Through the alchemical process of asana, pranayama, meditation, nutrition, self love rituals and contemplation, you will come to discover the subtle energetic threads that connect you to others, to the world, and back to yourself. - Megan Currie

Benefits of Private Yoga Lessons

Although yoga classes have grown in popularity over the years, some individuals may find that private lessons are more appealing. Unlike basic classes, private lessons are a one on one experience with an instructor. Private lessons can bring about improvements to one’s mental and physical health and help one achieve personal yoga goals.

Gaining Initial Experience
Beginning yoga students can feel overwhelmed in typical class settings, particularly during the first few classes. It can seem difficult to keep up and personal flexibility might require a little work before it becomes easier to get into different poses.

According to Yoga From the Heart, beginners can avoid feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable by taking private lessons to get started. (1) A private yoga instructor shows each move personally and can help improve form immediately, which makes it easier to get started.

Focusing on Personal Goals
Private yoga lessons also offer students the ability to focus on personal interests, concerns or goals. Instead of following along with the yoga instructor in a class setting, a private lesson allows an individual to set specific goals and plans, such as personal goals for flexibility, strength or meditation.
An instructor teaching in a private setting takes the information about the yoga practitioner’s goals and creates a personalized routine based on the information.

Creating a Personalized Schedule
Although the experience itself and goal planning are important, making the time to practice is a vital element of yoga. If it’s not possible to get to a class, then joining a class is not the best choice. In such an instance, a private lesson can accommodate even the most hectic of schedules.
Private lessons work around personal plans and scheduling conflicts. Taking lessons at any time of the day or night, depending on work and/or social obligations, allows more flexibility in one’s yoga practice.

Overcoming Health Concerns
Injuries and health concerns can make a normal yoga class impractical for some participants. A yoga instructor teaching several students at one time cannot focus on individual needs or ensure that the poses will not further injure or strain a particular person. Furthermore, health concerns like pregnancy, diabetes or heart disease may require special alterations to one’s yoga practice.
When health concerns are a potential issue, it is best to have a private yoga lesson. The instructor can work around the problem and avoid further complications.

Developing a Plan for Personal Home Yoga
Practicing yoga at home is not recommended until after working with a professional because home practice without any initial instruction can lead to accidental injuries.
A private yoga lesson makes it possible to create a plan that is appropriate for practicing in the home at a future date.

Working on In-Depth Practice
Although beginners can benefit from private lessons to gain confidence and learn safe practices, private lessons also are beneficial for advanced practitioners. Private instruction can allow one to take their yoga practice to the next level. Advanced classes, in a group setting, might not offer the level of challenge and planning that is required for more advanced practitioners.

It is beneficial to work with a private yoga instructor. In many cases, it will result in better skills, a greater level of confidence and fewer complications. Likewise, private yoga lessons may be the right approach to getting started or taking one’s yoga practice to the next level.

Yoga was traditionally taught by one teacher directly to one student. The great ancient teachers understood the importance of individualizing each yoga experience to meet the needs of the individual student. Today’s group classes are fun, energizing and help to create a strong community and affordable yoga, however, in a group class teachers may not be able to deliver the individualized attention and guidance that we all need at one time or another.

A private session allows for a more intimate view into YOUR practice. You can start a new practice, deepen your current practice or spend some time working with an injury or specific goal or concern.

Eases or reduces the stress or intimidation experienced by beginners when attending large group yoga classes for the first time.  Private yoga lessons will give you a crash course on the basics of yoga, which will give you the foundation necessary to feel compfortable in a group enviornment.

Private yoga classes are the perfect way to work with special health concerns, injuries, or any other limitations you may experiance. If you are concerned about the possibility of a re-injury, working one-on-one with a private yoga instructor you will learn how to adapt certain postures and use modifications as well as find out if there are specific poses to avoid when in class.

Private yoga classes can offer a highly viable option if you have set a specific goal – whether it’s mental, emotional, spiritual or physical. With a specific goal in mind, a private yoga instructor can tailor and create a specific practices for you designed to help meet your goals.

private yoga lessons and provide the necessary guidance to better equip you to meet your goals.
With the many types of yoga available, a skilled instructor will be able to provide recommendations on what types of yoga works for you best based on his/her observations in private yoga sessions.

Experienced yoga practitioners can also greatly benefit from private yoga lessons especially for those who want to take their practice to the next level. A private yoga instructor can work closely with you in leading you into more challenging poses in a safe and inspiring environment.

Getting the Most out of Your Private Lesson

Spend time to talk to your private instructor about your specific goals.
Drink some water an hour before your scheduled private yoga lessons in order to awaken the mind and the body. Our chi moves through the water in our bodies.

Leave things that may distract you such as cell phones and other devices put away for the duratin of the session.
Set your intention. What is it that you want to get from your private yoga lessons? Focus on what you want to achieve through yoga in all aspects- physical, mental, spiritual.

Breathe. A lot of people tend to hold their breath when concentrating, straining or stretching. Holding your breath will result to the tightening of your muscles instead of expanding them, which can hamper your flexibility. Speak to your teacher about learning some breathing teqniques that can help this durring you sessions together

Try a package. It can be much more effective if you work with an instructor at least a few times.  You can do this in combination with attending group classes or exclusively, working only with that  instructor. Both work great!

Private yoga classes are an investment for your personal growth and health. They are a great way to start your yoga practice in a more solid footing before you join group yoga sessions or provide intensive training and exclusive attention for advanced practitioners.

Integrating yoga into your regular workout program is beneficial on many levels. It can help prevent injury, relax muscles, and keep you flexible. Furthermore, the benefits of reduced stress and increased oxygen levels can give you an overall sense of wellbeing that can become deliciously addictive in a good way.

However, I’ve heard many potential students who are reticent to join a group yoga class because they feel intimidated to join a large group. Many group yoga classes offered with a gym membership tend to be challenging and more fitness oriented, which can make a beginner shy away from ever trying yoga at all. Allow me to convince you that taking a few private yoga sessions will be well worth the investment and also can help you muster up the courage to participate in a group yoga class.

Yoga Asks Your Body to Take Some Unusual Positions
One of the reasons yoga works so well to help the body fight against diseases such as osteoporosis is that your bones are being twisted in unusual ways. Yoga poses put stress on the bones, causing the body to deposit more calcium and therefore, strengthens them. However, since your body is not generally accustomed to moving this way, you can also be prone to more injuries.

Going into a big yoga class with students at different levels can lead you to perform yoga poses without proper alignment. If it’s difficult to see the instructor you might be inclined to simply follow what others are doing. And if the person next to you is doing the pose incorrectly, you might also have improper form and leave yourself open to injury.

A private instructor will take the time to show you how to get into and out of every pose properly. A good hatha or Iyengar instructor will offer yoga props to assist you in the beginning until your body gets used to the poses.

Comfort in Sharing Your Personal Health History
In a group class, it can be challenging to approach the instructor with your health history. And even if you do, he or she might not be able to help you modify poses throughout the entire class. However, it is helpful for an instructor to know if you’re getting over surgery, an injury, or an illness. Just because yoga can look easy and relaxing, doesn’t mean it’s harmless.

As an instructor, I like to know if my clients are suffering from a chronic disease, have had any recent sports injuries, or even if they haven’t exercised in 10 years. I wouldn’t want to push a client into doing a pose that he or she is not ready to do. A good private instructor will be able to help you modify poses and offer alternatives until you feel you can do the poses on your own.

Boosting Your Confidence
You wouldn’t believe, as an instructor, how many times I hear in a week, “I’m just not flexible.” And, “I’m just terrible at yoga.” I’ve taught in many different venues and, while some yoga students look like professional gymnasts, most are beginners who have little idea what they’re doing. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, see the three limber 20-year-olds in headstands at that beginning of class, and lose the confidence that you mustered up to walk into the class in the first place.

First of all, if you’ve never done yoga before, chances are you aren’t that flexible. You can’t expect to walk on a tennis court for the first time and play like a pro either. Increased flexibility comes with practice. Secondly, there is no such thing as being terrible at yoga. The discipline of yoga is a journey that is between you and yourself. There is no competition in yoga, or rather there shouldn’t be.

A private instructor will be encouraging and help you understand the mechanics of the poses. Even in a few lessons you will see yourself getting more flexible and you’ll have greater confidence that you are more like Gumby than the tin man.

Made-to-Order Service
Honestly, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a yoga class where I really needed a certain pose and waited and waited only to be disappointed by the end. The great aspect of a private yoga session is that your instructor can tailor your class to you and your needs. If you need greater hip flexibility, you can have an entire class just focusing on the hips. Or if you are super stressed out, you can work on your breathing for 20 minutes. One time I had a private client who just wanted to meditate with me for one hour and that was perfectly fine.

You’re paying to get out of the class exactly what you need for that particular day. It’s very different from personal training in that you aren’t paying the private yoga teacher to push you to your limits. You are paying to help access your inner strength and balance through yoga poses but also through breathing, stress-relief and connection to your higher self, which will in turn help you to balance the other aspects of your life.

Tools You Will Have for a Lifetime
The right private yoga teacher will give you tools you can always use outside of a class or as we say in the yoga world, “off the mat.” Everyone could use tips on how to stand taller, sit upright, and stretch properly before exercise. Moreover, certain breathing techniques will get you through the tough times in life. But the best thing a private yoga instruction will give you is the opportunity to help you see yourself at a different level, to go deeper to the place where your spirit shines, and to help you shine that light outward for others to see. 

History Lesson: The Founder of Hot Yoga, Bishnu Charan Ghosh

Bishnu Charan Ghosh was one of the greatest and most influential yoga masters of the past century. Ghosh, born in Lahore, India in 1903, was a celebrated physical culturalist and the first to scientifically document Yoga’s ability to cure chronic physical ailments and heal the body. Beginning in the 1920’s, he developed a school of Yoga that provided a unique blend of spiritual inspiration and a highly disciplined physical regimen.

Ghosh came from an extraordinary family. He was initiated into the field of yogic exercise and physical education by his guru and older brother, Paramahansa Yogananda, the world renowned Yogi and spiritual master. Yogananda founded the Self Realization Fellowship Center and his book, “Autobiography of a Yogi”, continues to be one of the best known and influential works of our time.

 In 1923, at the young age of 20, he founded the first Ghosh College of Physical Education in Calcutta and his fame quickly spread throughout India. Other schools were opened, first in India, and then in locations around the world.

In 1939, Ghosh came to the United States to educate people on the subject of yoga by giving demonstrations. He lectured at Columbia University in New York, generating a great deal of interest in the field, and was widely acknowledged and respected in the academic community. In 1968 he went to Japan with his troupe and traveled all over the country giving lectures and yogic demonstrations. Ghosh’s were the first yoga exhibitions to be televised outside of India, and were seen and loved by millions of Japanese.

Ghosh's yoga was heavily influenced by the Yogoda system, taught at the Ranchi School by his older brother Paramahansa Yogananda and by the physical education taught by Professor Thakurta at Calcutta University.

Ghosh had many followers and his legacy of hot yoga passed into many hands, including Buddha Bose, Dr. Gouri Shankar Mukerji, Montosh Roy, the Das family, his son Biswanath and Bikram Choudhury. We will talk about all of these students in the next history segment.

He passed away in 1970. His legacy is being continued by his granddaughter, Muktamala Mitra, the current director of the Ghosh College in Calcutta. (Source: