When I began taking yoga classes as a newbie, I had a lot to learn about the poses, about breath, about the practice, about the styles and the ways to practice. Attending class was a big leap at first, but then they became a perfect fit for me. I enjoyed my community of yogi friends who consistently set up their mats next to mine, week after week. Whether we talked or shared with each other or not, the sharing of space and energy and practicing together was a great experience for me.
The idea of private sessions seemed so one-on-one, so luxurious and yet probably super expensive. Plus, the focus would be solely on me…nowhere to hide 🙂
Now that I have taught yoga for several years and teach both public group classes and private sessions, I have come to realize the many benefits of private sessions and the diverse reasons they are a better choice for many (including probably me when I was just starting out and needing so many modifications. Rear-view mirror vision and all that). I am have also learned that they are often a much better investment (and not as significant of an investment as I had previously thought) because the sessions are geared toward the individual needs and goals.
For those who are sitting where I was sitting and unsure about who takes private sessions and why, this post is for you. Maybe it will illuminate for you that private sessions ARE an option and a good fit for you.
1. Public classes are offered at times that don’t match your schedule.
Sometimes I have clients who started with me in public classes, but either my schedule changed or their schedule changed, and now they are not making it to class. If you have a specific yoga instructor you really connect with and like his/her style and classes, but the schedule doesn’t work out, private sessions can be an answer.
Private sessions can be tailored and do not always mean one-on-one with the instructor. I offer private sessions as individual, small group, or large group. Reach out, see what availability your instructor has, your goals, price range, and go from there. Then you can have yoga on a schedule that works for you from the instructor you enjoy.
2. You have specific goals with your practice.
Sometimes you reach a plateau with a practice and feel like a certain pose or specific goal is in reach but that you need more time, new tactics, or targeted practice. These types of private sessions often have more of a clear period of time attached — two to six months of weekly sessions to attain a specific goal and have practices tailored for that end.
For example, I have worked with clients whose goals were to find balance in crow pose or work toward a headstand. I have also worked with clients who wanted to learn, practice, and achieve safe ways to get up from the floor if they fell or to work from chair yoga to being able to maybe attend public classes. The goals vary, and that is amazing. Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor if and what they could provide.
3. You are competitive.
If you are interested in starting yoga and know that you are a competitive person, private sessions are a good way to start a yoga practice on the right foot. Yoga is not a competitive sport, which is one of the elements of the practice that I enjoy most (coming from a background in competitive sports and in being a naturally competitive person). In yoga, the focus is just you and your body on your mat. So what if someone else is stronger or holds a balance pose more gracefully than you think you hold yours.
For those who struggle with this and who are new to yoga, it can be safer to have private sessions so that you are not pushing yourself into poses that you are not ready to attempt or to hold something longer or deeper than is healthy. Yoga is meant to be helpful and not to hurt; you don’t want to injure yourself. Private sessions can make this easier because there is no one else to compare with, and the practice is specific to your practice on that day.
4. You have requests and needs for modifications.
This is probably the number one reason I have clients approach me for private sessions. Maybe they are just getting started but want to make sure they have a strong understanding and feel confident in their alignment before they branch out into attending public classes or follow YouTube videos at home. Some clients have injuries that require accommodations and modifications, and private sessions give us the chance to take the time we need to keep the practice safe. I also have clients who need a more intense practice that most public classes offer and want something tailored to their more advanced practice, something that will challenge them.
Private sessions also don’t have to be a forever thing. Maybe they get you to a specific place where something else is then a better fit. There are often those who are new to yoga who want a few months of private sessions to get into a good rhythm and feel confident in the poses and the alignment so that they can comfortably attend pubic classes. Others continue private sessions all year for multiple years. It’s all up to you and your needs.
5. You like a variety of styles, and/or you would like a style of class not currently offered as a public class.
Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative, Sculpt, Power, Chair, Kids, Parent and Baby, Slow Flow, Barre — there are so many types of yoga, and instead of hoping the style you like is scheduled at a convenient time for you, you can arrange for it to be so with private sessions.
Your an also change your mind each week. I have clients who let me know earlier in the week what type they would like — slower vinyasa or some power components or completely restorative. One of the true luxuries of private sessions is that each session can be tailored to you and what you need that day, week, or month.
6. You want to practice with friends and/or family.
This is often a great avenue into private classes. You get to pick the time, and you can have just your friends and family. If you all like to laugh during yoga, it’s not disruptive to those who like quiet classes, etc. Plus, if it’s a group of friends, you can split the cost of the sessions, and often it’s not much more than if you all paid separately to attend a public class. The class can be tailored for you in terms of style, difficulty, as well as location and time.
7. You want to practice somewhere other than the studio.
If you have the perfect spot in your office (and your boss clears it), or you have some other location that you would really like to use for your yoga practice, reach out to the instructor and see if that will work. (If your yoga instructor is an employee of a gym or studio, they may not have the ability to teach off site due to contract, so make sure to check who in your area is an independent contractor and able to come to you.)
I have traveled to different locations for my clients, and it’s worked out great to allow the individual to practice yoga but not lose travel time getting to a studio or to allow them to practice with me in a space where they already feel comfortable. Keep in mind, depending on where you live having a yogi come to you may require you covering travel costs/mileage on top of their private session fee.
I also have had clients change their minds — they start having me come to then but decide the atmosphere of the studio is worth the extra time in traveling. These changes are usually no big deal, depending on the studio availability.
** Private sessions also do not have to be weekly commitments. Some students want to practice weekly one-on-one; others want to have a family yoga class once a month. It’s all something that can be negotiate with you and the instructor. Make sure, if you are a group, that you ask about the rate for your specific group size, as often the private rate will fluctuate depending on how large the group.
What questions do you have?
If you have taken private sessions, what would you recommend for those considering it, or what would you add?
Feel free to reach out and ask me anything or to see if there are openings for your private session! Namaste!