Timekeeping & Yoga Teaching

Photo By      James Fear     *

Photo By James Fear*

As a yoga student, yoga teacher and therapist I have had many thoughts and discussions on the topic of time. When this poem came to mind last week I decided to share, in order to perhaps stimulate reflection on timekeeping in the world of yoga. It is not meant to point fingers, unless at myself, as I still find myself often grappling with holding time when I teach a yoga class; wondering where the time went and how to structure the class to ensure time is used most wisely and safely.

Conversely, in the world of therapy time is a rigid boundary; it’s rigidity, ensuring that the creative, difficult and unexpected can arise within in a safe space and deep healing can occur. Though a yoga class is by no means therapy, deep work is often being done, deep healing is possible and often a teacher is susceptible to the projections of students. With this is mind, I believe yoga is a field that could benefit greatly from diligent timekeeping that is elegantly executed by teachers.


The Yoga Teacher Timekeeper

Dear yoga teacher,

Who always runs late, 

(For sure before it’s been me),

Why do your classes run over;

 5, 10, 15 or more?

Every now and then sure,

But consistently,

Like the timetable doesn’t exist?

Like the schedule I’ve got,

Which your class is just part of,

Is irrelevant,


Against your flow,

That just had to go,

A little longer,

Which meant the inversion ran over

And savasana’s later



And off you go!

When I’m changing 

I find,

That now I’m running late,

For the person I’m scheduled to meet,

Or sometimes it means

I’ve missed my train ride home.

Shoulders tense,

Rushed texts are sent,

Deep conscious breath,

Post practise thoughts,

Are pushed to the back of my mind.

If you must run late,

Then at least forewarn,

So that I can choose,

If more time is a gift

Or more stress on the stress

That in fact,

I had come to release.

I like to know,

As I dive in deep,

To my breath,

And your words,

And all that is now,

That I can relinquish,

Control on the time,

That I can trust;

That you’ve got this,

This containment,

It’s important,

It is the time of the class.


And don’t get me started

On the impact this has,

On the teacher

That follows your class.

So you’ve gone with your flow,

And your good to go,

Meanwhile they are waiting 

To calmly set up,

On time at this stage is a push.

But we do need this constant,

Parameters in place;

The teacher, the space and the time.

Within this I can fold,

I can sweat I can dream,

But I need your support,

As a student timekeeping

Is out of my hands,

For this,

As a class,

It’s invaluable to know,

That your holding the time,

Each week is consistent 

Safe space,

In which,

We are held by you.


* interestingly, this photo was taken on my wedding day by the photographer...stunning photo of a phone :)