Perhaps the concept of private yoga lessons is foreign to you. You may wonder, “Why would I take a private yoga lesson in Oakland when there are a dozen yoga studios in every neighborhood that offer public classes?” This article will help you understand how you might benefit from private yoga lessons, and what questions it would behoove you to ask before signing up.
1. What are the possibilities? Private yoga lessons are unique in that there are so many possibilities and so many levels of potential that are open for exploration. If you are brand new to yoga, these sessions are a great way to walk through some of the basic yoga poses at your own pace and make sure that each pose feels good in YOUR body! Triangle pose can look completely different and feel completely different to two different people, yet they can both be in optimum alignment for their own body. If you are in your intermediate explorations, you may have noticed yoga offers more than just physical benefits. A good private yoga teacher can weave in a bit of philosophy to your asana (physical practice) such that yoga becomes a tool for dealing with stress, coping with change, and even as a vehicle for deep personal transformation. And if that is too “woo-woo” for you, a private yoga lesson can be strictly bio-mechanically focused, providing you with the information and the practice time to nail down your perfect alignment for any pose in which you are interested.
2. Of those possibilities, what are you interested in? Everyone has different goals when it comes to deepening their yoga practice. What is honestly most important to you? Would you mostly value practicing in a distraction-free environment with focused personal attention? Have you been trying for a long time to nail one or two challenging poses and just need some evaluation of your form and detailed instruction on how to improve your balance and alignment so you can more easily get into that pose? Are you more interested in working with a private yoga teacher in Oakland to develop a sequence that you can practice for one or more weeks at home? Or maybe your wrists or shoulders scream out in pain every time you chaturanga and you want some help in lessening that issue?
3. What is your private yoga teacher’s experience and philosophy? There are many amazing yoga teacher training programs to choose from, and as such, you may find yoga teachers will differ quite a bit in their style and in their methods. Find out where your Oakland private yoga teacher did their training, and what teachers they are inspired by. There’s not really a right or a wrong answer, but for the best private yoga lesson experience, you will probably feel more comfortable learning from someone who resonates well with you. Also check-out their background in the non-yoga realm. Chiropractors and physical therapists who teach private yoga lessons, come to the mat with an in-depth understanding of anatomy and biomechanics that they weave into their teaching to provide the safest physical experience for you. They know what is healthy for the joints, and are already familiar with the musculoskeletal issues that you may be working with.
4. How can I make the most of the lesson? Arrive with a written list of your questions, goals, and poses you want to focus on. This will help your private yoga teacher make the most of your time together and will keep the session on track. Keep an open mind. You may be taught a different alignment for a particular pose than what you were used to. See how it works for you, and communicate with your instructor about what your body is telling you. In yoga, there are no correct answers, it’s up to you to honor your body, integrate everything you’ve been taught, filter out what doesn’t serve you, and then keep learning from there. Many yoga teachers will give you a handout or some notes about what you practiced during that session, designed to be a guide for what to practice at home. As soon as you hop in your car or have a chance to sit down, look over the handout, and make yourself a few notes. Writing down notes directly after a lesson will help you solidify the material better than if you don’t look at it until the next day.
5. Am I willing to do my homework? Can you make the commitment to practice what you learned in the first session before your next private yoga lesson? Some people like to practice everyday, but find a consistent schedule that works for you and stick with it. Doing your homework means making notes about parts of a sequence that you found confusing, particular alignment points that you are unsure of or feel “weird” once you practice at home, and writing down goals or curiosities to fuel your next lesson. This is an important question to be honest about. If you aren’t able or interested in practicing at home, you may be better served by scheduling a series of more frequent private lessons so that you maintain momentum and are able to practice what you learned under the guidance of your teacher. Your honest answer to this question is vital in crafting the plan that best serves your yoga practice goals.
If you have any yoga related questions or if you would like to schedule a private yoga lesson in Oakland, please call us at (510) 465-2342.
Dr. Sandy Baird
*Namaste is a traditional yoga closing word that roughly translates to “the light in me honors the light in you”