Should Yoga Make You Sore? – or Are You Doing it Wrong? What about Pain?

Lots of people expect yoga to be gentle and easy exercise.

Considering there are lots of low-impact movements, periods of rest stretches, and mindfulness as well, lots of beginners are surprised to experience pain or even discomfort after their first yoga class.

So the question is, should you feel sore after a yoga class?

The simple answer is yes this is perfectly normal. Since yoga stretches the body in various ways and engages muscles that you don’t or wouldn’t normally use daily, you may feel sore after your workout.

However, the good news is there are ways in which you can deal with the soreness in a positive manner.

Does yoga make muscles sore?

Woman Holding For Neck

One of the most commonly asked questions that yogis ask their instructors is “should I feel sore after yoga?”

Unfortunately, there is no simple, straightforward answer to this question.

While it is completely normal to feel sore after your yoga class, whether you should be feeling sure during your yoga class is debatable.

However, when you feel sore after a yoga class, it definitely will leave you with some questions.

You’ll start to ponder on whether flexibility training is included in your class, the type of yoga you are participating in and is working for you?

Soreness after yoga is normal and expected; however, in some cases, the pain should not be ignored as this could indicate a red flag for some common yoga injuries.

However, having soreness after yoga doesn’t mean that it should stop you from attending classes.

Just consider including flexibility training into your regular routines. Soreness may also result from overstretching or pushing yourself to the limits.

Some types of yoga can leave you sorer than others.

Types of yoga, like Vinyasa yoga, get muscles working that you would not normally use with cardio or strength training.

This can definitely leave you feeling sore after an hour of this type of yoga class.

Yoga constantly allows you to use muscles that usually are not active, so making use of yoga is not only advantageous but can help to take your exercise routines to the next level.

It is also important to know which types of yoga makes use of or activates the most amount of muscles.

Woman Doing Power Yoga Pose

If you are an avid Yogi, then you already know that Power yoga and Vinyasa yoga causes your shoulders, hamstrings and abdominal muscles to be sore the next day because of doing so many sun salutations.

In some cases, going into yin or restorative yoga class may look like a walk in the park; however, when you wake up with sore muscles the next day, you’ll realize that you actually did work on more muscles than you thought possible.

This is because these classes encourage you to hold postures for longer, and the stretches go deep into muscles so you may start feeling muscles you didn’t even know you had.

When participating in a hot yoga class, because the room is heated up and your muscles are warmed up, you may get a false sense of flexibility.

However, this may lead to overstretching and some yoga injuries as well so it is important to know your limits and understand how your body works.

Soreness can be experienced anywhere from a few hours to a few days after the class.

This is especially when you perform an exercise that combines both strength and stretching.

This is usually referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness.

So these symptoms come on when there are small rips and tears in your muscles. 

Soreness is what you experience when your muscles are trying to repair themselves.

Ultimately the most important thing to do is to differentiate between pain and soreness.

So you need to know your body and your limits as well.

Drinking plenty of water and doing your yoga classes consistent will help to make things easier.

Do you need rest days from yoga? 

Yoga Chat

Yoga is more than just an exercise regime for many people; it’s more like a way of life.

So taking a break from it may seem like quite a challenge.

Yoga is a good habit and becomes more often a lifestyle on and off the mat, but taking a break from it is a good idea.

Practicing yoga should be a conscious decision, and time away can help us keep things in perspective.

If you experience soreness in your body, then it may not necessarily be as a result of practicing yoga daily, however, if you can’t think of anything else that’s causing soreness, it probably is your yoga.

Taking a break from yoga is recommended, and in fact, it has several benefits.

Finding different ways to be mindful

When you take a break from yoga, you can use that spare time to find other ways of being mindful.

Some things that you can try include taking walks, reading a book, watering the plants, or trying out a new recipe.

So there are lots of different ways to bring yourself into the present moment aside from doing yoga.

Although lots of people turn to yoga for the daily dose of mindfulness, it is also available in various other places throughout the day.

Other forms of exercise

Women Walking

If you are suffering from some type of injury due to yoga or perhaps arising from some other activity, then taking a break is definitely beneficial.

What you can choose to do while you are recovering is to some type of activity outdoors for a change. You can try some swimming or brisk walking or running.


Taking a break from yoga doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to fill that time with some other activity.

While lots of people who like to stay busy will choose to do something tangible, you can also choose to use this time to rest simply.

Your connective tissues, joints, and muscles will definitely thank you for that rest and relaxation.

Alternatively, you can choose to lazily lay on your couch and binge-watch your favorite TV show.

Deepening your yoga experience

Just because you’re not doing any yoga poses doesn’t mean that you can’t use this time to focus more on yoga philosophy.

You can take advantage of this time to explore new breathing techniques and mantras and ultimately give yourself a deeper understanding of why you are practicing yoga.


Yoga should never be a chore, but it should always a pleasure to attend your yoga classes.

Therefore, taking a break from this activity will make you feel more in love with the art form.

The good news is that irrespective of how many little breaks you choose to take, your yoga classes are always there for you to resume and get back into the swing of things.

How should you feel after yoga?    

Woman Laying On Yoga Mat

If you’re contemplating going to your first yoga class, there are some things that you need to know about it.

You need an idea of exactly how you’re going to feel during and after your first yoga class, as well.

Here are five possible symptoms that you may experience after attending your first yoga class and how to deal with them:

Feel every muscle

You are differently going to feel every muscle and even the ones you didn’t even know you had.

The entire body works together to align your movements and bring you into focus.

Modern-day life includes mostly walking and sitting, however more sitting than walking. Not much demand is placed on your range of movement.

So when you do yoga, your body is slowly controlled and moved in different directions.

When done properly, it has a wealth of health benefits and will shift your sense of well-being; however, in order to experience the full benefits of this, you need to do yoga regularly.

So practice regularly and don’t push yourself too hard, and ultimately, something that every new yoga practitioner needs to know is that you should not compete with anyone because your experience of yoga should be 100% unique to who you are.

Feeling weak

Woman Looking Tired

Lots of people may feel weak or rigid after a yoga class.

Ultimately this is because the practice does place a lot of stress on certain muscle groups in the body and it will need time to adjust to it.

The specific way of breathing is used in yoga, and this helps to align your body in a healthy way.

However, complex postures should not be attempted in the beginning and should gradually be attempted over a period of time.

You are actually supposed to feel challenged after your first class. In fact, you should feel challenged in each and every yoga class you attend.

Ultimately, you will need to leave your comfort zone, and the only way for you to do this is for you to push yourself a little bit further each and every time.

So just remember to be patient, practice diligently, and take cues from the teacher as well.

You may be in awe of the yoga practice

Lots of people are struck by the depth of their yoga classes.

This is completely normal, and since yoga combines physical exercise with breath and mentality, ultimately, it is a full-body and mind experience.

Ultimately practiced correctly, it triggers the nervous system in various ways and happy you relax.

Ultimately, your yoga experience should be a complete release that is deep and overflowing.

So simply let yourself go and allow yourself to be immersed in the entire experience

You could feel happy or frustrated

Woman Smiling After Yoga Class

While some people may be frustrated and want to yell at everyone around them, others are left with a feeling of warmness and simply want to hug those around them.

This depends on your emotional state, and lots of people can feel excited and energetic or vulnerable.

So what you can try to do is take a seat, feel your emotions, and breathe.

Ultimately what you’re feeling will pass and what’s going and what’s going on inside of you will be revealed.

So take as much time as you need and make it a healthy habit to connect with yourself on a regular basis.

Feeling of closeness to strangers

Lots of new yogis feel awkwardly close to the people in their yoga classes.

This is irrespective of the fact that they are complete strangers.

Since yoga is about creating and encouraging a deeper, more loving relationship with ourselves, it’s also about uniting people together.

An interesting fact is that the word “yoga” actually means unite.

So ultimately, when you’re practicing together in a room full of strangers, you start to take note of how uniquely beautiful and worth it, the experience is.

So what you can do is to give yourself the gift of being present and smile at those around you.

How to get rid of post-yoga sores?

One of the reasons why people love yoga is because it makes you feel supple, in the long run, that is.

As with any exercise, you need to push past the familiar limits, and this pushing through usually leads to soreness and tight muscles.

However, this should not scare you off because if you are sore during your yoga workout, it is a symptom of Doms.

DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness)

Yoga may be a gentler form of exercise; however, it is still working out your muscle groups, and therefore, these changes in your muscles will lead to soreness.

Ultimately, it is believed that you suffer muscle soreness when there are tears in your muscle tissue, inflammation, or some type of spasm imbalance.

At the end of the day, it’s actually the body’s way of rebuilding or repairing itself.

These symptoms are usually experienced 12 to 72 hours after a yoga workout and usually subsides after the third day.

So what can you do to treat yoga soreness:

  • Do more yoga: this is probably one of the hardest things to think about when your muscles are still stiff and sore from your yoga class. However, following up the next day by doing a gentler class or just 15 minutes of stretching at home may help to reduce the stiffness and give your muscles a chance to heal.
  • Home care: One of the best things for sore muscles is ice packs. While yoga does not endorse medication or drugs, there’s nothing wrong with taking an anti-inflammatory drug to ease your aching muscles.
  • Water: Drinking water not only helps to rehydrate you but also flushes out the waste that irritates nerve endings. This can also help to speed up your recovery.
  • Warm-up: During gentle stretches and movements to warm up, your muscles can reduce symptoms of muscle pain. Your classes are usually started off slowly; however, they are overzealous yoga instructors that may want to speed things up immediately. So it’s always best to do your own warm-ups before your yoga classes.

Muscles that are “attacked” the most during yoga sessions

Woman Stretching

Everybody knows that yoga is one of the most powerful ways to relax out there.

However, not everyone knows that you can actually physically transform your body.

Yoga has the potential to develop muscle tone and flexibility as well as increase the fat loss in your body.

If you are looking for flexibility and balance, then even the most gentle forms of yoga will help to do the trick.

In most cases, it helps to build muscle strength and endurance. However, some types of yoga can also encourage cardio fitness.

When it comes to the muscle groups that yoga works out, it’s hard to say because yoga works out every single muscle group in your body.

And this depends on the types of yoga poses you are doing. Ultimately, it is supposed to work out every muscle group.

Certain types of yoga such as Hatha yoga will work out your abs, chest, and core.

For fat loss and muscle tone, Ashtanga yoga or hot yoga is recommended.

Related Questions

Is soreness after yoga normal?

Yes, it is completely normal and should be expected as you are working out your muscles.

What can you do to deal with muscle soreness after yoga?

You can try to perform gentler exercises the next day or two, or you can rest and take some anti-inflammatory medication to ease muscle inflammation.

Will muscle soreness stop the longer I practice yoga?

It will eventually get easier and muscle soreness will be completely manageable, however, soreness to a certain degree is an indication that you are doing things right.

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