To answer this, we need to take a look at what is meant by our modern definition of 'yoga'.
We now think of yoga as a physical practice to improve posture, strength and flexibility. But in truth, this is only one aspect of what it can bring. The physical movement is just one of the routes by which we prepare the body and mind. Traditionally in yoga this also incorporates cultivating an open and compassionate mind, carefully choosing where and how to apply our energy and mindful control of our breath (to name but three).
Through consistent practise, we can draw the body and mind closer together to create a balanced sense of unity within ourselves.
If you think about it, we spend most of our modern lives drawing our bodies and minds further and further apart! So this sense of 'wholeness' is, in my finding, where many of the cited benefits of yoga come from, such as stress management, bodily awareness and even better sleep, something that many private clients report as a welcome side-effect.
The benefit of private yoga, and one of the things I relish most about teaching my one to one clients, is that you can really start to tailor the whole practice to them individually. This affects the selection of postures (or 'asanas') which I lead the client through, the pacing of the class and even the type of energy you want to bring into the room.
Some clients want the practice to be a physical challenge, in which the strength and endurance of their bodies are pushed further and they can really sweat it out.
For others, yoga is a compliment to other types of physical exercise in their week, so we may focus on particular areas of the body or movements which are going to complement their fitness goals.
Some may want their private yoga lessons to simply be safe spaces in which to be lead deeper into the release it can bring. This involves slower and more minimal movement, often focused around the areas which get tight from long hours at desks, with a greater emphasis on guided meditation and relaxation.
Of course, a combination of the above is also possible. There are not any hard and fast 'rules' within the broad spectrum of the yogic practices, other than to ensure you are staying safe and respecting your body and mind at all times. As a private yoga teacher, this is my first priority!
Whichever aspect it is that draws you to explore yoga, one to one is undoubtedly the best way to improve the practice. This sets the fundamental techniques required to take your yoga practice in any direction you wish, from building a home-practice by yourself to classes in local gyms or studios.
In the larger setting of the classroom, there sadly isn't time to correct everyone. And getting those fundamentals right is the key setting yourself up for a long-term yoga practice which will benefit your
body and mind for many years to come.
No matter what level of practice you are at, from first-timer to seasoned yogi, I would love to help improve your practice. I teach private and one to one yoga across London so get in contact to arrange your first lesson.