Keya BridgeIn this day and age, when we want to do yoga, we grab our mats and head off to a yoga studio, gym or even online to get our yoga fix. (You can practice online with me every week for free here!)

But did you know that yoga was originally designed to be taught from teacher directly to student in a 1-on-1 situation?

This is because yoga is really meant to be MORE than just an exercise routine. It’s meant to be a tool to keep your mind, body and spirit healthy. Think of it as ancient preventative medicine.

Now because everyone is different, with different temperaments, bodies and abilities, yoga teachers of old knew that in order for their students to get the MOST from their yoga practice, they had to take a more personalized and custom approach to their instruction.

We know already that there are LOTS of benefits to practicing yoga regularly. Going to a class that is in alignment with your ability can help you de-stress, lower your blood pressure, increase your energy, bring you better quality of sleep and just generally help you to enjoy life more!

That’s all good stuff right? But not everyone wants the expense or time of a private yoga session.

So how do you get the MOST out of your time on the mat if you don’t have the time (or budget) to hire a personal yoga guru?

Here are 4 ideas:

1. START AT A STUDIO

There are many places that offer high quality yoga classes. From fitness centers to local community centers. However, after teaching in fitness centers myself for the last 8 years I‘ve come to realize that the best instruction (and individual attention) comes from a yoga studio.

Try a studio that offers many styles of yoga for many different types of personalities and goals. This will give you the opportunity to try out different types of yoga practices so you can figure out which style best suits your needs.

For instance, if you are looking for more of a workout then a vinyasa practice might be your thing. If you are a runner and need more stretching then a yin class might be for you. If you just want to relax then try a restorative class.

The most important part about going to a studio is that you feel safe and supported. Yoga can be a physically AND emotionally challenging practice, so you want to feel safe where ever you choose to roll out your mat.

2. BUDDY UP WITH THE TEACHERS

Once you’ve found a yoga studio you like, start to get friendly with the teachers. We teachers want to help you get the most out of your practice, so ask us all the questions you want.

The more questions you ask and information you give about yourself, the more your teacher gets to know you and can start adding in postures that she thinks may be helpful to you.

I do this all the time with my students. At the beginning of my local classes I always ask them what they want to work on and how they are feeling. I listen to the conversations they have with other students before and after class, so that I can better sequence poses that will help them with their current issues.

Even for my online yoga classes, I regularly ask the women in my Yoga Mamas Facebook group what they want to work on when they practice with me online.  I’m more than happy to add those poses to my classes.

And that’s exactly what a good yoga teacher in a studio will do for you and your classmates. She will cater her teaching to the students in the class. So be sure you come to class regularly to get most benefit.

3. PRACTICE REGULARLY

Here’s the thing. You’ll never get much out of ANYTHING if you only do it some of the time – right? Yoga is no different!

If you go to a studio class, make sure you go at least once a week (better if you go 2 or 3 times a week).

If this is too much, because you have to find a sitter for the kids or the classes don’t fit your schedule for other reasons try practicing at home.

There are lots of benefits to a home practice. I wrote about some of those benefits here.  One easy and quick way to establish a home yoga practice is to use a DVD or do an online class. Feel free to join me for my free online yoga classes every Wednesday!.

4. INVEST IN PRIVATE INSTRUCTION

Yoga was meant to be taught from one teacher to one student. In many yoga traditions, like Ashtanga, the student only learns 1 pose of the sequence at a time. Only when she has mastered that pose, can she move on to the next!

There is just nothing better than telling a qualified yoga teacher what you need and what your goals are, and then have her create a practice specifically to meet those goals and needs.

On top of that, a good private teacher will not only give you that special attention during your session, but afterwards she will follow up with you and hold you accountable to the goals you’ve set for yourself!

It’s like having a health or fitness coach whose only job is to help you be your best Self….only she’s using yoga to help you meet your goals!

As moms, we have to make the best out of the time we get to take care of ourselves. And I hope these 4 tips will help you get the most out of your yoga practices.