Is It OK To Leave Bikram Yoga Class Early?

In my morning Bikram Yoga classes a handful of people usually leave early — some after the standing series and some about 15 minutes before class ends. Hey, I get it — 90 minutes plus shower and travel time is a lot in the morning, especially if you need to be at work at a particular time. Teachers at my studio do not seem to mind — too much — and I often hear them say that some class is better than no class. But is that really true?

While out-of-town this summer I practiced at another studio where leaving early was not an option. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t remember ever seeing anyone leave early from a Bikram Yoga class at any studio other than my primary one. I know we all appreciate the flexibility to leave early on occasion, particularly in NYC where everyone has a crazy schedule, but is leaving Bikram Yoga class early a good thing to do for your body?

I am lucky enough that I am typically able to stay for the entire class, and never gave leaving early much thought, until last week when I actually needed to leave early. It was a Monday class, which is always a littler bit tough for me after a weekend away. Even so, everything during class was fine, and after Half-Tortoise, I took my Savasna, which I then extended into a Final Savasna while others were doing the first set of Camel Pose. When Camel was over, I collected my things, headed home to shower and the day went on.

But the next day, I was incredibly sore. Not your typical Bikram Yoga sore, but sore enough that I was wondering how I was going to make it to class. In particular, my legs ached, especially my quads, and my lower back. Had I worked particularly hard in class the day prior or was something else going on? I wondered if maybe skipping the end of class stretching postures like Camel, Rabbit, Head To Knee Pose and Stretching Pose, and Spine-Twisting Pose had taken their toll.

Despite the soreness, I went to the full class the next day, and the next, but I remained somewhat uncomfortable until after class on Thursday, when things finally seemed to release. Maybe I was fighting a virus, or maybe I was just tired because it was my children’s first week back to school. But, maybe it was because I left class early on Monday. I am curious if others have had the same experience.

Readers, are you more sore when you leave Bikram Yoga class early?

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