BY: TRISHA CURLING
Finding the right yoga class and/or teacher has the potential to be a bit challenging. There are so many different types of yoga and not all of their formats will resonate with us. We all come to and stay with yoga for many different reasons. Some of us are looking for a spiritual path, some of us are purely interested in the physical and/or fitness benefits. We might also be looking to fulfill both of those aspects in our lives. Whatever the reason, there is definitely a teacher out there for you. If you are fortunate like I was, then you will find a great one like I did right away, which leads me to more great teachers that I continue to learn from. Sometimes that learning doesn’t always take place in a class setting. Seeking out a great teacher for private lessons can be the key to understanding your individual practice even more.
Don’t get me wrong. There is something to be said about being in a room full of individuals in a group class who are there breathing, moving, and flowing through a class along side of you. It is a beautiful experience that can’t really be described on paper. This too is valuable to your growth on your yoga journey. However, seeking out private yoga lessons may be exactly what you need in order to share a class experience like that to the fullest. There are many reasons why one might want to seek out a private yoga class, if you fall into the category of a “beginner” or are suffering from an injury/injuries, it might be a very wise choice to invest in this avenue.
When you are just starting out, it may be harder to feel safe in a class situation (especially if it is a very large class and you are unable to get a spot where you can clearly see the teacher. It also may not be accessible for the teacher to adjust every single person that might be feeling challenged with proper alignment. This is not the fault of the teacher, it is simply down to the conditions of the class. Paying attention to things like breathing, alignment and injury are very important. It is easy to get swept up in the yoga teacher’s cues and potentially place your body in a vulnerable position that may not be safe for you, even though it is safe for others in the class. Taking private lessons gives both you and your teacher the opportunity to examine you as an individual. It gives your teacher an opportunity to look closely at your posture, maybe do some movement tests in order to get a better understanding of your strengths and/or limitations. They can then guide you as to which postures/poses to begin with and what specific postures you should work on in order to create more balance in your body by strengthening certain areas and/or stretching or releasing tighter areas.
Some of my clients come to me with injuries or pain they have been suffering with for quite some time. They feel safer in an individual setting, rather than a group because we can again look at the areas that need work. After giving themselves some time with coming to sessions and doing follow-up work that I provide for them, they then feel more confident in a group class because they are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to execute the poses safely and confidently.
Private yoga sessions are a fantastic complement and not a replacement for group classes. They just might be the key to unlocking your yogic potential.