Why Seek Private Individual or Group Instruction?
To Own or Rent?
This is an opportunity to own a specific fundamental yoga practice; the idea is for your practice to become a beautiful gift of internal and external cleansing that you can give yourself into deep old age, without the need for a teacher, and which can be done wherever there is space for a yoga mat. I help you learn and memorize the specific practice and I closely monitor your progress, encouraging your acquisition of the tools to become your own best yoga teacher – through the long-term process of keenly doing and observing your own practice consistently over time. Stated another way, I teach people “the practice” — but as importantly, I help them learn “to practice,” in a way that is pleasant and meditative.
Most of my students who are physically capable of practicing independently, do so between lessons. (Most people I have known who attend yoga classes at studios rarely or never practice on their own.) My students can begin practicing safely and confidently on their own the day after they take the Introduction with me.
A person who does not want to be tasked with practicing on their own, but has a serious interest in learning the specific practice and experiencing its healing effects, should take at least two lessons per week, and more if possible.
The Problems of Age and Location
Brenda Bailey lives 40 minutes outside Richmond in an area where there are no yoga studios. In 2006 she was diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica (chronic pain throughout the muscles and joints). She began taking Prednisone as prescribed, but within a year the side effects became unbearable. She stopped taking the steroid against her doctor’s advice and began researching and pursuing holistic measures, experimenting with dietary changes and exercise therapy. I traveled to Brenda once per month for her first two years. After two years of consistent self-practice with periodic lessons, Brenda proclaimed yoga the “crown jewel” of her treatment. No other therapy or exercise plan had ever been so beneficial to her overall sense of physical wellbeing. A guided group yoga class would not be of similar benefit to most people her age who are new to yoga. Individual instruction enables appropriate modifications in breathing, bending and stretching, and eliminates any sense of competition.
Brenda was 70 when we began lessons. In July 2018, now in her 80’s, Brenda was featured in the Robb Report.
The Problem of Medical Conditions
I enjoy helping people who have conditions such as MS, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Guillain-Barre syndrome, sight impairment, obesity, etc. Many people need individual attention to learn how to modify aspects of the practice in order to optimize their experience of it, and some even need ongoing physical assistance in order to practice.
The Problem of Being Too Busy
Many people have crowded or variable schedules that do not coincide with the class times offered at yoga studios. I am able to work out lesson times for the busiest people in order to make the learning process as convenient and efficient as possible. I can come to you (or you can come to the studio) and the days and times for ongoing lessons need not fit any pattern.
The Problem of Perceptions
I enjoy introducing people to this practice regardless of political persuasion, religious beliefs, race, sexual orientation, or habits of consumption. This is a non- dogmatic and non-sectarian, non-discursive, existential moving meditation on the breath. We all have bodies and minds that will benefit from this practice of meditative deep breathing, bending, balancing and lifting, no matter our age or physical limitations. There is nothing about this practice that conflicts with any religion or with atheism.
An Opportunity for Young People
Many times I have given young people just a few lessons, or even just the Introductory Lesson and Demonstration, before they feel inspired and well enough informed to move on to group classes. And for their own reasons, before going to a studio, young people sometimes wish to continue private lessons until they know the full practice. It is perfectly appropriate to schedule the Introduction and Demonstration even if you believe it unlikely that you will continue private lessons. See Ryan Gorman.
A Great Party Idea
Having a group introduction to this practice is a fun way to kick off a summertime pool party. By the time I leave (before the real party starts), everyone is in good spirits and has learned a specific 10-minute yoga practice they can do on their own – henceforth with their friends’ moral support!
What if I am in Richmond temporarily?
Mark Finlayson was visiting Richmond from England in September 2008. He was 42 at the time, husband, father of three, executive in the shipping industry, and skeptical of yoga, but curious – curious mainly because his back had been causing him pain for years. I gave Mark the Introduction and Demonstration, and ever since, Mark has practiced Ashtanga Yoga on his own, currently for about an hour a day. He has never been to a yoga studio, as he lives an inconvenient distance from London. However, I sent him Richard Freeman’s instructional DVDs and David Swenson’s Practice Manual, and in 2009, I gave Mark a second lesson and then practiced side by side with him. Mark’s back is healed and he is experiencing holistic benefits far greater than he had imagined possible.
Can I learn yoga from a book or video?
Yoga is difficult to learn from a book or video without feedback from a teacher. The Introduction and Demonstration will help you absorb a proper sense of the practice, enhancing any effort to learn further from books and videos.