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3 Reasons to Take Yoga out of the Classroom

Written by Lauren Hunsberger

Photography by Taryn Emerick

Lisa Christian found yoga when she started experiencing low back pain after giving birth to her first daughter. Nervous to jump into a class, she signed up for a private yoga session, where she found a safe space to learn a solid foundation for a lifelong practice. As her pain faded, she became hooked. Now a yoga instructor of more than 17 years, she finds joy in helping others with their practice, and she’s especially enthusiastic about the reward of private sessions. Below she shares three reasons (in no particular order) for taking the time to roll out your mat and enjoy a one-on-one lesson.

1. To learn basic poses, proper alignment and modifications.

Private sessions are great for beginners who feel intimidated by joining a group class right away. Getting specific instruction for your body and needs can give budding practitioners the confidence to sign up for any class anywhere. “If you learn yoga with improper alignment, you build muscle memory that’s hard to undo,” Christian says. It’s especially crucial for building solid foundations. “The foundation for downward dog is the hands and feet. For dolphin, it’s the forearms. It’s important to build all the poses from the foundation up, so it’s the first place to look for improper alignment.”

2. Take your practice to a higher level.

Christian says it’s very common for students to feel unsure about how to progress to different levels of yoga—for example, from an intro class to level 2/3. She says private sessions can be great for assisting students with the exact strength-building exercises needed to advance poses like arm balances. “Deep twists can also be challenging because you need to learn how to access more strength in the core, instead of twisting from the shoulders, while still being mindful of the low back,” she says. “It’s a good idea to have assistance when learning them.”

3. Incorporate yoga into injury recovery or prevention.

Christian works with many high-level athletes who spend large amounts of time training for marathons or Ironman competitions. She believes yoga is great for bringing balance back into the body. For instance, with runners who work their quads a lot, it’s important to focus on the hamstrings, which are the reciprocating muscles, as well as the ligaments and tendons that are supporting the major muscles. “It’s really a bummer if someone has been training all year long and then gets injured. Depending on their body or sport, you can help mitigate the chances,” she says.

Before you Flow:

If you’ve signed up for a private session, there are a few things to think about before meeting your instructor. Ask yourself: What are my goals? What would I like to get out of a private session? Realistically, how much time do I have to practice each week? Do I like to practice in the morning or evening? What are a few of my most favorite poses and least favorite?

 

For more information or to sign up for a private yoga session, please email fitness@bellevueclub.com.

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