Group Class? Or Private Session?
I’ve heard this question repeated over the years and it really varies from person to person. Throughout my career I’ve taken a lot of movement based classes and I’ve also taken a lot of private sessions. There is a real benefit to both. Times when my body was in dire need of a tuneup I took only private sessions for months at a time. The end result has paid for itself well into the future, giving me information that has paved the way for how I work in my body now. Other times when I was working on a budget I would take group class. There can be something truly powerful about being in a group and the space that it provides leads to self discovery in surprising ways. I have many heartfelt memories of moments in class when a shift happened or a new connection was made. Let’s look at some key points to see what works for you.
Group classes: it’s helpful if the class meets you at your level, you feel successful and you like the instructor. This typically runs on a set schedule, easy to budget for and has less hands on. That means you’re self correcting and if you’re working in a misalignment, this possibly will not be seen by the instructor. Having taught group dance, tower, mat and reformer classes, I really needed to keep the class moving and had little time to correct every individual. So if I saw someone struggling or dealing with injuries, I would suggest taking a few private sessions to establish a baseline for the work.
Private sessions: this is tailored to your body and level. Scheduling can be more flexible than a class and if you’re working with some tight finances you can always ask if there are discounts available. A series of private sessions can be invaluable when you are recovering from an injury, surgery, pregnancy, chronic condition or want to get a foundation for how you will be working in group classes. Working privately opens up an opportunity to dig deep into your movement habits and imbalances leading to better joint tracking and decreased pain.
So which is it? It might be that you do both or switch between the two. In the end, keep in mind that investing in your body, like going to the dentist or doctor is something that your future self, years later will thank you for.