How I Met My Hamstrings: Behind the Scenes of a Private Yoga Lesson (And Why You Should Probably Get One): Part I

October 13, 2011 / Aaron


A few weeks ago, I had my first private yoga lesson.

I wanted to make sure I had all my basics covered, so that I could move into more challenging poses with ta solid foundation. I didn't want to learn any bad habits, and I felt like I was ready for the "next step" in yoga.

So, I show up to the studio, and to warm up, I have to get into headstand and touch my feet to the floor and back up again, five times. I'm a little nervous about the piking part, but my headstand has felt strong for months, so I figure I'll give it a try.

Cue humble pie.

First off, I hadn't been doing headstand properly. I didn't realize there was a "proper" way, I thought as long as your feet went over your head and you didn't topple over onto anyone, you were golden. I was wrong. My elbows were too far apart, my head was too close to my hands, it was a disaster.

Here's where a private lesson starts looking different from a group class: EVERY little detail gets serious attention. In a group of 15 students, no instructor has the time to kneel down by you, skooch your elbows into exactly the right position, and stand behind you as you lift your feet up. In a private lesson, everything gets adjusted precisely, and when I picked up my shaking legs, the instructor was right behind me, guiding my hips, pointing out things I didn't even notice (like, apparently I was leaning more on one elbow than the other). Nothing was overlooked. I got massaged every time I took a break. I started to realize just how much I was in for, and I was loving it.

Coming Up: Sun Salutations (And you thought they were easy!)