Visualize this scenario: You’ve just come home from your doctor/physiotherapist/chiropractor/massage therapist (gosh you have a large armory of health care professionals on your team! – GO YOU!), where they suggested that you try yoga. Not only do they think yoga will help you reach your health and wellness goals, they know it will make their treatments more effective. So, it’s a win/win.
- You’ve tried yoga before and you didn’t like it…
- You think you’re not flexible enough for yoga…
- You have no idea where to start…
If any of these reasons resonate with you, keep reading! It’s a little like “choose your own adventure” but I assure you, I make some valid points that will hopefully change the way you view yoga.
I tried yoga, but I didn’t like it
One student I’ve had the pleasure of teaching over the years, Sally, tried yoga for the first time at her local gym. Not only did she not enjoy yoga — she actually HATED it. Yoga brought out so much anger in her and she wasn’t even a naturally predisposed angry person!
After a few classes, she was sure she would never try yoga again, but six years later, she found herself in front of a doctor who suggested she give yoga another try to help with managing back pain and stress. One of Sally’s friends recommended she work privately with me and that’s how we met.
For Sally, changing the location of where she practiced yoga instantly made the experience a more positive one. She loved the serenity of the yoga studio and having the ability to chat with me before and after her session to help make sense of the process. Contrary to her previous experience with yoga, Sally was never angry during our sessions, even after notoriously anger inducing poses (if you’ve ever done hip work and backbends, you know exactly what I’m referencing).
But I digress. My point is… if you’ve tried yoga and didn’t like it, try practicing in a different location. Also, take inventory of your mood. If you’re having a bad day, you might have a “bad” yoga class. If there’s a personality clash between you and the instructor, it might impact your opinion of yoga. You’d be surprised how much a different time, place, or person might be better suited to you.
I’m not flexible enough for yoga
Nope. I’m not buying it. That’s like saying you’re too dirty to shower! Or that you’re too hungry to eat!
Repeat after me: Flexibility is not a requirement for yoga. However, if you practice regularly enough, you’re most likely going to gain some flexibility and range of motion.
My client, Richard, is the perfect example. He is a hard working executive in his 70’s. He is constantly jetting around the world for meetings and conferences, which means he spends a lot of his days sitting on planes or in office chairs.
Whenever he can, Richard stays active by going for runs, racing a few laps on the ski hill, or playing a couple of tennis matches. Unfortunately, this combination of sitting and participating in high impact sports has left him in frequent neck, low back, and hip pain.
Richard is the exact opposite of flexible and his schedule does not permit him to attend public classes, but this is no problem at all! We meet at different times each week, as his schedule permits. We don’t practice any postures sitting on the floor (he can’t comfortably get there) and although his back pain rarely resurfaces, when it does, we modify the sequence to suit his ability.
Yoga is now part of Richard’s self-care routine and he knows that if he skips too many weekly sessions he feels stiff and achy, so he keeps yoga a top priority and is happier for it – in mind and body!
I have no idea where to start
This answer is actually quite simple. You should start from the beginning. Remember that your first step into yoga is as unique as you are as a human being. Some people prefer going to a big crowded studio and blending into the background. Others enjoy a more intimate, private setting and view it as a place where they are seen and therefore safe. Some people like to do due diligence by looking up articles about yoga on the internet (caught ya!), while others buy a Groupon on a whim and attend a class they know nothing about.
There is absolutely no wrong way to start practicing yoga. If it feels right for you, go for it! Still unsure of where to start? Maybe a private yoga session is the perfect place.
Reasons Why my Students LOVE One-on-one Yoga Sessions
I can ask questions
If yoga is new, you might have a ton of questions in the moment or during movement, but when class is over you remember to ask exactly zero of them. I call this “yoga brain” and it’s a blissful place to be. After practice (group or private), you should be in a state of relaxation and it can be hard to recall your questions. During a private session, the first and last 15 minutes of our session is dedicated to discussion but you are free to ask questions during your session as well. I’m totally flexible (pun intended)!
Private sessions are tailored to my limitations
It’s common for students to struggle with physical limitations during their yoga practice. It might be as simple as sitting on the floor in “easy pose” (not sure why it’s even called that!) or being unable to bear weight on the wrist(s) in table pose.
In a group class, the teacher might think to offer modifications, but if you don’t know the alternative, you might just be sitting there waiting for the next cue. If you have limitations (big or small), group yoga classes can feel like you’re constantly being left out. In a private session, if there’s something my student can’t do, we simply don’t do it. Instead, we might do something similar to help them gain the strength and flexibility so that, down the road and only if they want to, we can progress to poses that once tested their limitations.
I can practice whenever I have time for it
It’s true, private sessions are much more flexible than group studio classes. And, perhaps, getting a private session on the calendar with an instructor helps to hold you more accountable to your practice (and hence to your self-care). Additionally, private sessions feel a bit more intimidating to cancel than group classes. I promise, I’m very understanding about calendar conflicts or illness, but there is something unique about having a one-on-one appointment scheduled and it might just be the motivation you need to follow through with that commitment to yourself.
See, I told you this blog post is a bit like “choose your own adventure”, but you have to admit I make some valid points! The main one being that yoga is something that can serve everyone. You just have to examine what way you want to experience yoga in order to feel comfortable and get the most out of your practice.
Interested in learning more about yoga sessions with me? You can contact me here or feel free to peruse my website for upcoming workshops or my calendar for group classes. I look forward to helping you discover the joys that yoga can bring to your mind, body, and spirit!