When I was practicing Bikram yoga, I always wanted to take a private lesson. I don’t know why it never happened, but it just didn’t. When I switched over to a hot vinyassa practice, I found myself with lots of questions. Once I had adjusted (and gotten past the initial point of confusion), I wanted to know more about the postures we were doing in most every class. And I was really, really confused about Chaturanga.
I needed someone to look at my posture/alignment and give me detailed feedback. We do a ton of chaturangas in class, so it was important to me to get this posture correct. When December rolled around, and I had some extra time, I talked to the studio manager and got myself a 60-minute private lesson with her.
It was money well spent.
Now, obviously this isn’t a review for my specific lesson/studio because most of you wouldn’t be able to go there. But this is a plug to consider taking a private lesson at your studio regardless of how long you have been practicing. It was very helpful to have someone spend time with me in areas that were important to me. And I learned that it is very easy to spend almost an hour on something like chaturanga.
I left that hour with specific tips and modifications so that I could break my old habits and rebuild what I had been doing (some of which was so far off base). I learned where things were breaking down. What this meant was that when I tried to do a chaturanga later in class, and flopped, I now understood why I flopped and could target myself in a specific direction. Before the lesson I knew I was doing things wrong, but I had no idea what they were.
The other thing I recommend is to follow up your lesson with a class ASAP. I took my lesson at 1:00 and was back in class that evening at 6:00. I lucked out because my private lesson and class were taught by the same person. She told me she would use some of the language she had used with me in my lesson during class to help try to cement it all in. You definitely want to get back to your class so you can keep practicing what you learned. Try not to take a day off right away (three to four classes and it will all have sunk in on a cerebral level at least!).
Since my lesson, my instructor will check in with me and ask me how my chaturanga is doing, and we’ll chat about it. She’ll point out things to me that she notices now and then when I’ve taken her class.
I think this is something I’ll try again in May/June when I know I’ll have more time on my calendar. I have no idea what I’ll want to work on, but I like the idea of having a private lesson a couple of times a year. It’s helped me refine my practice, get my questions answer, and formulate much better habits. I’m looking forward to adding in private lessons one-twice a year from here on out.