Today I am preparing to teach a private outdoor yoga session with a long time student. We’re meeting tomorrow and I’m very excited about it! It will be the first time she has done yoga outside (my favorite place to practice,) and I don’t believe she’s ever had a private yoga session before, either. I’m giddy with the joy of being able to bring these experiences to her.
There is something amazing about practicing outside. You are in fresh air, feeling the sun on your skin, hearing birds, and feeling the earth beneath you (often when I practice outside, I skip the mat entirely.) It’s magical and the feeling of being one with the universe is undeniable. You can feel the energy from the earth come up through your hands and you can feel your own energy swirling around you like a spring breeze. I get all goosebumpy just thinking about it!
Teaching private yoga sessions also thrills me. When I teach group classes, I do my best to get around to each student and lay my hands on them at least once to either adjust, assist, or affirm what they are doing. There is power in the human touch and I find it to be an incredible component of a good class and a good teacher, but let’s face it – there are days when I can just not get to everyone as often or as in as much detail as I feel might be beneficial. This is where the private session comes in. When I do a private session, I am almost all hands on. I might demonstrate something, but usually it’s my student on the mat (or on the ground,) and me actually teaching and explaining each move step by step and where the hands or feet or breath should be for that particular student to make the most of the asana and practice. I can focus my energy and my vision entirely on that particular student and, I believe, can make significant and lasting changes in that student’s practice. We might spend 10 solid minutes working on the proper alignment in Trikonasana, for example, so that the next time we meet, he or she will know exactly where to go and how to get there that particular day. In subsequent private sessions, we can move on to different things because we’ve already covered the basics. Of course, a student might approach me to do a private session based entirely on arm balances or releasing the tension in the lower back or whatever, but if that is not specified, you can bet I’m going to work on alignment. Regardless of what we are covering, however, my eyes are focused solely on my student. They get my undivided attention, it’s all about them. What a great gift to receive, an even greater gift to give!
When you combine a private lesson in a public outdoor place, however, something even more incredible happens: the student really feels what it’s like to focus internally, to experience that moment when all that matters is what’s going on on her mat. I love teaching in a park. At first students get a little nervous about people walking around and watching. I admit, it can be a little intimidating, but it’s also wildly liberating! It doesn’t take long for the student to forget that people are around, to forget that they aren’t alone in their backyard, to forget that there is anything going on in the world other than their practice and that, my friends, is what yoga is all about! Just as arm balances and inversions almost always bolster confidence in a student, practicing in public also gives a boost! If you can practice Kapotasana in the public, you can wear that skirt or ask for a raise or say YES to whatever you’ve been on the fence about! I have never watched a student walk away from a private outdoor yoga session feeling anything less than accomplished, empowered, invigorated, and inspired.
Is there any wonder why I love my job?
Have you done yoga outside? Have you taken a private class? If so, what do you love about it? If not, why not? What is stopping you? Get out there, get your hands and feet in the grass, and let your eyes, all three of them, shine!
Okay. I tried. I really really tried to publish this post without including this video, but I just couldn’t. So I’m sorry and you’re welcome.