Considering a private yoga lesson?

In ancient times, students of yoga worked one-on-one with their guru.  In modern times, however, many yogis seek out group classes for the fun, community appeal and the less expensive price tag.

But what if you’ve never practiced yoga before and are nervous about starting something new in a roomful of strangers?  What if you have an injury and are trying to get back into shape, or gradually return to your prior level of activity?  Or, what if you are an experienced yogini and want to take your practice to the next level?

These are all good reasons to take a private yoga lesson.

Working one-on-one with a yoga instructor will reduce the stress and feelings of intimidation associated with entering a group yoga class for the first time.  It will provide you with a good foundation so that you can comfortably practice in a community setting. 

A private lesson will allow you to discuss sensitive health concerns or issues with your instructor, who will then suggest adaptations for poses (or asanas), or modifications using props.  Your teacher will even make recommendations for postures that you should avoid so as not to aggravate your condition or injury.

Perhaps you have a specific goal you’d like to work toward:  stronger abdominal muscles, more open shoulders or hips, or looser hamstring muscles.  In a private session, your instructor will be able tailor specific practices to meet your goals.  Who knows?  He may even assign “homework.”

If you’ve been practicing yoga for some time, and think you may be ready to move up to more challenging classes or poses, a private yoga lesson can help you with that process as well.  The instructor will evaluate what you can do, and work from there; it will be a whole body evaluation, looking at your range of motion and taking into account your anatomy, alignment challenges, and the like.  The safe environment of a one-on-one lesson will then enable the teacher to offer more options for the individual student in a class situation because she will know the student and his practice.

If you are unsure with whom you should take a private lesson, ask the studio staff; they can match you to a teacher who will meet your needs.  If there is a specific teacher you’d like to work with, ask if that person gives private lessons – there is a very good chance he does. 

To get the most out of your private lesson experience, talk with your teacher about your goals and ask lots of questions.  It is helpful to know before going into it that a private lesson will have a much different pace and intensity than a group yoga class.

Be sure to be well-hydrated before your lesson, but not too hydrated.  Take care to empty your bladder beforehand, and avoid eating at least two hours before the lesson.

If at all possible, leave distractions such as cell phones and pagers at home or turn the ringers off so that you can focus on the lesson, and be present in the moment.  And, most importantly, don’t forget to breathe.

A private yoga lesson can be a great investment in your personal growth and health.  A package of private lessons can be more effective than one session on its own, as you will be able to build off of the previous session.  You may choose to book private sessions separately, or in combination with group classes.  Not only will a good teacher make recommendations about poses, but she will also suggest specific teachers, styles of yoga, and timing for your practice, so be sure to share what has or has not worked for you in the past.

Finally, personal instruction allows for a deeper understanding of your yoga practice. When you work with a teacher one-on-one, the teacher is able to help you experience the benefits of yoga in a safer, personalized way.  Feel free to call, email, or stop in at Goorus to learn more, or to book your private lesson.

Gretchen Lightfoot

A Yoga Alliance RYT-500, Gretchen trained with Carmen Fitzgibbon, Thomas Taubman, and Gigi Snyder of YogaWorks in Los Angeles. Gretchen’s teaching experience includes YogaWorks, Neutrogena, Fancy Feet Dance Studio, the Palisades Library, the Palisades Rec Center, and one-on-one work with a number of private clients throughout LA.

Gretchen’s classes vary in style. Her weekday morning classes run from a balanced, all-level flow to a chilled-out yin practice, to an Iyengar-style wall practice. Sunday morning flow tends to be a little more energetic (expect music). Regardless of the style, Gretchen encourages practitioners to listen to their bodies and modify where needed.