Love you long time
In praise of long classes. By Paula Hines
I miss long yoga classes.
When I say long classes, I mean 90 minutes. When I first began attending yoga classes, 90 minutes was the norm. Back then I was only able to make it to class once a week and I would roll my mat out at home on other days. At a period in my life when everything else seemed so hectic, I rejoiced in that time.
More recently, I was very fortunate to be able to experience being a student in daily two-hour yoga classes for a whole week and it occurred to me that nowadays this is more likely to be the length of a workshop than a drop-in class. This recent experience as a student also reminded me that the last time I taught a weekly 90 minute class was back in 2013 and I realised just how much I miss that.
Fast forward to now, and I feel very lucky to be able to teach 75 minute classes regularly, but I notice that in general, the length for most yoga classes in studios and gyms at least, seems to be 60 minutes or even 45 minutes. Once upon a time (not all that long ago!) 60 minutes on the schedule would often be described as an ‘express class’.
This is not to say that 90 minute classes do not exist on any studio schedules anywhere.
They do. It is just that over the past several years as yoga’s popularity has skyrocketed, they seem to be less common.
I remember overhearing a woman last year saying, “I just can’t take that much time out of a day for a yoga class. I just want to get in and out quickly.”
I think that sums it up in a way. Nowadays we don’t have time. We are too busy. We have shorter attention spans too. Yet, we still want our yoga ‘fix’. It is true that a little bit of yoga practiced consistently is better than occasional longer sessions, but increasingly, those ‘bite size ’sessions are becoming occasional too.
In a recent workshop I taught there were just five poses over 90 minutes and then the rest of the session was a long yoga nidra. It was so wonderful to be unhurried. To have that space. To really take that time. I can’t help thinking how beneficial it could be if more of us felt able to allow ourselves that time more often.
Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher and writer (ucanyoga.co.uk)