On the start of this new year, I'd like to take a moment to discuss time. Class time, to be more precise. Instructor starting, conducting, and ending class in a timely fashion to be exact. I've noticed a somewhat disturbing trend in the classes I've been attending of late (as a student), that they go over the allotted time, which as a student/instructor, is a HUGE peeve of mine.
It is a student's responsibility to arrive in a timely fashion; to change, make last bathroom run, get water, set out mat and be ready for the class to begin. I will be the first to acknowledge that life does get in the way sometimes - a last minute phone call at work, traffic, family, whatever. And various studios handle tardiness in different ways from locking the door to late-comers to letting someone slip in no matter how tardy.
However, it is solely the instructors responsibility to not only start class on time, but to end in the same. Not 5 or 10 minutes after. You are doing your students a huge disfavor by only giving them a 1 minute or less savasana or deep relaxation. You are doing your students a huge disfavor by squeezing in "just one more" warrior II/reverse warrior/extended side angle vinyasa flow sequence when, in fact, you should be in "cool down" mode - should have been in cool down mode 10 minutes ago. Nobody likes being told to go to the floor for deep relaxation with heart thudding away.
So let's work through this backwards. Class is one hour. For example purposes let's use a 12pm class. And we'll keep things to full minutes for this example. I'm also assuming a vinyasa flow class, but the same principles apply for any class.
Class Ends at 1pm.
You will need 1 minute to move people into stillness, and 1 minute to take them out. This leaves 3 minutes for deep relaxation. IF you can do a full 5 minute savasana, or more, fantastic! By all means incorporate that, as long as you end on time and your clients can be walking out the door on the hour (or hour and a half mark).
12:55pm - People should be on their backs, moving into deep relaxation.
Start facilitating a cool down of some sort - moving from standing to the floor. If boat is in the sequence, start with boat and move toward the calmer poses. You can reasonably do about three poses, left side/right side, in 10 minutes.
12:45 - Move toward floor stretches and poses that will slow the heart rate down. Try not to continue to do poses that keep heart rate elevated. This is a great opportunity for a balance pose, hip openers, seated forward folds, bound angle, twists, cat/cow, etc. A good use of less poses held longer.
12:15-12:45pm Your sequence of choice for the day.
12:05-12:15pm Your warm-ups of choice.
12:00-12:05pm Greeting, grounding and centering.
So, flipping that around, and using a basic class as an example - keeping in mind here, we are focusing on ending. And times are approximate.
12:00-12:05p - Greeting, grounding and centering.
12:05-12:15p - Warm-ups of choice
12:15-12:45p - Sequence of choice
12:45p-12:55p - Moving toward the floor. Posterior should be in close contact with the ground shortly after 12:45p, if not full contact.
12:55p - Moving toward stillness/savasana
3 minutes of stillness/savasana
12:59p - Closing salutations, thank-yous and class is out the door!
If you need more time for closing chanting, pranayama, or a brief meditation, shorten the sequence aspect to 20 or 25 minutes.
Reminder, end of class is not the time to be making announcements. Keep those at the beginning of class. End of class people are in their own personal bliss-world, thinking ahead to next task/errand/phone call and not mentally there for further input.
So, to conclude, please be cognizant of your timing. This small courtesy can go a long way and facilitate not only a better class, but better relations between you and your students.