How Long To Hold Yoga Pose: The Best Guide For Yoga Practitioners

by Susan T.

Do you have to pose longer for every yoga position? Is there a need to hold longer breathe for yoga poses to be more effective? Is there a time required for each of these poses? 

Before we answer these questions, we will ask you: what is your level of yoga expertise?

Any beginner perhaps will always ask these questions on the duration of a yoga pose. For most longtime practitioners, they hold each pose anywhere between one and two breathes. Some do up to five minutes, depending on the emphasis of the exercise.

But we think you need to know more! So in this article, we will figure out how long to hold yoga poses in various circumstances. It is better to hold your breath and read this interesting post! Good luck, yoga fanatics!

How Long To Hold Yoga Pose
How Long To Hold Yoga Pose

Circumstances Telling The Duration Of How You Hold A Yoga Pose

A lot of ways in doing yoga tell you a lot of poses. But every person has a different ability. You can discover your capability as time goes by.

However, there is no standard holding time in yoga poses. It is your body that will tell you so. What you will read here are just recommendations and not the rules to follow.

In yoga, holding time is counted in breaths. A short holding time is about three breaths; a medium hold time is about five breaths, and a long hold time is more than eight breaths. However, some yogis used seconds and minutes (like 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, etc.).

If you are a beginner, you can vary the duration of each pose on certain days for one breath. Then, do the same pose the next day to a different extent, etc. Here are some of the aspects of knowing the duration you should hold a yoga pose.

But before starting a session, makes sure that you have the right yoga mat size and thickness.

1. Do I feel alright?

Ask yourself this question before starting a yoga session. Check both your mental and physical notions during this time. For example, if you are distress due to unexpected circumstances, you may prolong the pose to calm you down, etc.

2. Am I hurting physically?

Are you suffering from injuries? If you do, you can stick to simple poses that will not enhance the pain resulting from your injury. It is best to understand your body and introduce modifications to the poses you always want to do.

Depending on your injury: try holding poses longer with variations that will heal and relieve the pain. However, consult your medical practitioner before attempting to do a session.

3. To plan my short-lived yoga objectives.

You may determine your immediate objectives in doing yoga. Do you want leaner or thicker muscles? Gaining or losing weight, perhaps? With these in mind, you can set your short-term goals once you decide to pursue the practice.

4. To plan my lasting yoga objectives.

Are you targeting yoga as your way of keeping your mind and body relaxed all the time? Do you want the practice as your lifestyle? Making long-term goals in pursuing yoga will give you directions that may result in satisfaction at the end of each day. 

5. To plan my aims in pursuing yoga.

Bear in mind that practicing yoga has a ton of benefits. Your intentions in practicing yoga should make you more aware of the consequences. Are you going to make yoga your outlet for relieving anxiety? Or do you want to build your muscles or stretch them out?

Your aims should be clear in working out with yoga. It will also make you more aware of the duration of holding time for every action.

6. Do I need to practice every day?

It is better to do yoga every day. By doing this, you may know if you need to practice every day. But the session may be brief depending on your daily routine. You can have an hour in a yoga class or at home when you have lots of spare time.

During busy days, maybe a 5-minute holding time in a single pose will bring a more relaxing mood before bed.

7. Am I in the mood to do it?

Are you in shape to do yoga? How about your shoulders or legs? Are they aching because of the previous sessions? Maybe you could hold longer in a single pose to keep those body parts stretched and more flexible?

The body keeps adjusting to the stretching and flexibility once you do the practice every day. The body will feel different with daily exercise, which is the usual outcome when you do yoga.

8. Do I have any medical conditions?

Seek the advice of your doctor; in case you have health conditions before doing a session. However, most yoga poses are not a threat to these medical conditions. Your doctor may tell you how long you should hold your breath in every yoga position base on your state of health.  

9. How firm is the pose?

No matter how vigorous a pose will be, start with a minimal breath, and make adjustments as you progress. If you initially feel difficulty in each pose, try to hold it for a longer time. It will make your body more flexible as you adapt to different poses.

10. Your age matters

As we age, there are lots of body pains that we may experience every day. If you do have body aches, start with the unembellished pose, and hold your breath as you can withstand it. Then, make variations as the day goes by.

Benefits Of Holding The Yoga Pose Longer

1. Longer hold builds strength

Concentrating on a longer time in a pose gives your muscles a steady buildup of robustness. It is most noticeable in poses like Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana I) and the Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana).

2. It generates balance & firmness.

Doing longer hold time in a pose creates more stability, steadiness, and balance on your body and mental health. 

3. It allows you to discover the symmetry of your body.

Holding a pose longer gives you more time to correct your posture from the bottom to the top of your body. The symmetry will allow a painless practice.

4. It lets you study the pose.

Doing a longer hold time allows you to explore and consider the pose. There will come a time that you will not be able to hold longer in a particular pose. You can repeat the stance until you are used to it.

5. It broadens your muscles.

The longer you hold into the position, your blood flows freely. It will make your muscles dramatically stretch in harmony with your heartbeat. However, you can stop the pose whenever your heart beats faster.

6. Stir up flexibility

 You can prolong a yoga pose. But do the prolonging that you can maintain without difficulty. It will create the needed strength and flexibility of muscles. Flexibility will give you more ranges in movement.

7. It will spawn your interest.

When you discover that you can do long hold time in certain positions will generate more curiosity. Your curiousness will eventually give you a hint on how far you can go.

8. It brings out emotions.

Practicing long hold time in yoga unravels the muscular tensions that may result in releasing the associated emotions. The practice strengthens physical, mental, and emotional attributes developing your capacity to handle emotions and past traumas with ease.

9. It improves breathing.

There are yoga exercises and poses that support the respiratory system (such as Pranayama). This exercise expands the lungs giving more space to breathe, especially when you do it in a long hold.

10. Minimizes backache and headache

Prolonging yoga poses, like the Cat-Cow and Legs up the Wall, reduce back pain and helps in migraine relief, respectively. 

11. It soothes the brain, making you ready for meditation.

The asana pose in a longer hold time will calm your mind to prepare your body for meditation. The prolonged position builds strength, resiliency, and flexibility in your body.

12. It eases painful menstrual periods.

One of the best yoga poses for relieving menstrual cramps is the resting corpse pose. When you do long hold time on this pose, it levels up your breathing. It helps your mind get distracted from pains associated with menstrual periods.

Read more: 10 Best Yoga DVDs For Weight Loss

The Benefits Of Briefly Holding Yoga Poses.

Holding a determined yoga poses for longer has its respective benefits. However, some poses offer better gains when done within 1-2 breaths. Here are the mental and physical benefits you can get when doing poses briefly:

1. Boosts a healthy circulatory system

The Extended triangle pose (Utthita Trikonasana) helps you improving cardiovascular health when done within 1-2 deep breaths. By doing deep breathing while in this position, your heart pumps more blood, providing better circulation.

2. Shoots up metabolism

Faster breathing will provide a brisk yoga pose sequence that heats your body. Once your body warms, your metabolism elevates to a certain degree. When your metabolism increases, your calorie decreases at rest and during activity.

3. Burns fat 

The increased metabolism during brief poses will burn more calories. It will make you lose weight dramatically. However, you can do replenishing the loose weight by eating healthy food to maintain your fitness. You will also build muscles over time.

4. Increases vigor/stamina

Once you learn to connect breath to movement, the continued flow would generate more strength and energy. It will build up endurance and keep you moving without getting fatigued.

5. It will let you appreciate every moment.

Doing those shorter hold times for a particular yoga pose will teach you to enjoy the moments. You will become excited with every pose and look forward to more yoga sessions. Without realizing it, you are developing a liking for the practice.

What Is The Best Yoga Pose Holding Time For Beginners?

Every new thing makes us wonder how to do it without getting us annoyed. It is the same in yoga. Beginners should start with short poses even if they can do them longer. 

Yoga is a discipline. Making more executions on poses, the better you feel their usefulness.

What Is The Best Pose Holding Time For Yoga Methods?

Here are some basic yoga poses and their recommended hold time. The hold time indicated is for every pose.

  • Vinyasa Yoga: 1-5 breaths
  • Iyengar: 1-5 minutes 
  • Ashtanga: 5+ breaths
  • Yin Yoga: 5 minutes
  • Bikram: Up to 1 minute
  • Warrior II Pose: 1 minute
  • Tree Pose: 30 seconds
  • Bridge Pose: 1 minute
  • Revolved Triangle Pose: 30 seconds
  • Dolphin Pose: 1 minute

How Long To Hold Yoga Poses For Weight Loss?

The variation of the asana poses will help you lose weight when doing them regularly. Moreover, a study suggests that most poses activate muscle groups that burn fat in one movement.

You can do short breaths in each pose. Then, gradually increase the hold time to 30 seconds and consequently 90 seconds on the following days. The routine will help you lose weight over time when you adjust the hold time longer from the previous days.

How Long To Hold Yoga Poses For Flexibility?

Yoga does improve flexibility. To attain this, you should hold poses for several rounds of breaths. Deep and prolonged breaths create a profound connection to the muscle tissues. The sound link encourages the muscle to relax and stretch. 


There are so many yoga poses out there. Even if you maintain each poses in breaths, seconds, or minutes, the results will still provide positive outcomes. But knowing how long to hold a yoga pose will initially contribute to your fascination with the practice.

Moreover, always remember that the hold time for every pose depends on what your body can do. However, we recommend that you don’t hold a pose too long if you are a beginner. Make the best out of your interest in becoming a successful yoga enthusiast.

About Susan T.

Susan T. is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher, but to her, it all started with a very basic motivation: she just really wanted to be able to touch her toes. Susan has come a long way since then- she now regularly leads yoga teacher trainings and workshops all over the world, and has been featured in Yoga Journal, Mantra Yoga, San Jose Mercury News / Health, and more. But Susan will tell you that her simple quest for flexibility has led her to so much more than just touching her toes.

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