The Morning Yogi thrives off early morning sunlight, and has little-to-no need for caffeine until after practice. The Morning Yogi is invigorated by the moving meditation of Sun Salutations and fluidity of Vinyasa, or could be a devoted Ashtanga or Iyengar practitioner since everything else in their life is so seemingly disciplined and dedicated.
By 10 a.m., the Morning Yogi has finished their exercise for the day, has showered, maybe had time for a coffee or a light bite, and is on their way to work—with an even bigger smile spread across their face.
The Nighttime Yogi has tried the Morning Yogi’s routine before and found it to be a major source of stress. They were late for class because they overslept, and so they ran out the door to the studio in a mismatched outfit, determined to stick to their commitment anyway. There’s a good chance they forgot their mat and water bottle at home, and there is no way they had time for a smoothie. After class, sure, they felt better, but then they realized that they didn’t have time to shower, because it meant forgoing their cup of coffee—a coveted morning ritual—and were maybe subsequently late for work as a result.
The Nighttime Yogi is no slacker, mind you, but prioritizes their day differently. The Nighttime Yogi takes their time in the morning (as much time as they need!) to ensure they’re mentally on track and ready to take on whatever challenges the day ahead may throw at them. The Nighttime Yogi may prefer to exercise at the end of a long day as an unwinding mechanism—to sweat out any stresses incurred and help them to wind down. A core-focused or power class might appeal more to the Nighttime Yogi rather than the Morning Yogi, since they’ve got plenty of extra energy to burn at night. The Nighttime Yogi is at their best as the day goes on, with the morning being at their most foggy-headedness.
As a result of this increase in energy and stamina as the day progresses, the Nighttime Yogi may have trouble sleeping, and might opt for a restorative or Yin practice to help them enter a relaxed state. Post-yoga tea is also very appealing to the Nighttime Yogi. Alternatively, the Nighttime Yogi might also come alive under the light of the moon and stars with a slow, but rigorous Hatha practice, so that when they return home in the evening they may have cultivated extra creative energy to work on their passion projects. Some Nighttime Yogis (like me) may have little to no trouble sleeping at all—it’s waking up that poses the problem.
The Nighttime Yogi may alternate between evenings of happy hour and yoga (or schedule time for both!), while the Morning Yogi might opt out of happy hour entirely so as to not sabotage the following morning’s practice.
Which type of yogi are you?
Andrea Rice is a Senior Writer for Wanderlust Media. She is also a freelance writer, editor, and yoga teacher. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, SONIMA, mindbodygreen, AstroStyle, and other online publications. You can find her regular classes at shambhala yoga & dance center in Brooklyn, and connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, and on her website.