• You mention “designing a yoga practice to suit your individual needs and goals.” Tell me about individuals who could benefit from this — What kind specific injuries or issues do you think would benefit most from a few private sessions?
Many people would benefit from private yoga sessions. If you are new to yoga, one-on-one help can make the transition into group classes much smoother. An instructor can answer questions, introduce the poses slowly, and teach the fundamentals of breathing at your pace! If you suffer from chronic pain or other issues that might contraindicate a strong vinyasa yoga practice, then private restorative or therapeutic yoga can alleviate pain and help the body to heal, as well as calm and strengthen the mind. If you have specific joint issues, ranging from recent surgery to simple misalignment, private sessions can help with recovery and provide modifications so that you can return to group classes confidently when you are ready. If you suffer from anxiety, private yoga can create a calm and healing environment tailored to you.
• Do you have any stories, personal or otherwise, of people who have progressed faster following a private session or a series of sessions? I think weaving stories into the narrative helps people connect more with the content.
My favorite story was quite extreme but so delightful! I saw a client for two months over the summer many years ago, who was referred to me by his physical therapist and was on the verge of a hip replacement. He was uncomfortable, and a more than a bit grumpy. After the first session, he slept well, having suffered long-term insomnia, and came back in with a big smile! After two weeks we increased our sessions from three to five times a week. After a month, he went dancing for the first time in 20 years. At the end of the summer, he was a new man, with improved posture, and more energy. He even got married a couple of months later, to the surprise of many!
• Can you expound on the idea of creating a practice that combines yoga and meditation, and how/why that’s something done more easily during a private session?
Yoga was originally conceived to prepare the body for meditation, and it is much easier to meditate after doing yoga postures. Many folks like to combine yoga and meditation in a private session because both practices can be tailored to the individual, including the length and focus of the meditation session so that the practices meet the clients’ constitution, nervous system, and intentions.
• Would a private session also be good for beginners, who need a little more help and who might be embarrassed to attend a class with a room full of people?
Not everyone is comfortable walking into a yoga studio for their first class in a group setting. A few private lessons can help a new student learn the basics of the postures and the practice so that they feel confident about joining a group of seasoned practitioners. The student can ask questions and address any concerns, in particular about chronic pain or injuries. The instructor can offer background information about the practice, including breathing techniques and general intention, which may not be addressed in a group setting.
• What usually happens at someone’s first private yoga session (if it’s a one on one situation)?
In a first private yoga session, the instructor will ask about your specific needs, as well as your goals. People come to yoga for so many reasons, and in a group class, the instructor might take quite some time to know about you. With this kind of conversation at the outset, your instructor can tailor your practice to what you want to gain from practicing yoga, and you are more likely to progress toward those goals.
• Would you say that private sessions are safer, in that all your specific injuries and special needs are addressed in each pose?
Private sessions make your yoga experience safer. The instructor can address weaknesses in your alignment and teach you specific tips to improve the quality of your movement. You can also learn modifications for poses that are not appropriate for your body so that when you engage in group classes- you are prepared. Also, you can focus on strengthening where you are weaker, and stretching where you are tighter, so that you experience improvement in well-being more quickly.