Yoga and the Art of Private Instruction

Hatha Yoga, the yoga of movement, also known as asana (posture) practice is taught widely throughout the world.  You can find asana instructors at conventional yoga studios, in gyms, community centers, colleges, and now the medical industry is looking at yoga as a tool for alternative healing.  Yoga means union with self.  The term Yoga is a philosophy of life.  Asana practice is one portion of that philosophy into the realization of self.  Self-realization is consciousness, waking up from who we think we are to who we truly are.

The postures are designed to slowly over time move a body into alignment, into clarity and truth realizing self.  Every individual, no matter from what walk of life they come, are all different.

Private instruction is no different than a class in the sense an instructor teaches the student yoga postures, but in a private session there is a lot more hands-on making adjustments to the postures.  A by-product of the postures teaches the student to go within and listen to what his/her body is saying.  The student will eventually learn when to stop, back-up, or move deeper in a posture.

Private instruction includes, but is not limited to:

– Boundaries
– Trust
– Intuitive insight
– Presence

In a private session, the teacher’s job is to draw the student out, moving the student to focus within, using their innate ability to feel, listen and act upon what their body is telling them.  A teacher will suggest postures based on intuitive insight, asking questions of the student hoping to increase the student’s awareness from within.  “Is there any pain or discomfort?”  “Where are you feeling the stretch?”   “Can you go deeper into the stretch?”  “Do you need to back off or come out of the posture?”  “Is the muscle pulling or stretching?”

Moving a student through postures may also stir up trapped emotions.  And while not all tight muscles point to emotions a teacher must keep constant vigilance on a students mood and emotions.  After a couple years of a consistent posture practice, a student may have déjà vu, disturbing dreams, or even agitation within the body.  A  teacher should know and be prepared to help guide a student to consider professional help, especially if the emotion is unresolved trauma stored in the body as cortisol and adrenalin.  There are many tools to assist with the releasing of emotions, maybe as simple as holding the space for a student to experience stuck emotion.  Of course, there are energy modalities done with a qualified individual such as, talk therapy, Somatic Experiencing (SE), EFT, and Cranial Sacral, Reiki healing, just to name a few.  Once again, the student decides based on how he/she feels what technique and professional tool is right for them.

Above all, a teacher needs to stay present with the student while instruction is given.  If the instruction is for an hour then an hour presence is needed.  Presence means to be right there with a student as the student is stretching, to place awareness to where the student is feeling the stretch.  To place awareness of what emotions the student may be feeling.  Being there for the student is also being there for the teacher.

This will be the most adventurous, self-rewarding time filled with discovery and well-being.

I wish for all sentient beings to know the peace, happiness, and stillness asana practice activates in ones life…Namaste’