Integrating yoga into your regular workout program is beneficial on many levels. It can help prevent injury, relax muscles, and keep you flexible. Furthermore, the benefits of reduced stress and increased oxygen levels can give you an overall sense of wellbeing that can become deliciously addictive in a good way.
However, I’ve heard many potential students who are reticent to join a group yoga class because they feel intimidated to join a large group. Many group yoga classes offered with a gym membership tend to be challenging and more fitness oriented, which can make a beginner shy away from ever trying yoga at all. Allow me to convince you that taking a few private yoga sessions will be well worth the investment and also can help you muster up the courage to participate in a group yoga class.
Yoga Asks Your Body to Take Some Unusual Positions
One of the reasons yoga works so well to help the body fight against diseases such as osteoporosis is that your bones are being twisted in unusual ways. Yoga poses put stress on the bones, causing the body to deposit more calcium and therefore, strengthens them. However, since your body is not generally accustomed to moving this way, you can also be prone to more injuries.
Going into a big yoga class with students at different levels can lead you to perform yoga poses without proper alignment. If it’s difficult to see the instructor you might be inclined to simply follow what others are doing. And if the person next to you is doing the pose incorrectly, you might also have improper form and leave yourself open to injury.
A private instructor will take the time to show you how to get into and out of every pose properly. A good hatha or Iyengar instructor will offer yoga props to assist you in the beginning until your body gets used to the poses.
Comfort in Sharing Your Personal Health History
In a group class, it can be challenging to approach the instructor with your health history. And even if you do, he or she might not be able to help you modify poses throughout the entire class. However, it is helpful for an instructor to know if you’re getting over surgery, an injury, or an illness. Just because yoga can look easy and relaxing, doesn’t mean it’s harmless.
As an instructor, I like to know if my clients are suffering from a chronic disease, have had any recent sports injuries, or even if they haven’t exercised in 10 years. I wouldn’t want to push a client into doing a pose that he or she is not ready to do. A good private instructor will be able to help you modify poses and offer alternatives until you feel you can do the poses on your own.
Boosting Your Confidence
You wouldn’t believe, as an instructor, how many times I hear in a week, “I’m just not flexible.” And, “I’m just terrible at yoga.” I’ve taught in many different venues and, while some yoga students look like professional gymnasts, most are beginners who have little idea what they’re doing. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, see the three limber 20-year-olds in headstands at that beginning of class, and lose the confidence that you mustered up to walk into the class in the first place.
First of all, if you’ve never done yoga before, chances are you aren’t that flexible. You can’t expect to walk on a tennis court for the first time and play like a pro either. Increased flexibility comes with practice. Secondly, there is no such thing as being terrible at yoga. The discipline of yoga is a journey that is between you and yourself. There is no competition in yoga, or rather there shouldn’t be.
A private instructor will be encouraging and help you understand the mechanics of the poses. Even in a few lessons you will see yourself getting more flexible and you’ll have greater confidence that you are more like Gumby than the tin man.
Honestly, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a yoga class where I really needed a certain pose and waited and waited only to be disappointed by the end. The great aspect of a private yoga session is that your instructor can tailor your class to you and your needs. If you need greater hip flexibility, you can have an entire class just focusing on the hips. Or if you are super stressed out, you can work on your breathing for 20 minutes. One time I had a private client who just wanted to meditate with me for one hour and that was perfectly fine.
You’re paying to get out of the class exactly what you need for that particular day. It’s very different from personal training in that you aren’t paying the private yoga teacher to push you to your limits. You are paying to help access your inner strength and balance through yoga poses but also through breathing, stress-relief and connection to your higher self, which will in turn help you to balance the other aspects of your life.
Tools You Will Have for a Lifetime
The right private yoga teacher will give you tools you can always use outside of a class or as we say in the yoga world, “off the mat.” Everyone could use tips on how to stand taller, sit upright, and stretch properly before exercise. Moreover, certain breathing techniques will get you through the tough times in life. But the best thing a private yoga instruction will give you is the opportunity to help you see yourself at a different level, to go deeper to the place where your spirit shines, and to help you shine that light outward for others to see.
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