Why Work with a Teacher Privately?
Have you ever worked with a yoga teacher one-on-one? I was about fifteen years into my yoga practice the first time I did. I loved my group classes, but felt ready to take my practice to the next level. I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant for me, but I wanted to know more than what the teacher could offer me with 30 other people in the room.
I have one leg that is significantly shorter than the other. What that means for me in poses like bridge is that the foot of my shorter leg stands closer to my body than the one of my longer leg. If I bring my feet together–as exampled in this link–the hip of my shorter leg droops down, because I have to reach to get my short leg to align with the foot of my long one. It was during a private session with my teacher that we discovered this imbalance.
When I attend public group classes with random teachers they always correct me by telling me to align my feet. Prior to working with my teacher I would unknowingly follow their innocent instruction and then wonder why my back would ache on one side.
Working privately with my teacher I learned that my body has to take a unique alignment in certain poses to compensate for my leg length discrepancy and that it is OK to do that. (Side note: Leg lengths are usually hard to determine. In this case my teacher was a physical therapist and the difference in my leg length was so great he was able to capture it. This is not the case for all yoga teachers.)
Here is another example: Check out this photo (below) from an ad I came across on Instagram. The ad is for a yoga app and is glorifying this woman’s ability to “go deeper” in a backbend. I would imagine most people look at the photo and think she succeeded. I look at it and think, “back surgery”.
- See the line on her back I circled with the green marker? This indicates hypermobility (beyond normal range of motion) in this part of her spine.
- Now, see the part of her back I circled with the blue marker in the second photo titled, “May”? Notice how stiff her upper back is. This part of her back has not changed at all between the “January” photo and the “May” photo, which means all this “work” (aka pushing) she has done to increase her backbend is not affecting any other part of the spine and is only happening in one place: the hypermobile point.
Note how much deeper the line on her back is in the second photo. Think of what happens to an old credit card when you bend it back and forth in one point: it breaks in half. That’s what’s happening to the hypermobile point in her spine.
I think it is pretty safe to bet she has no idea this is happening. How could she know when she is using an app to help her “go deeper”? Even if she attends public group classes it is very unlikely a teacher would spot that when their attention is shared with everyone else in the room.
If she worked with a teacher privately they would encourage her to strengthen her core to stabilize the area of her spine where the line is and try and limit further movement there. Simultaneously, they would help her find more mobility in her upper back, so that she could find safer freedom in her movement. And, most certainly, they would instruct her to stop doing that pose.
Working with a teacher privately can take your yoga practice and body awareness to a whole new level. There are tons of other reasons you might want to work with a teacher privately. Here are more examples of some.
Do you want to work with me? I have four 1:1 spots available this Fall.