Emily?s approach to teaching beautiful private yoga lessons that keep her 10 clients per week signing up for more.
Confidence, personalization, structure & improvisation were my keys to 10 private clients per week
Note: This article focuses on Emily?s approach to teaching private lessons. If you?re seeking information on how to find private clients to work with, read her article How To Get Private Yoga Clients.
Most yoga teachers would love to teach more private lessons if they could just figure out how. As a personal yoga instructor, I get to create my own hours, build close meaningful relationships with my clients, and earn way more income than I can teaching groups (I currently earn three times as much as I would working for the studios in my area).
As yoga at large becomes more popular and mainstream across the nation, the demand for private yoga instruction also grows exponentially. There are likely hundreds of people in your vicinity who would love to receive private yoga instruction. Most yoga teachers don?t niche in private yoga, so if you choose to build a private yoga business like I did with Private Yoga Brooklyn, you could have very little competition and an easy time filling up with high paying clients.
Unfortunately, private yoga tends to be the least covered topic in teacher trainings, leaving teachers feeling completely unprepared and confused about how to teach private yoga lessons.
As a business of yoga coach I have observed that as yoga teachers set on the path toward growing their private clientele, one of the biggest obstacles they face is a lack of confidence about how to approach teaching a private lesson.
Here are my top three tips for how you can teach an amazing private yoga lesson. By following this approach, I have been able to grow my own private yoga business to 7?10 consistent clients per week.
I listen closely to my clients physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and personalize their sessions
Know Your Client
The more we get to know our clients, the more we can tailor and personalize their sessions so that they get a more valuable experience than they would in a group class.
On the introductory session I always bring an intake form with some questions about their health and lifestyle. I study the form to understand my new client, but even more importantly I spend some time at the beginning of the session engaging in conversation with them. I ask them open-ended questions like ?How much yoga experience do you have?? and ?What motivated you to seek private lessons?? and I listen closely to not just hear but understand their replies.
As you get to know your client, you can learn how to best serve them with your teaching. You may discover that they are seeking more of a restorative yoga experience than an active one. You may learn that they have a history of back pain and choose to offer poses that are helpful for that issue. Sometimes we learn that the client has issues we do not feel prepared to address. You can then refer them to a more experienced teacher, or to a medical professional if necessary. Always be a professional and practice Ahimsa (Non-harming).
Getting to know your private yoga clients will help them feel seen, heard, and understood, and set them up for feeling safe as they explore their body and try new things in your care.
Bring Your Best Self To Every Session
When you teach a private lesson, you are working up close and personal with your client. They will notice if you are tired, hungry, bored, or distracted, and it will affect the way you teach and the way they feel. Show up to teaching a private lesson as your very best self. Be rested, fed, focused, and enthusiastic.
Teaching private yoga is not just about the way you teach ? it?s about the way you are. If you are doing an introductory session with a prospective regular client, they are mostly interested to see how comfortable they feel working with you. This is especially true if they will be inviting you into their home or office to work with them. Show up feeling great, looking great, with an open heart and a smile. The client needs to fall in love with working with you, not just with doing yoga.
This means you need to be confident! While there is always more to learn and room to improve as a teacher, you need to trust that you are an expert and have a ton of value to bring to private sessions with your clients. If you are still developing confidence as a teacher, you may want to consider teaching private lessons to beginners. If you have been through at least a 200-hour teacher training, you are definitely way more of an expert in yoga than someone just beginning their practice.
To Sequence or Not To Sequence? That Is The Question!
Teachers often ask me about my approach to sequencing for private lessons. Every teacher has their own unique approach to creating yoga sequences, and I believe that should be no different when it comes to teaching private lessons. My approach to sequencing for private lessons is just one model of possibility and I encourage you to discover what feels best to you.
My approach to sequencing for a private lesson is similar to how I sequence for a group class. The major difference is that I am creating a sequence with the specific client and everything I know about them in mind. I consider their physical needs as well as their emotional and spiritual needs.
Here?s a case study example of the type of client that I work with often and how I would plan a yoga sequence for a session with her:
Client: Joan is 50 years old. She has an ?intermediate? yoga practice. She knows more than just the basics from about 5 years of sporadic practice but has never committed to practicing regularly for long enough to develop an ?advanced? practice. Joan is in good overall health but experiences chronic low back pain and has digestive issues somewhat often. She has a very busy high level corporate job, three children, a dog and a cat. She feels overworked, spread thin, and tired. She has expressed wanting to do private yoga to have a regular self care practice in her life, to stretch, to feel healthy, and to stay in shape.
Sequence: My sequence for Joan would vary from session to session, depending on her energy on the particular day. On days when Joan feels more rested and energetic, I would lead her in an intermediate, slow flow with poses that gently stretch the low back, like twists, backbends, and forward bends. I would include poses that support healthy digestion like Apanasana and Virasana. On days when I can tell that Joan is clearly exhausted and needs to rest, I would guide her in more Yin and Restorative poses like Supported Balasana or Supta Virasana.
Teaching private yoga requires a balance of planning sequences and improvising in the moment, just like teaching groups does. I often plan a full sequence for a private session, only to arrive to work with my client and realize that in the moment they have need for a very different type of session. Most often this shows up when I have planned an active sequence but arrive to learn that the client feels tired and prefers to practice restoratively.
I plan but I don?t overplan! Teaching yoga requires surrendering to the possibility that the plan may need to change. I also recommend that teachers wanting to work privately seek yoga education in both active (Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, etc.) and passive yoga styles (Yin, Restorative, Gentle, etc.) in order to be able to offer a versatile experience to to their clients.
Private Yoga sequencing requires a balance of planning and improvisation, just like group yoga
You Got This!
Showing up as your best self, getting to know your clients, and finding a balance of planning and improvising your sequences are the fundamentals of teaching amazing private yoga lessons. It?s really that simple.
A successful private yoga teacher is confident in herself, trusts that her teaching is a gift to her students, and stays centered in the practice of being in service to others.
With all of this in mind, I believe in you to teach beautiful, healing yoga lessons to as many private clients as you would like to work with, and have a wonderfully successful career as a private yoga teacher.
Need a little more help with building your private yoga business?
- Join Emily?s free Facebook group ?Abundant Yogi Collective? for an abundance of resources, networking, and giveaways.
- Sign up for Emily?s free masterclass: Entrepreneurship 108 using the form below.
Are you seriously ready to focus on growing your private yoga business?
Contact Emily today to find out if you?re a good fit for her coaching programs.
Emily Sussell is the founder of Private Yoga Brooklyn and Abundant Yogi Coaching. She teaches private yoga clients in NYC and coaches yoga teachers globally.