How To Shift From Teaching Group Yoga Classes To Private Lessons

Written by Kate Connell

As a mentor to private yoga teachers, I’ve seen and heard it all from yoga educators who want to offer private classes but don’t know where to start. Whether it's how to fill up their schedule with enough privates to pay the bills, or knowing the essential elements a teacher needs to stand out, here are five tips I wish every private yoga teacher knew!

1. Start with the regular students you already have, and build from there.

You already have a student base of some kind — group classes, workshop attendees, people you teach in corporate settings, or even for free — think of this group of people and identify who would be good a fit to work with you one on one.

Maybe you have a few students who are plateauing in group classes and could benefit from private instruction in order to grow. Or it's possible you have some students who could use more individualized work that could help further their development. Perhaps you’ve had some potential clients inquire about working with you privately already.

Start with this group of students and let them know that you are accepting new clients for private yoga sessions and invite them to work with you. Be confident in knowing that your students already gravitate towards your offerings because they love how you share yoga!

2. Know which students you are uniquely positioned to help the most.

Take a quick inventory of your most loyal students — the ones you love to see showing up to class, and the ones that can’t stop sharing the benefits of your class with their friends. It’s likely that these select yogis are the ones that you like to work with the most and are already positioned to help the best. They may share a common problem or ailment with you, or they may have similar personality traits or lifestyle viewpoints. And likely, they collectively make up a type of person that you are best suited through training, preference, and experience to help.

Yoga teachers have long hung onto the viewpoint that they want to help everyone and share the benefits of yoga with each person they come across — and this is a noble and beautiful thought —  but you do your best work when you help the exact people you are meant to serve, leaving others for the teacher that is best meant to serve them.

3. Create a schedule of when you will see clients.

Outlining the days and times that you will see clients before you have a full client docket, can seem unnecessary when a blank schedule is staring back at you. But, having a clear schedule that dictates when you will work with clients allows you to fill those spots as they funnel in and work on filling the slots that remain open.

Having a clear schedule also helps you as the teacher create boundaries, and design a schedule that works within the structure of your dream life and business so you have time to devote yourself to other aspects of your teaching and business, and your life.

Pull out your calendar and outline a few hours each week to see private yoga clients. Have in mind an optimum schedule that you’d like to have now, and also one you’d like shift to as a goal. If you find yourself saying yes all the time, you’ll end up saying no to some other important things. Creating a solid schedule that gives you room to usher in new clients won't negate your chances of staying true to other aspects of your life that you need to focus on.

4. Get familiar with "mindful marketing."

It’s time the yoga world reframes its thoughts on marketing and starts looking at it as a way of creating community. This way, we give value to the individuals we can help best and assist them in answering their trickiest problems, before they even sign up for our sessions.

Start small when it comes to marketing. Start a blog. Have consistency and regularity (as well as kick-ass content!) with your email newsletter. Try meeting some people who are doing similar work so you can connect, get to know them, and share in the woo-hoos and difficulties of growing a private teaching practice.

5. Create class packages, not just single sessions.

It can be tempting (and easier) to sell someone on a one-time private yoga lesson. But in the long run, it can be frustrating to have a lot of one-time clients with few that return in the long run. Having people opt-in to buy a package of yoga sessions, creates a commitment of time and energy, which is the first step in making sure that the people who work with you are the right fit for the transformative one-on-one work that lies ahead.

Start crafting a package for your private yoga sessions. If it feels authentic to you, add some bonuses to your package or a slight discount for the larger packages you offer.

What tips do you wish you knew when you started teaching private yoga? What are the biggest questions you have about cultivating and sustaining an abundant private yoga teaching practice? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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