Why You Should Try Private Lessons If You Are New to Yoga
Updated: Jul 23, 2019
Yoga. What do a lot of people think of when they hear that word? "I have to be flexible, athletic, and enjoy kale!"
It can be extremely intimidating to try yoga when you feel like you do not have the attributes of a stereotypical yoga student, but the wonderful thing is that you do not have to fit our culture's idealized mold of yoga to practice yoga. In fact, yoga is accessible to anyone.
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Yoga can be made more intense with complex flows or can be slowed down into a restorative practice or can be aided with props to bring a pose to you. It can also not be a physical practice, but a mental practice as you use the principles for meditation and throughout your day-to-day life.
So when you feel as though you might be ready to start your own yoga practice, the idea of taking a class can be daunting. You don't know any poses (is there one about a dog?), you have never done meditation (does zoning out watching Netflix count?), and you don't know Sankrit (do I have to learn another language, too?), which can all feel like a lot to take on all at once.
Recently, I started teaching private yoga lessons to beginners at the yoga studio I teach at and I genuinely wish i had done this when I first started taking yoga lessons. Thankfully, I was taking classes at an old job and was the only student so I basically got $4 private lessons for months and that is the reason I was able to pick it up so quickly as well as why I decided to teach (thanks Danielle!).
Taking a private lesson makes the practice accessible in a relaxed environment with one person who has a deep knowledge of yoga. If you start out and go right into a yoga class with a bunch of other people who know what they are doing, it can feel like you are silly for trying to start practicing yoga, but you really aren't at all!
In my private lessons, I give my student a few minutes when we first meet to talk to me about who they are and what they are looking for from yoga. What in their life has brought them here to the yoga room with me? Are there any injuries? Any reservations? Any right out of the gate questions that they are curious about?
Once I have gotten to know the student, I try to think of what poses would be good for them to know right away based on their life style. Do they have a desk job? Make sure to say if a pose is easy to do at a desk or would be good for a sedentary job. Do they have any injuries? Make sure there are props out that can help assist a pose to be more comfortable for that injury. Do they have low confidence? Encourage them when they come into the correct alignment!
As a new student, if you hopped into a regular class you would not get that attention to detail based on your needs and lifestyle. Though the teacher would be doing a great job teaching the room, you might feel a but lost if you do have an injury or are just unfamiliar with yoga and how it can work in your daily life.
You can also ask questions on how and when to use props to fit your practice. You might need a strap for gomukasana arms at first and then after a few months of practice, your fingers might touch and you won't need the strap!
A private lesson can also build a relationship with a teacher so that you can go to their class and already have a sense of comfort by having a familiar face in the room. That teacher can also be more cognizant of having a beginner in the class and use more description to make sure you can feel confident in the practice.
All in all, a private lesson utilizes a yoga teacher's knowledge of yoga to fit a beginner's needs and make yoga more accessible with one-on-one time. A private lesson is the perfect time to ask questions while doing a pose so that you understand proper alignment and how a pose should feel. A yoga teacher knows that every body is different and will show a pose differently from one person to another.
If you are new to yoga, know that it does not have to be intimidating. Yoga is for everyone, and I always recommend that new yoga students also read Suzan Colon's book Yoga Mind to recognize that. You can check out my review of Yoga Mind in this post!
You may also be unsure of what props you will need for your practice, but look no further than this post of mine on props that I use for my home practice.
Have you tried a private yoga lesson? What did you think about it? Did you find it helpful when you went to a group yoga class?