Nowadays, there is definitely a shift to shorter exercise sessions and yoga classes. It’s a sign of the times, with popular HIIT based 30 min sessions being the norm; we've programmed to 30 minute TV shows and 2 minute Pop songs!
Some studios now offer 45 and 30 min yoga sessions because the bottom line is: people have less time and are trying to fit more and more into their day. Marketing people also come up with an idea, add the science, i.e. you can get an effective workout in 30 mins! and then hey presto, 30 minute classes become popular – all adds up to busy people, busy bodies, busy minds – stress!
Jules frozen cartwheel
We do think this works really well for a lot of people, especially if they are a seasoned gym goer and know their bodies, the moves and have a solid foundation. Also, 30 mins of yoga everyday is better than no yoga at all, and indeed, my sister does 30 mins of yoga in the morning regulary, because it keeps her back healthy. She does not always have time for a full hour and very rarely gets to go to an organised yoga class, so ‘youtube’ and her mat are a daily occurrence and it works for her great.
One hot weekend 2
So why would we bother with a 90 minute practice?? Well for starters, it’s the original ‘hot yoga sequence’, 90 minutes to perform 26 postures twice through. It takes a full 90 minutes to get through all the postures, which work every muscle, ligament and tendon in the body! There is nothing left or untouched and if you’ve done a HOT 26 or HOT FG 90 recently, when you leave the class, you know this to be true!
Stretch and restore
But more importantly for us, it’s that extra 30 minutes that really works on your concentration, stamina, endurance and allows you to access what we call, the ‘bliss point’ – an opportunity to experience the bliss of stillness at your core because sometimes it’s only when you function at the outer edge of your comfort zone do you experience the greatest sense of flow. Going to your edge, that tipping point, is often where you have the break-throughs (not only in Yoga, but life), the moments where our body talks to us directly, giving immediate feedback and we have to control it, adapt, use our breath, not pushing too far, staying at the edge.
I used to say that sometimes it takes 90 minutes to get all the garbage out of my head, to quiet the mind and find the stillness, 1 hour just does not cut it – and that is probably the case for a lot of people: the busier the mind, the more time you need to get it quiet – to sort through all the stuff and find peace; a longer run, an outdoor swim, a longer yoga class, a weekend in the hills – whatever it takes.
In the hot room we are manipulating basic essentials to life: oxygen, humidity, and temperature. We have to adapt to this new environment, so that we start to tap into everything, from the intellectual (this is far too hot, are you serious?) to the emotional (I need to get out of here now) and the physiological (expansion and contraction of muscles, blood flow, heart rate, lungs, sweat and more). We then access the cellular level (tissues, ligaments, fat) and finally intracellular (what’s inside the cells – the good or bad). Yep, there’s a lot going on in a yoga class, we are not just moving our bodies, we are going 'deep' within, and a 90 min class allows us to go deeper; the internal struggle gives way to the possibility of refinement and change – physically and mentally.
Felicity standing head to knee
When you enter the room for a 90 minute class, it’s a commitment to yourself. It's a challenge, an opportunity to face a few fears, weaknesses, and to take them on, so that by the end of class, you feel you’ve achieved a lot, whether you sat down, or lay down for some of the class, you came, you stayed, you moved, you breathed. A given result: you’ll be stronger for it.
We love a good 60 minute class if that's all that time allows; it’s like maintenance, a good stretch, a weekly tweak and touch-up, but the 90 minute is where the magic lies! As the founder of the Hot Yoga sequence, Bikram Choudhury, states, the 90 min sequence is devised 'to find the brightest light shining from within'. When was the last time you did a 90?