The 60-Minute Bikram Class.

It's not really out there in the public eye yet... But there's a lot going on in the Bikram yoga world. I'm a member of a few of private groups on Facebook for Bikram yoga teachers. We talk about everything that is happening, from the current session of teacher training and the treatment of the students... to the newest thing that has caught my eye:

The 60-minute Bikram yoga class.



It's an abbreviated version of the class, where you do only one set of certain postures... And two sets of others. We're starting to see the international studios start to offer this type of class as a way to get more students in the door. The idea is that a 60-minute class is less intimidating for newer students, and some students just don't have time for a 90-minute class.

It's early days, but I am leaning towards not liking the idea. But I am keeping an open mind. I've even put together the Pros and Cons of the idea.

Cons (Because I like to get the negative out of the way):

  • It's a system! The flow of the class, and the order of the postures, were developed to hit every single part of your body systematically. This isn't the peaceful meditative yoga most people think of when they think about taking a yoga class. This class is designed warm up your body, increase your heart rate and provide you with some aerobic sense, stretch your spine and compress your internal organs, strengthen your spine in isolated moves, flush out your knees, push some blood into your brain for a few seconds, and then end with the deepest compression-opening-stretching-twisting of the spine. You cut that short, you're cheating your body of the full benefits.
  • Training. At teacher training, we're taught a dialogue. And that's pretty much it. You get a minimal amount of insight on posture benefits outside of the dialogue while at training. But the emphasis of our training is "Posture Clinic" where all we do is take turns reciting the dialogue. This is one of the things I very much dislike about training, as I think telling students to memorize a dialogue and they'll be ready to teach is complete and utter B.S. In the past few months, I've come across a few teachers who have both recently come out of training as well as been out of training for a number of years who SUCK at teaching. Shrill voices, no idea of how to handle the heating of the room, horrible delivery and lack of control of their words... The dialogue is a crutch. It does not a teacher make. However, it's what we're taught, with the expectation that we go out on our own and learn more about the benefits of the yoga, if we choose to teach our students that. But shortening the class by taking out repetitions of postures? I just don't think enough teachers out there are strong enough to be able to teach an effective class this short. Only very experienced teachers should attempt it.


Pros:

  • Time. I mentioned it earlier... And yes, 90 minutes of class is a lot of time to commit to. Add on top of that the 30 minutes it takes after class to get showered and meander home... And then also the 30 to 45 minutes before class that you have to travel to and get to the studio to secure a spot... When all is said and done, at a minimum, it's two and a half hours. YIKES! It's worth every minute... But the reality is that most of us don't have that kind of time.
  • Intimidation. Not going to lie... There are postures I absolutely hate with all my guts. And the thought of not having to do two of them makes me more likely to want to go to class.


I definitely want to open this up for comments from readers... What are your thoughts on a 60-minute class verses the original 90-minute class?