5 Things You Should Know About Teaching PRIVATE Yoga Classes

Kate Connell
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My perception of private yoga lessons was skewed when I first started my teacher training journey.

 
Like many, I viewed private yoga classes as a yoga class for a party of one. I imagined that they ran similar to group classes except the class was sequenced to the individual’s needs and there was just two people: student and teacher.
 
As I learned in my teacher training and from the experience of working with private clients thereafter, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, many yoga teachers set up their private sessions in this way, but the true nature of private yoga lessons is designed to be so much more than a group yoga class format taught to an individual.
 
My school of thought and the philosophies that I teach my clients through my work on The Art Of Teaching Private Yoga focuses on the importance of customized sequences and sessions that at the core are relationship centered. The very sentiment of private yoga lessons are based on some key cornerstones that make individual yoga teaching incredibly valuable, beneficial, and meaningful for both client and teacher.
 
Here are five things you should know about teaching private yoga classes:
 

There’s vulnerability

Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from teaching yoga hasn’t been the unraveling of technical information found in anatomy books or through exploring the bandhas. Instead, the biggest lesson I’ve learned has been about human connection. The act of working closely with an individual and asking them to uncover their desires, dig into the sensations they feel as a result of the shapes you direct them in, and often placing your hands on your client in order to deepen their experience.
 
All of this creates a relationship of trust and can bring up vulnerability. Some of my most vulnerable moments as a private yoga teacher have taken place while I’m communicating (whether explaining, listening, or needing to be quiet) and working to maintain a balance between being approachable and a healer in the context of our yoga session.
 

There’s dialogue

The first time a student started to have a lengthy side conversation during Virabhadrasana II in a group yoga class, I was absolutely horrified! Pair that experience of ‘yoga teaching rules’ with my need to balance chatter during sessions to err on the side of productive instead of conversational – I was an anxious mess!
 
This was in the early days of navigating dialogue during private sessions. Over time, I’ve learned the art of conversation during private yoga sessions (and the tools to balance chattiness and make every communication count), but it’s a layer to private yoga teaching that requires analysis and finesse.
 

 

There is a layer of relationship

My longest standing private client legally married my husband Matt and I a few years back. I wavered on saying yes when she offered because I wondered where it would fall on the boundary-filled professional relationship spectrum.
 
Ultimately, not everyone may make the decision I made, but I want real relationships with my clients that are honest, deep, and human. Over the years, I’ve affirmed that you can have a relationship with many layers (personal and professional) and maintain a healthy commitment to your main focus: teaching your client.
 

There is a need for structure and freedom

There is a dance between going with the flow as a yoga teacher and knowing the foundations of teaching enough to empower both your freedom and structure. As teachers, we tend to lean into the familiarity of being either laissez-faire or being a To-a-T analyzer.
 
Instead of doing as you usually would, challenge yourself to see the need for the opposite energy you naturally embody, and acknowledge how it relates to the ebb and flow of teaching during private yoga lessons.
 

There’s mutual growth

I’ve found the best yoga teachers are ones who are open to learning as much from their clients, experiences, and teaching successes and failures as they share with their students and clients.
 
As teachers, we teach overtly – specific skills, deconstruction of postures, and off the mat concepts. We also teach from our presence, the sentiments we share, and from the way we honor the growth we do as humans, teachers, and yoga students on the path.
 
 
The very nature of private yoga sessions is one that requires us to look deeper, investigate further, and teach more intentionally each individual time, all while keeping our attention on the state and disposition of individualized yoga lessons in mind.
 
The underlying theme is that teaching private yoga lessons can be fun and challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. Showing up authentically, and taking time to analyze your goals and intentions ahead of time will empower you to be your personal best.
 
Questions, comments, or private yoga teaching experiences of your own that you’d like to share? We love hearing from you in the comments below! Happy teaching!
 

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Kate Connell

Kate Connell is the private yoga teacher’s best friend.Through mentorship and her signature course, The Art Of Teaching Private Yoga, she supports (and cheerleads) private yoga teachers to make meaningful change with their clients. Through strategic teaching technique and private yoga teacher specific biz know-how, she blends together the teaching + business to create sustainable and joy-filled private yoga teaching practices. And they have a ton of fun doing it.

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