Group classes for yoga are totally wonderful. It is the core of what I offer at Pride Yoga; an inclusive, fun environment for all my students to come and practice with detailed instruction and dialogue, with the unrivalled energy that only sharing a class with like-minded people can deliver.
Everyone is in class for a different reason; but sometimes group classes aren't for every student. Maybe there is an old injury, or a specific goal the student has.
As a Teacher, I sometimes recommend Private Tuition for students who I feel would benefit from dedicated attention or I’m approached by a student.
Private Tuition is an investment financially, but the gains can be huge. I think it is a similar approach to working with a Sports Masseuse or a Personal Trainer, getting some expert assistance to get the best results for yourself and increase your knowledge as well as physical condition.
Here’s why I think Private Tuition is a great resource for all students, old or new.
Confidence boosting & myth busting
This is probably one of the most valuable areas where Private Tuitions can help. Addressing misconceptions, boosting confidence, providing reassurance.
Providing a bit of insight into the deeper aspects of Yoga around the purpose, the battle between mind and body, the thoughts and sensations that can and do occur during class.
If I had £1 for every time someone said “I can’t do yoga, I’m not bendy”, “I’m really bad at yoga”, “I’m a guy, I can’t do yoga” or “I couldn’t do any of the poses, it’s too hard” I would be really rich!
Firstly, if you’ve never done Yoga before, chances are there are going to be areas that are tough. Flexibility and balance are key ones. Do you think Lewis Hamilton got in a race car as a child and drove like a F1 World Champion? Absolutely not. The key? Keeping the practice up. Coming once, finding it hard and giving up isn’t going to help you progress. Practice makes perfect.
Secondly… there is no such thing as “bad” and “good” at Yoga. I’ve touched on this before in my Beginner’s Guide on your first class. It’s ego, and totally not what Yoga is about. Progess comes with time, you’ve got to let go of the notion of good and bad. Don’t beat yourself up because someone else is doing something you can’t. Just roll with it and do you, on your Yoga Journey doing your practice.
p.s... no one is watching you :P
Am I doing this right?!?
Sorry to say but yoga is not an easy discipline to practice. The longer you practice, the challenge remains. Yoga is always going to be a challenge; with nerves around not knowing what to expect, having to move your body in ways that it may have never moved before, feeling like you’re unsure what the pose should feel like.
Some students can feel really overwhelmed in a group class, especially when injuries are brought in to the mix. This even applies to advanced students. I’m an example – in a Teacher Training Class on Headstands I got massive “Inversion Fear.” I got claustrophobic walking my feet in towards my head and had a little freak out. It’s normal!
Some Yoga poses can cause discomfort. Of course, if you’ve got your forehead sandwiched on your knee in Pyramid Pose it isn’t going to be comfortable. Sometimes, theses sensations can be interpreted as pain, when it is potentially muscles switching on and being used for the first time. It can be really disconcerting, especially when you know you have an active injury. Sensations should never be sharp or electrical in nature, but discomfort is 100% part of the practice.
Looking at key poses in this situation is always really helpful in a Posture Workshop style session. I like to focus on fundamental poses here asking the student to perform each pose. Then we’d look at the required alignment and use tools to get the body into the correct alignment removing the fear factor and improving form.
If you came to me and said “Jade, I want to be able to do a headstand” or “I want to get stronger in my core” or “I can’t get to class, can you teach me on a Saturday?” I’d be able to help you. It’s all about you and your personal goals, concerns and practice.
If you want to develop a home practice, this is also a great setting to run through a personalised sequence targeting your specific goals. Which you can then practice knowing exactly what you are doing.
Happier students who have heath concerns
As I’ve touched on, injuries can be a real issue for some students. Maybe a student becomes pregnant, develops diabetes or blood pressure concerns which all require specific alterations. In a group class, it is challenging for the teacher to amend up to 50 postures on the fly for someone with a very specific injury, ensuring they are practicing safely which means that a group class might not be a viable option straight away.
This is where Private Tuition is excellent as a resource. Attention can be 100% devoted on working through poses, trialling modifications and teaching alternatives. With these amends to their practice, they can often feel a lot more comfortable going back to a group class.
Going deeper into practice
Even advanced practitioners can benefit from working with a teacher on their own practice. Personally, I love to practice with my teacher friends as they can see what my body is doing… I can’t. Also, some of them are so talented in specific areas like inversions and I feel their knowledge of how to perform advanced poses helps my practice and that of my students.
As practice deepens and students fall for Yoga, a lot of the time you want to broaden your practice out and do other types of Yoga like Vinyasa or Ashtanga, or work in to inversion poses. Working in a private setting can allow you to try all the options out, in a safe setting.
So, that's my thoughts on why Private Tuition is such a great resource in any Yogi's practice.
Any thoughts? Let me know!