I am one of the lucky few. I work at studios that are passionate about the 90-minute version of the Bikram Series. I know it’s on-trend to offer the 60-minute class and I know what I have to say here might not be popular, but I’m going to say it anyway.
I’ve taken versions of the 60-minute class and left the studio underwhelmed and a bit keyed up instead of mellowed out and centered. I truly understand why the 60-minute class is attractive to some people and I respect their reasons for taking the class. I also am happy that you are attending the class and you are practicing yoga. All yoga is good yoga. But….
You are missing something if you are only hitting the 60-minute at your studio and never get to the 90-minute class. Or, as I have been told happens at studios that offer the 60-minute, you leave the 90-minute class at the 60-minute mark because that’s all you feel is necessary for you.
Please don’t get me wrong. I would take the 60-minute class if I had taught 2 classes and that was my only opportunity to get my practice in that day. I would take the 60-minute class if I was out of town and that was the only class I could get to that day or the only class that a studio near me offered. I am not saying you should not take the 60-minute (or 70-minute, or 45-minute, or whatever your studio now offers). I’m saying that taking the shorter classes should be the exception – something you take every once in a while, instead of the only class you attend.
Practicing yoga is a discipline after all and most people head to a studio to heal, or lose weight, or get their head on straight because it offers something that they are lacking in their own life. Here are few reasons that you should hit the 90-minute class if you have the opportunity and maybe let the shorter classes take a backseat for your practice:
The 60-minute is a work out. Plain and simple. You sweat, you stretch, you move on to the next event in your life.
The 90-minute is a work in. It gives you time to breathe and concentrate on that breath. It helps you tune in to what your body and mind are telling you that day. It is a moving meditation.
The 60-minute caters to the Western mind that says there is never enough of anything, that we are always lacking instead of focusing on the abundance around us. I’ll never have enough time, I’ll never get it all done, other people have more than me.
The 90- minute calms the mind and the body to make mindful choices outside of the room that actually save you time.
The 60-minute jumps or flows from posture to posture or skips the second set making you miss the set-up or at times moves too quickly for those trying to heal from injury or come to the practice with tight shoulders and hips.
The 90-minute gives you a chance to go deeper, to improve, and to heal. You have a chance to notice what is going on with your breath, your body, and your mind.
The 60-minute is a maintenance class. You apply what you already know and quickly move on to the next posture.
The 90-minute is the real work and has the ability to change your life. The extra time on the clock gives you the time to receive correction and to work on alignment and maybe learn something new from the teacher leading the class.
The 60-minute doesn’t allow you the time to do everything twice or for the postures to be held as long, therefore, if you want the full benefit of a regular Bikram practice you would have to take almost two classes. Hmmm….
The 90-minute actually is then saving you time.
As one of my students stated last week, “I’m worth 90-minutes.” You are also worth 90-minutes. What does that extra half hour away from the hot room actually give you? I understand that everyone has a different life and different commitments and maybe you cannot see for the life of you how you would be able to commit to 90-minutes of yoga practice a few times a week. I simply hope that maybe you see that there is more to be gained from taking that extra space for yourself. That you can lean in and slow down and realize that the practice in its original form of 90-minutes was not designed to take anything away from you – including time – but to give you something you will truly treasure in the long run.
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