Bikram Teacher Training Fall 2010

A Yogini's Journey to Become a Bikram Yoga Teacher...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Timing Your Yoga Class.

It's been a month since I taught my first Bikram yoga class. I teach this afternoon at 4pm, and it will be my 13th class.

Not bad at all for someone who works full time and only teaches in their spare time!

Classes are going well. No one's left the room yet. I remember enough of the dialogue to get the students through the postures correctly. In fact, I have had a few students come up to me after class to tell me they appreciate how well I enunciate the words. It helps them understand a little more about what exactly it is they should be doing in the posture.


My first class was two minutes short. Every class since then has gone over by about 5 minutes, usually because we start 5 minutes late. So my timing is pretty good. But while there were many useful things learned at training, one of the things we got absolutely 100 percent no guidance on whatsoever (until the very last night of training when we screamed out, "What about timing?") was how to time your class so you don't go over.

Here is the reality: If you say every single word in the dialogue for both sets and both sides of every posture PLUS give your students exactly a 2-minute Savasana and 20-second Savasanas in between each posture in the floor series... YOU WILL GO OVER.

Not by a little. But by a LOT.

Some people didn't realize this. Actually, none of us did. And those people who were superstars with the dialogue and are intent on saying is 100% verbatim soon learn this.

I'm not saying that the dialogue isn't important. You bet your perfect Standing Bow pose it is! BUT, saying it verbatim every single time is not.

My advice to trainees in the future is:
  • Learn the dialogue.
  • Know which parts of each posture are 100% crucial for students to be able to execute correctly.
  • Don't stress (when you are teaching) over missing small words here and there.
  • Pay attention to students and how they marry their actions to the words. When you say "100% body weight in the heels," are they rolling their weight back into their heels?
  • Always keep studying the dialogue.
  • Wear a watch when teaching! Check in with it! This keeps you on track.
  • Cut postures short if you have to. Don't ever cut Savasanas. You could get your ass kicked by students.
Hopefully this helps.


  1. Hehe. Yeah, I too could write a LOT about this, but it's also one of those things that you figure out through trial and error. It took me a couple weeks to get my class down to 90 minutes in the beginning. (Of course, now my tendency is to run FAST - overcompensating!)

    If I could go back and tell myself ONE thing before I taught my first class, it would be that you don't always have to say the ENTIRE set-up EVERY time. Here are the two miracle words: "Same Position." As in, "grab your left foot behind you, same position." This is what saves you from going through the whole "bring your right hand out, palm facing up, elbow touching the body... bring your hand to the right... don't turn your hand..." for EVERY single set of standing bow. Unless there are lots of beginners, people will basically have the right idea by the 4th time!

    For the uber dialogue nerds, it is very instructive to look at the 2nd set dialogues (when given) and see how condensed the set-ups are.

    I have never taught a class without my red Swatch. 200+ classes and counting...

  2. Amen! "same position" are golden words!!!!

  3. Thats a good one that i sure other places have same probs...I think a good idea which i have yet to suggest to the studio...Is at the end when u finish is telling the class what the time is so if they have to be somewhere etc they at least know time??? thats very interesting to know that if u did all dialogue u would go over!!! then y invent it then for a 90min class? hmmmmmm thanks for still blogging:)

  4. It's been a while since I checked in but, reading your blog, you completely nailed my own experience!!! Down to the point of getting comments about being so clear with the instructions....doesn't help though when you go over ;-) Now all I try to focus on is to stay on time!!!

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