Yoga teacher training programs cover a lot of ground, don't they? But often the concepts introduced are delivered as just that—an introduction. A lot of yoga teachers—both new and seasoned—want to expand their offerings by teaching private yoga sessions and are looking for some guidance. Private yoga lessons offer an opportunity for teachers to expand their teachings into individualized work that expresses their unique philosophies and voices while supporting the well-being of their clients in a one-on-one capacity through customized instruction.
Private yoga sessions are beneficial for private clients and private yoga teachers alike. Students receive customized teaching, modifications, and homework assignments that deepen their connection to self and are designed to help them reach their yoga and life objectives. Teachers are able to pinpoint and focus on the demographics and aspects of practice that they'd most like to teach, leading to greater job satisfaction. Additionally, teaching private yoga lessons provides instructors with unique opportunities to further hone their teaching skills, especially the ability to sequence to the individual needs of their client. And it establishes another revenue stream in your yoga business, often at a higher price point than other yoga offerings, and requires you to step into your role as entrepreneur as you find private clients and cultivate sessions that lead to long-term private yoga relationships.
If you're interested in teaching private yoga lessons, here's some insight you may not have gathered in yoga school.
Lesson #1: Know Thy Ideal Clients
Understanding who you want to work with and what obstacles you are able to assist them in navigating is key for a private yoga teacher. When you are able to highlight the demographic(s) that you gravitate toward teaching and are most passionate about helping, a sense of alignment enters each of your efforts. You are able to speak clearly about the benefits of your one-on-one sessions, and you can focus on targeted marketing efforts that speak to and attract your ideal clients. To help you uncover who you want to work with, start by bringing to mind the clients and students you enjoy working with right now, and ask yourself why you enjoy working with them. When I started teaching private yoga lessons, I gravitated toward working with triathletes because I was a swimming coach, so working with people who were (in part) training to swim competitively was intriguing for me. After working with athletes individually, helping them to refine their yoga practices through private sessions, I realized that my true passion was to teach people how to create their own home practice. I began to market my private sessions that way, and as a result attracted clients whose primary interests were developing home practices. As I got clearer about my "why," my "who" evolved. Starting with my natural interests and passions paved the way for my ideal client to emerge and for me to piece together my niche. That will be a great starting place!
Understanding who you want to work with and what obstacles you are able to assist them in navigating is key for a private yoga teacher.
Lesson #2: Do As Professionals Do
As private yoga teachers, we are delivering a customized level of yoga teaching. The added value of individualized attention and instruction comes at a higher price point than group work due to its one-on-one nature. Notice the business practices and habits of established health and wellness professionals and tune in to the overarching themes present in their communications and customer experience processes. Mirror the components that strike you as professional in their work—like how they communicate, how they present themselves, how available they are for their clients, and how they create a pleasant client experience.
Lesson #3: Have an Evaluation Process
Private yoga sessions are not the same as your regular classes. As a teacher who offers individualized instruction, it’s a disservice to both you and your clients to teach one-on-one lessons in the same way you would teach a group. Private yoga teachers should perform an evaluation process at the start of each potential client relationship. This sets the tone for the work that lies ahead. Whether you evaluate clients with a range of motion assessment; move them through a set sequence of yoga poses; or have a lengthy conversation about their health history, goals, and personal background (I highly suggest all three as part of your first-session protocol), you want to implement an evaluation process that outlines how you’ll customize your instruction for your clients' individual needs.
Lesson #4: Be a Problem Solver
Our clients often come to us to address problems or obstacles they are working on in their lives. Yoga may play a role in helping them to overcome the mental, emotional, and physical obstacles that are present in their lives. It may also help them to discover or enhance a certain quality that they are looking to fold into their lives, like peace, strength, or compassion; or perhaps a physical sensation such as increased flexibility or reduced pain; and it can boost their chances of achieving their personal goals. In addition to being private yoga teachers, we are problem solvers who deftly integrate and coordinate asana, pranayama, and meditation into the context of our clients' burgeoning self-care regimens.
While it's true that yoga teachers are not equipped to solve every problem, we are positioned to be expert problem solvers in our chosen areas of focus.
(And when you come across something that's outside of your scope or practice or area of expertise, don't be shy about referring clients to your colleagues and to skilled providers and practitioners in other modalities as needed).
Lesson #5: Know Your Value
Even the most confident of private yoga teachers can struggle when it comes to deciding what to charge for private yoga sessions and how to create pricing for private yoga packages. Beyond charging what you are worth, understanding your value as an expert yoga teacher who specializes in one-on-one work is crucial to having meaningful conversations with potential clients. If you are struggling with setting price points first, acknowledge your worth as a private yoga expert. One of my favorite money-mindset mantras is “I welcome abundance, and with this invitation comes clients, opportunities, and financial compensation for my skills and teachings.” As you become more confident in your teachings and the service you offer, continue to evaluate the value you deliver during your sessions and adjust your prices accordingly.
Beyond charging what you are worth, understanding your value as an expert yoga teacher who specializes in one-on-one work is crucial to having meaningful conversations with potential clients.
Like many of the subjects covered in yoga teacher trainings, teaching private yoga lessons is an expansive topic in its own right. The key to building a thriving practice teaching private yoga lessons relies on implementing concepts and principles that are designed to last long-term due to their ease, efficacy, and consistent refinement while allowing space for your teaching and business to evolve over time. Viewing the business of yoga as a practice in its own right will allow you to create relationships with the students you’d like to work with, be a professional problem solver, craft evaluation processes that get to the heart of what your clients need in their lives (and then delivering practices and tools that meet those needs), and address any mindset limitations that may hold you back from arriving fully as a private yoga teacher and yoga business entrepreneur.