Providing private, one-on-one yoga classes is one of my favorite ways to share the practice. Each one-on-one class has so much to offer, both to you as the one offering the session, and to your client.
Watching your client progress and grow healthier, stronger, more flexible and confident is incredibly rewarding. Meeting each individual and getting to know them on a more personal level is a tremendous gift.
There's no doubt that offering and providing private yoga sessions will deepen your own practice and confidence as a teacher. Whether you're new to private sessions or have been offering them for some time, consider these 10 tips as you move through each new session with your client.
Of course, you'll notice that each of these 10 tips is easily transferable to all areas of your practice, both on and off the mat. If you give to each person in your life this same attention you will deepen your level of authentic communication, while bringing more meaning to all of your life experiences.
Provide your clients with a quick, yet thorough, intake questionnaire to complete and return prior to your first session. This will give you a basic understanding of your clients' needs, primary health concerns and reasons for seeking your help. You can then develop a sequence specifically designed to meet their individual needs.
2. Slow down.
When you have a full hour or more to spend with one individual, it's especially important to recognize the tremendous power and clarity that comes from slowing down your own body, breath and guidance in order to best respect and respond to the needs of your client.
3. Be attuned to yourself and your client.
Observe your client, her body language, tone of voice, depth of breath, etc. Observe the environment, as well as yourself. Connect with yourself, your environment and your client through this observation and attunement to the energy and purpose of each moment.
4. Take in.
Learn from and be open to gaining insight from your client through each and every pose and pause between the poses. This goes beyond attunement to a deeper level of awareness, openness and trusting in your own innate ability to teach by following your intuition.
5. Let go.
Although you come to each session prepared, be willing to let that go based on numbers 2 through 4 above. Your client is his or her own best teacher; each client will teach you and will give you the opportunity to assist them in creating their own healing yoga experience alongside you.
6. Give out.
Allow knowledge and grace to flow through you; as a yoga teacher, sharing the gift of yoga will naturally percolate up and flow out if you're truly coming from a place of service and loving kindness. Give of yourself, hold nothing back, and trust in the process.
Each time you come to a session, consciously let go of any preconceived ideas or assumptions. See each client as the truly unique individuals they are; create your practice accordingly.
8. Express gratitude.
Express and extend gratitude for your ability to share this gift, for your client's being ability to receive the gift, and for all of the unseen gifts cultivated through this service.
9. Grow and expand.
Understand that you're learning more than your client. As you prepare, slow down, tune in, let go, give out, individualize, express gratitude as you learn, and grow in countless ways on countless levels.
Each and every time you come to the mat, meet a client, share the gift of yoga … repeat steps 1 through 9.