Have you noticed that your local yoga classes are a bit too long? Everywhere you look, from local studios, exercise apps like ClassPass, and yoga instructional videos — too many of them seem to offer 75 to 90 minute classes — for most of us, this is simply way too long.
Whether or not you are a beginner, have a job, are raising a family, or simply are not up to practicing yoga for so long on a daily or semi-daily basis, many people have noticed that the length of yoga classes are seemingly geared towards the few, dedicated, yogis that have the time and will to see these classes through.
This begs the question: should most yoga classes be shorter for the common yogi? We think so.
The thing is, studies have shown that it is the intensity of yoga that makes a difference — not the length of it. Doing a few minutes a day can get someone off to a great start in yoga. Of course, as you advance and try new meditation techniques and poses, your time you set aside to practice yoga in-home or in a studio gets longer. But I have seen classes that included two-hour-long meditations — if this were a specialized class, I could understand, but this was a pretty regular class.
Don’t get me wrong — I love yoga. I love what it does to our body, our minds, and how it helps to balance and center our thoughts. However, you can have a successful and intensive yoga class that isn’t 75 or 90 minutes long. In fact, the upper timeframe I would say is reasonable for yoga would be around 60 minutes — and that’s if the instructor starts off with meditation and goes through a nice range of purposeful poses, and ends with a nice cool-down and moment of mindfulness.
Anything more and instructors are basically just taking your money. Meditation can last as long as is needed for every individual, so there is no timeframe that is too short or long for you personally. However, when it comes to the physical aspects of yoga, you would actually benefit from making your classes shorter. When busy people hit the gym or head to the yoga studio once a week (or less), they tend to over-do, thinking that they can “make up” for lost sessions — it doesn’t really work like that.
It is actually the intensity, not the amount of time spent, doing yoga that is most efficient. In fact, short bursts of intensive yoga and regular exercise on a regular basis is more beneficial than a two hour session once a week. It is maintaining and visiting one’s mindfulness, meditation, and poses often that is more important than how long.
We live in a fast paced world — we are working more than ever, have a lot of time with family taking up any free time we could have, and we have responsibilities — setting aside even a few minutes (better is a short session) on a regular basis will have you feeling more in-tune with your mind and body, and improve your physical health much more consistently and better than extremely long classes — remember: quality, not quantity.