The Most Underutilized Resource for Yogis

I don't know if it's something my parents instilled in me as a child, or if it's my engineering degree, or if it's the yogic practice of svadhyaya (self-study), or a combination of the three, but I can't help paying attention to things and thinking, in some little corner in the back of my mind, about how to do them better. Process improvement.

How to take better care of myself, how to be a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, a better boss, how to work more efficiently, how to be a better teacher.

That's not to say all areas of my life are perfect, but it is to say that I'm trying. And I believe that as humans, we're all trying the very best we can, we're doing the very best we can.

As a yoga studio owner, one thing that's always rolling around in the back of my mind is how to offer the very best yoga. How to offer the best practice for our students so they can experience the most benefit.

And the thing is, there is no single *best* yoga. We offer Beginners Series to help people get started with yoga. We offer a variety of classes to meet different needs and goals. We offer workshops on specialized topics. These are all well-attended, so I believe people clearly understand the purpose, value, and benefit of each of these offerings.

The one offering that I think is not yet well understood is Private Lessons, and after some extended pondering, I think I figured out why.

In this country, we typically see yoga as an exercise, like going to a step aerobics class. But really, yoga is more vast and deeper than exercise (no offense to step aerobics!).

The goal of yoga is to learn to quiet the mind. And given all the stimuli we face on a daily basis and all the thoughts, ideas, and to do lists in our minds, learning to quiet the mind is a very. big. job.

And it may not be instantly obvious, but even a stiff neck, poor strength and flexibility, stress, and a variety of other issues can be barriers on the path the quieting your mind. Just think, if your neck is stiff and every movement of your head causes pain, there's a high likelihood your mind is not peaceful.

The philosophy of Hatha Yoga, which is what we practice at The Yoga Room, is that we utilize the body as a first step on the path of quieting the mind. (Stay with me here.)

The body is a physical tool that we can see, feel, and understand, and as such, we use the body to practice yoga poses because the act of practicing poses occupies and focuses the mind.

Simply put, we use the body to quiet the mind.

And clearly, this is quite different than step aerobics.

So back to private lessons. While you can certainly begin learning to quiet your mind in group yoga classes, private lessons can provide more customized instruction to help you expedite your progress down the path.

It's like if you take a challenging math class in college and you kind of understanding the content, but there are some points you're not clear on. You can work hard on your math homework and eventually start to figure it out. You might miss some of the finer details, but you understand enough to get through the class. Or you could hire a tutor to enhance your understanding and accelerate your progress. Private lessons are like that.

Private lessons are a collaboration between teacher and student. The teacher assesses what information, experience, or physical aptitude is lacking, then provides customized guidance and instruction that enhances your understanding and accelerates your progress.

If the priority is easing your stiff neck, the teacher will assess your posture, movement habits, and pose alignment, then provide customized instruction to help you find more ease in your neck.

If the priority is building your strength and flexibility, the teacher will observe your current level of fitness and ability, then provide customized instruction to help you safely and appropriately improve your strength and flexibility.

If the priority is managing your stress, the teacher will work with you to determine which yogic techniques are most comfortable and accessible to you, then provide customized instruction to help you manage your stress.

At the end of your lesson, the teacher will create a detailed written practice to keep you moving toward your goal. Then when you're ready for the next step, you can come back for another lesson to continue on your path.

I'll tell you, I've been blown away by the progress in my own practice after I attended private lessons in India. I am more successfully reducing my back and feet pain. I sleep more soundly. I have new tools for managing stress, so I am more patient with my children. My mental clarity and focus have improved, so I am more creative, decisive, and productive in my work.

I really believe private yoga lessons are an underutilized resource that can provide profound benefits for many people. If this is something you'd like to look into, please visit our Private Lessons page for more details. And of course, if you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to send me a note.

To your best health!