I remember years ago when I lived in NYC working in advertising, I did yoga at lunchtime with a few other colleagues in the conference room.  Over time, the other women fell off, (our teacher was Buddhist and she liked us to do alot of chanting in the beginning.  I think they wanted tighter buns instead), but I kept it up-what a luxury to have someone come and give me a yoga class at work!  When the conference room was booked, my teacher said, “no problem, we’ll just lay the mat down in your office”.  Well, the office wasn’t much bigger than my mat, but she proceeded undeterred, “the mat is all the space you need.”  I immediately let go of my attachments of what I thought I needed to do yoga and just basked in the security of her encouragement.

Now I teach private yoga classes and I honor those who take that extra time to seek personal attention to do the practice.  Where many students enjoy taking privates regularly, some are just curious about private yoga but aren’t sure what to expect. Taking a class one on one has many advantages over taking a group class: specific guided instruction, time to ask questions, a venue to work on poses that give you trouble, connection with a teacher on a personal level, an opportunity to talk one on one about life-related issues and the list goes on. Sometimes the body of the session is spent sitting and talking about how the yoga of life, yamas and niyamas, are playing out in a student’s life.  Other times we sweat through the class working toward balancing upsidedown. 

One way to have a private class is in a studio setting, another is for the teacher to come to your home.  I’ve taught many private classes over the years and what I notice most is that people simply need to be reassured.  “Is this right?” they ask.  “Should I be able to do this pose by now?”  they worry.  “Can you look at me in down dog and see if my shoulders are square?” is the concern.  It’s such a wonderful way to have a relationship with someone: in a peaceful environment with no one else to compare yourself to, being able to request information about postures or get clarifications on philosophy. 

When I’m back in my group teaching scenario and the room gets a bit full and students start to panic about not having enough room, I always quote my NYC Buddhist teacher as we squeazed into my little office for yoga, “Don’t worry, you only need the space of your mat.”

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.
Buddha
dha