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How Yoga Robin was born: Why private yoga instruction?

Private vs. group yoga

Many people drop into their favorite group yoga class, with usually a number of studios, teachers and times to choose from. With an unlimited membership at a studio, why would a student choose private instruction instead?

Robin in Death Valley 108 degrees (image © Simeon Schatz)

How I began teaching yoga

I started teaching private yoga exclusively after my many years as an advanced, dedicated yoga practitioner. In my pursuit to turn the world—starting with my best friends—on to yoga, I found that there was a great gap that was unmet in the typical yoga communities.

Many people who have not tried yoga were intimidated (either by their physical skills or their body image). Others don't like group energy. Still others had injuries (I heard everything from "I have carpal tunnel" to "I can't even touch my toes" to "I have had shoulder surgery" to "I don't want other people to sweat on me"). I knew, in my mind, that I could help these people even though I could not convince them to come to a yoga class with me.

Hence, Yoga Robin was born. I had already taken my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (and countless workshops with well-renown teachers in my 11 years as a yoga practitioner) to gain as much knowledge as I could about my own yoga practice—specifically my my mind and how to train it with a more discipline. I didn't know at the time that I wanted to teach yoga professionally. I was wrong. I learned from my friends what they needed. And I knew that their needs definitely required my personal attention.

Private one-on-one yoga lessons are all about you

What privates (in yoga speak) allow that group classes don't:

1) Dedicated one-on-one time with the teacher. This is a chance to speak freely about goals, sensations moving through the body, or to guide the course of the class depending on your needs at the time.

2) At your own convenience. Normally a private class is taught at a time you set yourself with the teacher. If it's in your home, this is the most practical: saves time, cuts down on greenhouse gases (no need to drive your car; if you're lucky, your yoga teacher will walk or ride a bicycle to you). If you are not in the mood for crowds, your private space will be ideal.

3) Disciplined. With a private, the lesson times are set up in advance so you can't cancel at the last minute (or else you pay anyway). This is motivating for those unstructured or workaholic days where, had you set aside a group class in your calendar, you'd easily skip. Scheduled one-on-one lessons make it easier for you to find a work-life balance.

4) You feel important. Just as you would take dedicated time out to nurture yourself with a massage, you can treat yourself to a private yoga class with your name on it. With the money you're spending on you, it's often a signal to yourself to let go. The mere act of letting go allows the yoga to do its awesome work.

5) More productive. With one teacher and one student, it's not so easy to slack off (as you could in the back of the room in a group class). Your yoga teacher will always be watching you and tending to your every need.

6) Shyness. Some people are more confident working alone with a teacher, with less critique (although silent) and opinions by onlookers. Insecurities with the group dynamic vanish when your private teacher arrives at your door.

7) Yoga therapy. If you've had an injury or surgery requiring physical therapy or prescribed yoga training, it's imperative that you work one-on-one with a trained yoga teacher who understands your injury. In a group class, you cannot speak freely and you may feel vulnerable. In a private therapeutic class, dedication to your healing is part of the deal. My Master of Arts in East-West Psychology included therapeutic training for somatic and psychological health conditions. 



© 2012 Yoga Robin®

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