I asked Pinelopi (from English Yoga Berlin in Kreuzberg) what does a private yoga class mean to her practice as a yoga teacher. Her answer sheds some light on what yoga can bring to one’s life.
I love to share what my own practice of yoga has provided me: a journey into becoming aware and connected to the body, and in my case, transforming my relationship to chronic pain. From that I have learnt that each body is unique and each person’s requirements, needs, and goals are unique too.
A private one to one session with a student provides me with an opportunity to work specifically for what their body requires, focusing on one specific pattern – be it a small postural habit acquired in the office chair, or a life-long struggle with pain. In a class, the teaching can be more generalised about habits and patterns, and it is about becoming relaxed, alert and awake in a group context, something that is also special and appreciated by yoga practitioners. They are just two different things.
At the beginning of a private yoga session, I get to do a check-in and find out what is going on in the student’s life at that moment. I also get to understand their learning style, if they are a visual person, seeking metaphors, or more drawn towards an experience of ‘embodied presence’, centering on sensations and more like an investigation.
The relaxation I give them at the end often has to do with what they are dealing with using a learning style method that works powerfully for them.
People mostly book a session bringing a challenge with them, like chronic pain. I often feel that people come in a big knot, and the process of yoga is to slowly loosen the knot by tackling a little piece at a time, first this piece, than that piece, continuously, with repetition. Often it’s because of this knot that several habits get created: the pain might have started from one thing and then the body is trying to protect and compensate creating new habits.
I see a private session with a student as a chance for the student to find the puzzle pieces of their own selves through Yoga. It’s an approach that requires an openness to transformation in our bodies, energies and minds.