What is private yoga training, anyway?


People sometimes ask what it is that I do. Do I train yoga teachers? Private yoga classes? Personal training? I’m something of a hybrid—I’m a personal trainer who uses yoga to help people live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

I became a personal trainer years before I became a yoga teacher—after searching unsuccessfully for work as a freelance graphic artist while living in rural North Carolina. The time seemed right to make a career switch. I decided to get my certification as a personal trainer. A year or so later, group of women in Wadesboro, NC asked me to teach them yoga. The Wadesboro Woohoo Yoga Club still practices! You can read more about my story here.

I love working one-on-one with people. Everyone is unique and requires a creative approach when developing a fitness program for him or her. As a personal trainer, I assess each person who comes to me. First, he or she fills out a medical history. I check biometrics—pulse, blood pressure, weight, body fat percentage, and measurement of waist and other circumferences. I then check cardiovascular fitness with a step test, muscular endurance with pushups and crunches, and flexibility with various other tests. I also test for functional fitness—how easily one can do lunges, squats, toe touches, and arm raises. Lastly, we talk. I mostly listen. 

I then assess this person’s willingness to change and to improve their health through yoga and fitness. Sometimes people want to change, but they aren’t willing to change anything about their life, such as their work and free time balance, eating habits, and other variables that fill a day’s time. If one wants change, one must change something!

During our talk, the client relates his or her fitness history, preferences, and goals. With this information as a baseline, I write a report with all the calculations, then consider deeply what can be done to reach the goals in the most time-efficient way possible. The program must be something they want and enjoy, wrapped in what they need. Some resistance training, maybe some high intensity interval training, or possible just working toward those. The program will include yoga, as well as supplemental exercises.

Yoga is a type of body-weight movement that can build a strong and flexible body, as well as integrate the mind, body, and breath, leading to mastery. I don’t know of any other fitness regimen that offers as much as yoga.

Once we begin training, we meet at least once a week, and the client is asked to commit to doing homework everyday, with one day of rest.

Beginners who come to me first learn basic yoga poses while developing a habit of daily exercise, breathing, and meditation. Their strength and flexibility increases, as does their pleasure at using their bodies and calming their minds.

Intermediate clients need to learn to overcome their particular obstacles. (Yoga Sutra 1.30-1.32) Some need discipline, while some need to improve their diets or overcome an injury.

Advanced students may already be masters at a sport besides yoga. They need yoga to bring the body into balance with crosstraining, and meditation to teach the mind to work with the body, developing concentration, relaxation, and visualization skills. They need to look at their mental chatter and develop positive self talk, and make training a ritualized habit.

There’s no doubt, and plenty of scientific proof, that daily exercise, some of it intense, increases longevity and decreases morbidty. One of my heroes, Jack Lalanne, said: “Virtually everything we do in life is a matter of habit. Habits make us who we are. Why not change your habits to better your life?” A daily yoga habit gives you the strength, flexibility, and peace of mind to age well.

Let me give you a fitness assessment and design a program for you. Contact me now.

leslie snowComment