Student as teacher

October 1, 2014

Would it surprise you to hear me say I love it when I only have one student come to a class?


That is, once I push any whimpering from my ego to one side and get on with the practice.  I call it a practice, not a class because it is really weird to even try to teach 1 or 2 people in the same way that I would teach 3 or more, and any lesson plan I had will probably go straight out the window.


More likely the lucky student will be treated to a practice that is tailored just for them.  They may even get some body work done if they've mentioned a specific ache or pain.  Given I charge $60 for a 45 minute private session and group classes cost between $15-$18 for 75 minutes it's pretty easy to see the benefit for the student.....but why am I happy about this turnout?


While it is safe to say that my elation about the situation is higher straight after the practice, rather than when doing my accounts - the value of this opportunity to me as a teacher is priceless.  I get the chance to figure out how I can help you with yoga.  Every time we workshop a pose or try to improve a specific part of your practice and you can give me feedback about how it feels for you - what works, what doesn't - you're teaching me.  You teach me about alignment, which cues probably work for most people and which ones are trickier for you to embody.  You teach me how your body responds to certain instruction and how that can be applied to my other students.  And you're more likely to get fascial connective tissue release directly from me, rather than a wooden block - this isn't something I get to practice in a group class, so it's nice for me to see how you respond to it.  Basically you help me to refine my teaching.


Certainly every class I teach helps with all of these things - it's called experience.  But a one-on-one practice gets me to sit up and pay a lot more attention to the one student in front of me.  I have to be on my game and give that dedicated soul what they need, I can't just roll out a routine that suits most people and covers most bases - I have to gauge her responses both verbal and non-verbal and design the practice on the spot to suit her.


Hopefully that hasn't made my regular classes sound shit, I do adapt them on the fly for groups and I do respond to your individual needs as best I can - it's just different in a group dynamic.  And in case you haven't experienced it, that fascial release in the piriformis using a wooden block is actually epic*.


I also get these benefits from my private sessions - but to be honest, if you're paying $60 for 45 minutes I feel more pressure to make sure I don't waste your time or your money - I also then spend time typing up your programme and emailing it to you and contacting you to see how it’s all going.


So while it is pretty rare, if you happen to rock up to class one day and you're the only student there, you are in for a treat.  I'll probably draw my mat up alongside yours too and join in for a bit more of the practice than I usually would.


*For the sake of clarity, I will never directly perform a piriformis release on you, just like I will never actually adjust the lift in your groin; we're just not ever going to be that close, I hope that's ok.






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