We strive to offer several fundamental differences: personalized attention, specialize in yoga for healing, injury prevention, and helping our students stay committed to their overall health and wellbeing.
Many underestimate how much time, money, and energy can be saved when learning from an experienced instructor who personally knows the student’s habits and imbalances. Without exaggeration, what someone can gain in one private session can be the equivalent to months or years of practice in a random group class. For example, many practitioners (even advanced practitioners) hold poses with the inappropriate muscles engaged without ever realizing. Not only is it a waste of time, it can be unsafe for the body and cause more harm than good. One of our goals is to help greatly reduce the potential of injury and downtime. See this article on yoga-related injuries.
The yoga that we come to know and practice today in studios and gyms is relatively modern – only a little over 100 years old. Like modern medicine, modern yoga has gotten rather specialized. There are now countless styles such as power yoga for strength or yin yoga for flexibility for example. Unfortunately, many do not realize that we can be TOO strong or TOO flexible. When we live in extremes, pain and illnesses occur. For example, when we are too flexible our unsupported joints may feel pain. When we are too aggressive or too lethargic, our body and mind may be at “dis-ease”.
This is why Yoga Therapy is ideally practiced in a private or small group setting by experienced instructors who have a deeper understanding of the body’s systems.
Traditionally, yoga’s teachings are based on balancing the mind, body, and energy to achieve a sattvic (balanced) state of being. When we are balanced, we can overcome illnesses (even serious diseases as listed in our Yoga Therapy page) and sustain better health. So if we take into consideration the traditional teachings and techniques of yoga, we will find that yoga is inherently therapeutic!
Even the most health-conscious individuals experience some form of imbalance, just to varying degrees. It is also very common for people to have imbalances without even realizing them if symptoms have not surfaced or have simply been ignored. Many times students are surprised to discover imbalances during a private yoga lesson or highly mindful yoga practice. This helps to prevent problems before they occur. Plus our life is ever changing – the more mindful we are to maintain a healthy balance, the more equipped we are to combat any unforeseen circumstances.
Generally we do recommend that if you are brand new to yoga to consider private lessons prior to taking group classes. Group classes are still generally appropriate for complete beginners as we do ask for an intake of your history to make sure your practice is safe in a group class setting.
The great news is most of our students are brand new to yoga and fall in love with the practice! This is because we do not emphasize fancy yoga poses unless it serves a purpose. Our goal is to assist our students in understanding their bodies and how to achieve better health. Therefore, we focus more on functional and practical exercises. We may use yoga poses to help teach appropriate form and alignment for a healthy body, or breathing and meditation techniques to help manage stress or a chaotic lifestyle.
Because of our intake process and our highly experienced teachers, many of our students have experienced exponential improvements in their overall health. During the in-depth initial consultation, we may discuss a large range of topics that many don’t even consider to be “yoga”. In addition to going through any physical pain in the body, we also ask about internal or systemic conditions – such as digestive, respiratory, cardiac disorders, etc. We ask about lifestyle habits including work, hobbies, sleep and dietary habits, or anything else you might find pertinent to your health.
Therefore, the private lesson may comprise of a combination of techniques to help bring the body to health and each individual’s practice can greatly differ from the next. Recognizing that we operate on a highly interconnected web of influences, we look to address health goals from MANY angles. For example, if someone seeks relief from neck pain, we will offer neck exercises, but will likely also advise on how to mindfully move through the day to prevent or relieve pain.
Many times, a session may include discussions on behavioral habits that led to certain pains/illnesses (such as work, hobbies, sleep or even dietary habits). Most of the time it’s what we habitually do in our daily lives that lead to pains and illness. There are very specific yogic techniques that helps to break old unhealthy habits and to then replace them with new habits that better serve us. And of course as our life changes, so would the practice.
Additional questions, comments, concerns? We are listening!