My Bikram Yoga studio started offering classes of different lengths recently. Some are 60 minutes, some are 75 minutes, and most are offered in the early mornings or at lunchtime, when time is tightest. I hadn’t taken one, preferring my typical 90 minute class each day. But this morning my schedule was crazy and an upcoming conference call left me little time for class. I decided it was time to try a 60 minute class.
Heading in, I was hopeful. I had bad experiences leaving class early in the past — they always left me sore and aching — so was hoping that doing the full series, albeit in a shorter timeframe, would alleviate these problems. But how would the class go? Would there be time for all the postures? Would we feel rushed? Would we sacrifice Savasna? I was about to find out.
Luckily for me, one of my favorite teachers was teaching. She warned me on the way in, “You’ll be fine, but you will need to listen carefully. No autopilot in this class or you will be out of sequence.” She said this with a smile, but it put me on alert and made me particularly mindful during class. This was a positive.
The class started with an extended breathing exercise — basically two sets in one, which was challenging for me. My shoulders hurt and I usually switch up my grip in the second set, but didn’t think to do that here. I felt a little uneven afterwards. Not a great start.
From there, the warm-up proceeded normally, followed by a typical balancing series. The pace was a bit quicker between postures, but not unlike a more fast-paced class. We only did one set of the side-facing standing postures (Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose, Triangle Pose and Standing Separate Leg Head To Knee Pose), and then faced forward for a flow of Tree Pose into Toe Stand. I felt good and was comfortable with the tradeoffs that were being made to keep to the shorter time.
We started the floor series with 15 minutes left to go. Wind Removing Pose and two of the spine strengthening postures were done once, as was Half Tortoise Pose. Camel and Rabbit were done twice but as a flow without a Savasna in between. The remaining postures were done once. It felt a bit rushed.
As we settled into Final Savasna, I did not feel the same sense of calm as I usually do at the end of class. In fact, as I walked to the showers, my heart was pounding and I was still actively sweating. My body had not had the same opportunity to bring itself back down to steady state as is possible in the more typical floor series.
Eventually my body restored itself and I felt fine for the rest of the day, so a better end result than when I have skipped out of class early. Bottom line — I would take a shortened class in a pinch, but prefer the 90 minute version for my regular practice.
Fellow yogis, would you take a 60 minute Bikram yoga class?