Hiring a personal yoga instructor is a unique opportunity to deepen your practice at your own pace, focus on your specific needs (body, mind, and spirit), and cultivate a special relationship with someone who can support you along your yoga journey. Regardless of why you’ve chosen to practice at home, there are many ways that you can enhance this personal experience.
1. Lighting. Use natural light to your advantage. If you are practising during the day or early evening, try to choose a location with natural light, or take your practice outside. If you prefer softer light, dim your lights or use candles to create more ambience in your space.
2. Air. Open a window before or during your session. It’s difficult to practice pranayama and focus on your breath if your space lacks fresh air or feels stuffy. Try enhancing the mood of your space by using light scented candles, an air diffuser with your favourite essential oils, or burning some incense before your session.
3. Essential Oils. These highly concentrated natural oils come from plants and as such, are organic, healthy, and can enhance your mood, space, and natural environment. You can use a few drops on your yoga props (think lavender for eye pillows, peppermint on blocks, etc.), spritz a mixture of your favourite essential oil and distilled water onto your yoga mat, or yoga towel, rub some lovingly on the inside of your wrists or temples, or use an essential oil diffuser while you practice. Depending on the oil you choose, you can quickly transform your living room/basement/hallway into a personal yoga space for increased energy, or relaxation.
Some of my favourites:
Lemon or peppermint – for more focus and energy
Eucalyptus – when you’re feeling a bit under the weather
Lavender – when you want your entire practice to feel like savasana
4. Temperature. Make sure that you are comfortable in your space. Turn on a fireplace or heat source in cool spaces, or keep a set of yoga blankets nearby for restorative poses and savasana. Unless you’re super bendy, your body will be more relaxed and willing to move in a warmer space.
5. Music. Play some quiet music during your session. Depending on the type of yoga you are practicing, this can be your favourite chill, classical, or energizing playlist. If you’re unsure of what is appropriate, ask your yoga teacher for suggestions.
6. Stay hydrated. You already know that you need to keep hydrated before, during, and after your practice, but instead of just reaching for a glass of water, try keeping some warm water with lemon, or your favourite cup of herbal tea nearby. It’s amazing what the comforts of a warm mug in your hands can do to help you relax.
7. Invest in your practice. Although most private yoga instructors will bring a limited supply of props with them, you may wish to invest in props that you are using on a regular basis. This usually includes a mat, 1 or 2 blocks, strap, bolster, eye pillow, and blanket. Having your own set of props allows you to set up your space before your instructor arrives, use the props in the best way for you with the knowledge that they are your own (for some props such as mats and eye pillows, it is more sanitary to have your own), and allows you to further your practice until your next session. If you are unsure of where to buy yoga props, check if your yoga instructor sells them, or can direct you.
Remember that this session is for you. Before your instructor arrives, put away or turn off distractions and let others know that this is your dedicated you time (this includes pets). Set aside enough time and space for your yoga session. If you have any injuries or are experiencing discomfort, let your instructor know so that he or she can help you to have a safe and comfortable practice.
Have a creative way to personalise your practice? Please share how you make your private yoga sessions even better!