Private Yoga Classes: a teacher’s point of view (Juli)

Since I have started working with English Yoga Berlin, I have been in an enquiry about private yoga classes and what they have to offer, and how the teachers themselves experience them. Here is Juli’s experience:

pirvate yoga classes: Juli

I have never had a private lesson myself, although I have given them. I have received private sessions with osteopaths, naturopaths, physiotherapists and psychotherapists, and while I do not want to draw parallels with these professions (I am not a therapist), I do find that when I give private lessons it feels something like that: it’s private, it’s personal, focusing specifically on whatever people share, be it about how they are feeling or what is going on with their body. Over regular sessions, trust develops a more directed and personalised approach.

As a teacher I help a client learn how to pay attention to their own body, breath and mind, and how those sensations are connected through thought patterns, emotions, and daily activities. I really like to look at ADLs (activities of daily living), and how to unwrap repetitive patterns. When I give a first-time private lesson, I will communicate through email to prepare what a client might need for the first session, and then develop a program for home yoga practice until the next time we see each other. The program usually includes 15-20 minutes of yoga three times a week and some ADLs.

private yoga classes: Juli

the benefits of a private session with a teacher need to be nurtured in our home practice

Yes there is homework, because as my Svastha yoga teacher says; “once a week is nice, twice a week is maintenance, but three times a week is progress.” What he means by progress can be any goal, whether it be to recover from an injury or to feel more lightheartedness.

The mentor/student relationship is essential to the Yoga experience – where you are learning from someone who knows more than you (an expert? but who is an expert in Yoga, we are all learning).  In the ancient tradition, a guru would decide if a student is ready and a student would decide whether this guru was the right fit for them – and I really believe that you can’t learn yoga from just anybody, any teacher – it has to be someone you connect and resonate with. I imagine how the experience of a series of one to ones would magnify the opportunity of that connection and resonance. This is why it’s important to find the right fit.

At English Yoga Berlin we offer small classes for more personalised practice and private yoga lessons. Juli‘s yoga classes in English are a slow Vinyasa Flow yoga / Svastha yoga mix. Contact us here to learn more and book a private session, or check our classes schedule to participate in a group class at our Kreuzberg yoga studio.

 

What is your definition of healing?

Photo by Gabriel Barletta

Photo by Gabriel Barletta

“Many of us define healed as the opposite of needy. Therefore to be healed means to be fully self contained, always positive, always happy, always sure of oneself, and never needing anyone. No wonder few ever consider themselves “healed”.”

  • Caroline Myss

 

In today’s western world where trauma and wounds have taken a significant place in our society, we hear a lot of the word “healing”. This is a common word used in a very wide spectrum from yoga classes to psychology to random talks between friends. Healing has taken an important place in our lives, both as a concept and as a reality we strive to achieve.

So what is emotional healing?

I think this is an important question to ask. Is healing about no longer being affected by an event of the past? Is it about the event no longer holding power over you? Is healing about being well and not ever needing anything again? When can someone consider themselves healed? Or is it an ever going process that we can never attain?

I believe that for all of us using this word, it is important to take some time and give our own personal definition to it. And once we have defined it, to look at it again and decide if this is an attainable goal or a never ending process that we are setting too high standards for.

I personally define healing as letting go of the power that a wound holds over me. I don’t need to always be happy, I can be needy, I still have the scars of the wound… but the wound no longer defines me or directs my actions in my life.

 Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. Her yoga Berlin Kreuzberg classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. She is a sivananda yoga teacher that also offers Berlin business yoga, pregnancy yoga, and private yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain. All her yoga classes end in deep relaxation using yoga Nidra techniques.  In her Berlin Chakra course, she uses the chakras as a base line to self-explore concepts such as forgiveness, group thought, letting go, and becoming self-aware of limiting beliefs.

I am here for you.

“I am here for you”, I say.

I say this a lot. To my daughter. To my partner. I say it to my friends. I say it to my yoga students. “I am here for you”.  But where is here?

Brene Brown has made a beautiful video clip partly describing depression as a deep dark hole that someone finds themselves in. Empathy, she says, is the ability of a friend to climb down that hole and sit with you for a while. The graphics are beautiful. The explanation between empathy and sympathy is eye opening. And I’ve been keeping that in mind every time I say “I’m here for you” to someone.   I visualize myself climbing down that ladder and sitting by the person’s side, holding their hand, feeling their sorrow with them… for a while. But the more I go down there, the harder I find it is to get out.

After a while, I realized, that Brene’s image of climbing down that dark hole, not only does not work for me, but it carries some dangers for a person with extreme sensitivity and empathy, as is that of my character. Brene says that empathy is about fueling connection. I 100% agree. I agree that empathy requires to be able to see the world as others see it, be nonjudgmental, understand another person’s feelings, and communicate your understanding of that person’s feelings. But could I possibly use another image that will help me not get overwhelmed and fuzz my emotional boundaries?

“I am here for you” means something different to me now. It means I see you. I see how hard and lonely you feel down there in that dark hole. I feel how difficult it is for you. I will come. I will sit at the edge of the hole, in the Light, by the ladder. And I will tell you “I am here for you”. Here – is at the edge of that hole. Here – is in the Light. Here – is close to the ladder. I won’t force you to climb up the ladder, I won’t try to convince you to come out of it. I will listen. I will tell you that I’m so glad you told me. I will feel your pain with you. But I will do that What do we mean when we say "I am here for you"?from a place of Light. I will wait for as long as you need, to find your way out. If you ask me, I will tell you where I think the ladder is. If you want me, I will stay silent while you cry and send you all my love. But, I am here -in the Light- for you. And hopefully, when you look up through your tear stained eyes and try to see me… hopefully, a part of you will be reminded that there is not only darkness out there. I will stay here for you. I will not leave your side., accompany you on your journey, won’t push you from your path and from your rhythm. I will stay in the Light by your side.

Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. Her yoga classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. She  also offers Berlin business yoga, pregnancy yoga, and private yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain. In January she will offer a ten week course on understanding Chakras through your yoga practice in Berlin.

Breathe Like a Baby- or Don’t?

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have often heard yoga teachers use babies as breathing models. “See how their bellies move up and down when they are sleeping?” “Babies haven’t learned the restrictions of every day life that changes our breathing.” “They don’t hold in their breathing, it just flows.” These are just some of the common phrases that come out in yoga classes.

Although I agree that babies have something magical in the way they are first experiencing the world, a study  has shown that babies have to work quite hard when it comes to breathing the first year of their lives.

In order for babies to be able to get through the birth canal unharmed, they need a higher elasticity in the rib cage. This means that the rib cage is too soft to easily support their respiratory system. As they grow older their rib cages will become hard and stable allowing better support in breathing.

Babies need to double their size within the first months of their lives. To do this, babies need a higher oxygen intake and a faster heartbeat amounting to a higher metabolism. They got to breathe way more than adults to keep those little bodies growing.

During pregnancy, babies can not use their lungs. Their blood bypasses the lungs by going directly from the right side of the heart to the left. Not having ever used their lungs means that when they will take their first breath ever, those lung tissues will be quite stiff and out of use… making breathing much harder for them.

Finally, babies’ nervous system, which regulates the frequency and coordination of breathing, is often still maturing in the first months of their lives. This leads to a lot of uncoordinated breathing and irregularity in breathing frequency.

All this goes to show that babies have a harder time breathing than adults. Babies’ respiratory system tends to mature along with their postural skills, therefore taking about a year before they can breathe in a more effortless way.

“Breathing like a baby” is not only impossible when one is an adult, but it is also undesirable! It is a relief to not be struggling with so many aspects of our anatomy just to get a breath in. Our adult lives bring other challenges instead. For example, we, adults, get stuck in our breathing patterns that often reflect the emotional patterns we have created. And that is where our focus should lie in. Can we change our breathing habits, not to one of a baby’s, but to one that allows more freedom so that we can experience other aspects of our emotional world?

All of Pinelopi’s yoga classes are in English. She teaches pregnancy yoga and hatha yoga in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Pinelopi is an injury conscious yoga teacher and will be happy to assist you before and throughout the class with tailored variations for your yoga poses. She believes that the increased awareness cultivated in her yoga classes together with the suggested variations for your unique body, make a difference both to practicing yoga in daily life and to the yoga benefits you take with you after class.