June 4, 2024 by Guest Blogger

Do you feel like you pushed yourself hard in yoga class? Don’t worry, you are not alone. That achy, tight, almost painful sensation is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). It is totally normal after challenging your muscles in new ways. But what exactly is happening in your body? And what can you do to recover faster? This article seeks answers to the science behind yoga soreness and gives you the tips you need to feel better and get back on the mat. Let’s find out!

Factors Contributing to Post-Yoga Soreness 

Post-yoga soreness can be caused by various factors, and understanding them is key to managing and minimizing the discomfort. Here are some common contributors:

  • Intensity of the practice: More challenging poses, longer holds, and higher reps can overstress muscles.
  • Lack of warm-up: Jumping into strenuous yoga without properly preparing the body increases strain.
  • New movements: Introducing unfamiliar poses or styles works muscles in unaccustomed ways.
  • Poor form: Improper alignment or depth in poses can overload certain muscle groups.
  • Clothing issues: Restrictive or ill-fitting attire instead of comfortable yoga outfits can limit the range of motion and cause chafing, adding to soreness.
  • Dehydration: Not replenishing fluids during or after practice hinders muscle recovery.

How to Prevent Soreness After Yoga Class?

Preventing soreness after a yoga class is all about preparing your body properly and taking care of it during and after the practice. You can do so through:

  • Warm up: Spend 5-10 minutes doing gentle movements to increase blood flow and lubricate joints.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink water before, during, and after class to prevent muscle fatigue and cramping.
  • Listen to your body: Modify poses as needed, and don’t push too hard, especially with new movements.
  • Use props: Blocks, straps, and blankets can help you maintain proper alignment and avoid overexertion.
  • Cool down: Allow 5-10 minutes after class to slowly bring your heart rate down and stretch.

How to Cope with Soreness After Yoga?

Here are some tips you can use to cope with soreness after yoga:


Catching quality sleep is crucial for recovery after a tough yoga session. During sleep, your body can dedicate more resources to repairing and rebuilding the microtears in your worked muscles. Aim for 7-9 hours per night, and if soreness persists, a restorative nap can accelerate the healing process by allowing your body extended rest. Proper sleep optimizes muscle recovery, so you’re back in action faster.

Take Things Slow

When battling post-yoga soreness, resist the urge to power through. Instead, scale back intensity and frequency temporarily. Substitute gentler practices for vigorous classes and limit sessions to 3-4 times per week initially. This allows ample rest days for your muscles to recuperate. Gradually increase difficulty and duration as the discomfort subsides. Pushing too hard too soon prolongs soreness by denying your body the recovery it craves.

Hydrate Before and After Yoga

Proper hydration is key for minimizing muscle soreness. Approximately an hour pre-class, consume 1-2 glasses of water to prep your body, avoiding fluids in the final 30 minutes. Post-practice, rehydrate with another 2 glasses. This helps flush out metabolic byproducts and toxins released during yoga that can exacerbate soreness. Staying hydrated optimizes muscle function and aids recovery.

Alternate Ice and Heat

For troublesome soreness, alternating ice and heat can provide relief. Apply a heating pad or warm compress to loosen tight muscles and increase blood flow, promoting healing. Then, use an ice pack to reduce inflammation and dull pain in the affected areas. Some find ice exacerbates soreness initially, so stick to heat if that’s the case. Otherwise, rotate between hot and cold therapies in 5-minute intervals to maximize the benefits of each.

Stretch It Out

When dealing with mild post-yoga soreness, gentle stretching can provide relief. However, avoid aggressive stretching on cold, tight muscles – this may cause further strain. Instead, warm up first with some light movement like walking to increase blood flow. Then, ease into stretches, focusing on the affected areas. This helps lengthen and relax tense muscles, reducing stiffness and discomfort. Listen to your body and stretch gently within your limits.

Have a Massage

When muscles are screaming from an intense yoga session, treating yourself to a massage can provide sweet relief. The therapeutic kneading and pressure help pump fresh blood to tense, sore areas, flush out inflammation, and promote healing. Massage also manually releases built-up lactic acid and other byproducts, causing discomfort. Emerge from your massage feeling renewed, with improved mobility and reduced soreness.

What to Eat After Yoga to Speed Healing and Recovery?

Here are some of the nutrients you should take to speed up your recovery and heal:


Fuel those worked muscles with lean protein to kick-start the recovery process. Excellent choices include Greek yogurt, eggs, nuts, and nut butters or a protein-packed smoothie.


Replenish depleted glycogen stores with complex carbs like whole grains, providing sustained energy. Or opt for simple carbs from fruits and veggies for a quick boost and rehydration.

Healthy Fats

Don’t skip the healthy fats after your yoga session. Omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish, flaxseeds, and algae pack anti-inflammatory power to ease muscle soreness while also promoting muscle protein synthesis.

Timing of Your Post-Yoga Meal or Snack

While what you eat matters, timing is equally important after yoga. Aim to refuel within 45 minutes for optimal nutrient absorption and replenishment of glycogen and protein stores. Delaying your post-workout meal by just two hours can slash glycogen synthesis by 50%.


Post-yoga soreness is unavoidable, but being proactive with your recovery can minimize discomfort and get you back on the mat faster. Through hydrating, fueling with the right nutrients, and employing techniques like massage and stretching, you will bounce back strong for your next yoga session.

Written by Isabella Adams