Yoga with Rachael 1-2-1 yogaI have now finished my 1-2-1 yoga teacher training course with Kate Ellis and I’d like to thank all the students who took me up on my special offer of 4 private yoga sessions.  I have learnt so much from working with these students individually and it has given me a great opportunity to put into practice many of the teaching techniques that we explored on Kate’s course (judging from the feedback many of the students feel that they have also benefited! – check out my testimonials page).

The 1-2-1 class is, of course, the way that yoga was originally taught in India, however in the West, yoga classes have evolved to become bigger and bigger, and whilst there are many positive points to making yoga accessible to more people, it has been very interesting for me to study and explore the benefits of the original 1-2-1 structure in more depth.  In the last few months I have come to appreciate more fully the value of the relationship between teacher and student in the context of 1-2-1 classes.  The teacher is able to witness the student more clearly within the ‘container’ of this relationship, and this in itself can help bring the student to greater levels of awareness within his/her own practice.  For example, when the student is practising a forward bend, the teacher may simply touch the student’s spine in a place where tension can be seen to have accumulated and this can help the student to identify and bring consciousness to an area where there may have been a lack of awareness – this in itself will help the student to begin to inhabit his/her own body more fully.  As Kate Ellis puts it: “When someone is holding the space of attention with you it amplifies your own awareness”.

On the 1-2-1 course, I also had the pleasure of witnessing how teaching/studying yoga in a 1-2-1 context gives us the freedom to really explore more fully our relationship to and existence within our own bodies: when a student encounters some form of ‘obstacle’ in his/her practice, the skillful teacher can to use this as an opportunity to pause and investigate the obstacle, and possibly ‘dial back’ to more simplified or specialised poses/techniques to help the student process and experience greater connection within his/her own body.  This is often just not possible in a group class where a more structured and instructional approach is usually necessary.  In this way the 1-2-1 student’s practice and sense of awareness deepens far quicker than if he/she were only taking group classes or self-practice.

There are so many different reasons that people decide to take 1-2-1 classes: to help deepen an already existing practice, as a supplement to regular group classes, to help them get through a period of pain or suffering, to deal with specific injury or physical issues that they have encountered, to complement other forms of physical training, simply to ‘treat’ themselves or to help them relax, to give them the confidence to join a group class…whatever the reason,  the 1-2-1 structure works especially well for yoga because the ‘container’ of the student-teacher relationship enables the teacher to meet the student exactly where he/she is, with all his/her idiosyncracies and specific requirements, and provide all the necessary support, feedback and individualised challenges.

I plan to deepen and extend my experience of 1-2-1 teaching and I will continue to run ‘special offers’ on 1-2-1 classes from time-to-time so that they are more accessible to all yoga students (take a look at my Private Classes page and Part I of this article on 1-2-1 teaching for more info).