Mastering the art of teaching private yoga classes

By Hannah Moss

Mastering the art of hosting private yoga classes

Teaching private yoga classes can be a rewarding and enriching experience for both you and your students. Read our in-depth guide and learn how to setup, organise and manage your 1-to-1s. 

Welcome to the 3rd article in our ‘Running a successful yoga business’ series. In our introductory article, How to run a profitable yoga business, we identified 7 potential revenue streams that a profitable yoga business could focus on. They are:

  1. Weekly group classes
  2. Private 1-to-1 classes
  3. Workshops
  4. Retreats
  5. Teacher trainings
  6. Digital products
  7. Physical products

We explored the 1st of these revenue streams in How to successfully grow your group yoga classes. So, let’s move on to the 2nd important offering: Private yoga classes.       

Benefits of private yoga classes 

Here are some of the key benefits of offering private yoga classes to your students:  

  • Can be very rewarding for both students and teachers. 
  • Useful for beginners as a way of them getting to know you, or gaining confidence, before joining a group class.
  • Useful for students who are working through issues, e.g. injuries, trauma, mental/physical/emotional/spiritual challenges. 
  • Allows you to build deep relationships with your students, who often become your champions.  
  • Regular private classes provide a good source of income.  

Private yoga classes allow you to work on a much deeper level with each student, to get to know them more personally, and to provide much more individualised attention.  

Wildheart Founder, Guy Anderson

“Personally, I love this way of teaching. It’s so rewarding working one-on-one with a dedicated student who’s committed to regular private sessions.” – Guy

Setting up your private yoga classes

There’s lots to think about when deciding whether to host private yoga classes and how to set these up. Here are some of the main decisions you need to make. 

Location, location, location!    

The first thing you need to decide is where you’re going to host your private yoga classes from. Do you already rent studio space for your weekly group classes? If so, can you host them here, or in a different room at the same venue? One advantage of this could be the equipment that’s potentially available, such as yoga mats, props, blocks, blankets, etc.  

For fewer overheads, you might decide to host private classes in your own home. Obviously, you need to make sure there’s enough space, that it’s an inviting space where your students will feel safe and comfortable, and that you won’t be interrupted. If you share your home with other people, a partner working from home, children or animals, for example, you’ll need to consider how this will impact your sessions. Furry friends can bring an element of humour and comfort to a yoga practice, but they’re not to everyone’s liking! Also, if you use any props in your teaching, do you have enough spares to lend to your student or will they need to bring their own?      

You might also decide to offer private yoga classes at the student’s home. Again, all the same considerations mentioned above apply here, with the added issue of travel costs and logistics. Do they need to live within a certain radius? Do you need to add an extra travel fee? This will all need to be made clear before you create your offerings.     

Finally, you could offer private yoga classes online. You’ll need a good technical setup for this and, again, the same considerations apply if you host online classes from your own home. Your student will need enough space wherever they’re practising from, and you'll need to tell them in advance what they might need in terms of a mat, props, etc.     

One-off vs series 

Are you happy for students to book a one-off private class with you? Is it worth your time and energy to do this, considering the admin involved in the setup? Perhaps you only want to offer one-off private classes to students who’ve been working with you for a while. Or only to beginners, so they can become familiar with you and your teaching style, and build confidence in their practice.  

As we saw in How to successfully grow your group yoga classes, rewarding commitment is a key part of running a successful yoga business. A great way to do this with private yoga classes is to bundle the sessions into a series or package. For example, you could create packages of 3, 6 and 9 sessions, where the cost per session gets cheaper the more you buy in one go. If a student is working through a particular issue, committing to a series of sessions can be especially beneficial and allows them to relax into the process more deeply. Of course, you can also offer payment plans for your packages if you want to make them more affordable and accessible. 

For example, our client Maria Boox offers a 1-to-1 Yoga Mentorship with 2 package options. The longer you work with her, the more you save: 

Private Yoga Classes: Maria Boox Mentorship

Maria also offers private pranayama classes which are split into 3 package options, again based on duration: 

Private Yoga Classes: Maria Boox Pranayama

1-to-1 vs small groups

Do you want to offer strictly 1-to-1 yoga classes, or are you happy to teach couples or small groups as well? Obviously, the more people in the group, the less time there’ll be for personalised attention and you’ll need to adapt your teaching style accordingly. Working as a couple or small group could be quite appealing for some students, though, and you could even offer special deals for birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.  

Offering private sessions for couples or small groups could also make the sessions more affordable and therefore accessible for some people. It could also be more profitable for you, depending on how you price the sessions. Perhaps you’d offer a discount based on the size of the group, but it should still be a more profitable way of teaching than weekly group classes.     

Payment and terms

One of the downsides of hosting private yoga classes is that it can be more admin intensive to arrange lots of individual sessions. With only one student per class, there’s also a higher risk of non-attendance or delayed sessions. The more planning and thinking you do beforehand, and the clearer you are about the terms of your offering, the smoother the process will be.

We’d always suggest taking payment in advance for private yoga classes, and stating that a student’s booking is only confirmed after receiving payment. This keeps things clear and shows that you value your own time.      

It’s important to list your terms and conditions (T&Cs) on your website, and a good idea to refer back to these in any confirmation emails. Your T&Cs should include terms around bookings and payments, and particularly around cancellations and refunds. For example, would you allow a full refund if a class is cancelled up to 48 hours beforehand? What about 24 hours before? Are there no refunds allowed in that case, or would you allow the student to reschedule? 

If you’re not clear about your terms, there’s a risk things could get a little tricky. But, taking payment in advance and having a clear cancellation policy should help the process run smoothly.   

Asking for feedback

It’s a good idea to create a feedback form for your private yoga classes (either digital or hard copy), particularly if you’re just starting out. Most people are happy to fill these out, especially if they’ve been working one-on-one with you. Try not to overload the form with questions – a few multiple choice or scaled (like/dislike) questions plus a free text field for additional comments should suffice. This will help you understand which parts of your teaching and booking process resonate well with your students and where there’s still room for improvement.   

Digital forms are generally easier to manage than hard copies. You should be able to add a page to your website containing the form, so you can send students a link after their sessions have ended. Alternatively, you could use a paid online service, like SurveyMonkey, or a free service such as Google Forms (if you have a Gmail address).   

Organising private yoga classes on your website 

When it comes to adding your private yoga classes to your website, we’d always suggest creating a dedicated sales or landing page for this. Don’t be put off by the 'salesy' language – this simply means a page that’s separate from your other classes.   

Dedicated landing page

Creating a dedicated landing page means you can set out all the details of your offering, it won’t get lost or be hidden amongst your other classes, and it’s also good for your SEO (search engine optimisation) to have a page with ‘private-yoga-classes’ or ‘private-yoga-lessons’ in its title.    

Here are the main elements you should include on your landing page for private yoga classes: 

  • Set out the WHY: why should students book a private class and why with you in particular? 
  • What are the benefits of private yoga classes? 
  • What to expect when coming to private yoga classes with you.
  • How it works: one-off vs series; package options; location, etc. 
  • Social proof: include testimonials from previous students. 
  • How to book and pay. 

Navigation options

Of course, your landing page needs to be visible, so if it’s not in the main navigation of your website, you could feature it in a dropdown menu (although we don’t generally recommend these as they don’t work so well on mobile), and you should definitely include links to the page from other relevant pages across the site, e.g. Home, Start Here, Classes, etc.    

Here’s an example of a ‘One-to-One’ page appearing in the top navigation on Iriness’s website: 

Private Yoga Classes: Iriness

Here’s an example of a ‘Private Yoga Lessons’ page appearing in a dropdown menu on Yoga With Spirit’s website:

Private Yoga Classes: Yoga With Spirit

And here’s an example of a special CTA (call-to-action) panel linking to the ‘Private Yoga Classes’ page on SPACE’s main Classes page:

Private Yoga Classes: SPACE

Booking options 

When it comes to students actually booking their private sessions with you, there are 3 ways you could potentially manage this:  

  1. Interactive booking calendar
  2. Offline bookings
  3. Screening form

1. Interactive booking calendar

This option involves using a third party calendar or booking system. If you already use a booking system for your weekly group classes, you might already have access to this functionality as well. 

With this option, students can see your availability on an online calendar and book their own sessions with you. This is a quick and easy method and there are fewer obstacles to booking, as the student can simply book sessions themselves when they’re ready. However, there’s less personal contact involved and many students prefer to ask questions or speak to the teacher first, especially if they don’t already know you. 

There’s also less flexibility for you in terms of your schedule, as you must make sure you’re available at the times you’ve stated in the calendar. 

2. Offline bookings

With this option, the student contacts you via a simple enquiry form on your website, and you then get back to them (via email or phone) to manually book the sessions with them. This is a more admin-intensive option than using a booking calendar, but you’ll get more personal contact with the student and it means you can be more flexible in your schedule. You’ll have more control over the bookings and you can negotiate directly with each student to find mutually convenient times.    

3. Screening form 

The third option is to feature a lengthier screening form on your website, which potential students have to complete as a first step. This enables you to get a good sense of who the student is and what they’re looking for in private yoga classes, before you contact them to book the sessions. 

This can save time for you down the line, encourages commitment in the student (as they need to spend time reflecting on and answering your questions) and also helps to filter out potential time-wasters and private students who aren’t a good fit for you.      

Examples of our clients’ private yoga class setups 

Ravi Yoga 

Ravi Yoga has a dedicated page for Private Classes appearing as a dropdown of their main Classes page in the top navigation. The page sets out the WHY, the benefits and the social proof. It then displays 2 pricing panels showing the different options for in-person vs online sessions (including mention of travel costs), before featuring a simple contact form at the bottom of the page. 

Private Yoga Classes: Ravi Yoga In-person
Private Yoga Classes: Ravi Yoga Online

Danette Watson

Danette Watson has a 1-to-1 Sessions page in the top navigation of her website. This page includes information about what kind of sessions are on offer, how they're packaged and what the benefits are. It includes some testimonials and a clear CTA (call-to-action) linking to the ‘Make a Payment’ page with instructions of how to book. 

Here’s a screenshot of the top portion of the page highlighting the different ways Danette can help you in her 1-to-1 sessions:  

Private Yoga Classes: Danette Watson

Sacred Jade Yoga

On Sacred Jade’s website, the Private Yoga Classes page is organised as a subpage of Classes in a dropdown menu. There’s some intro text highlighting the benefits, a panel setting out the different options, an in-depth testimonial and then a lengthier screening form to capture all the details Jade would need to know about her potential students. 

As you can see in the screenshot below, by limiting the package options to just 3, this keeps the offering clear and manageable, and she’s still able to offer both in-person and virtual sessions within the 3 options:    

Private Yoga Classes: Sacred Jade

A crystal clear offering for your private yoga classes

There’s plenty to think about before you start offering private yoga classes to your students. But, with a little planning and forethought, and good organisation, you’ll be up and running in no time. 

Remember to get clear about what you offer first, and then make this crystal clear on your website. We can’t stress this enough! Even if you think you’re being clear, there’s probably room for improvement. Try to get another pair of eyes on your content and check they can understand your offering quickly and easily.      

Next in this series, we’ll be looking at yoga workshops as a revenue stream, so watch this space...  

Finally, if you need any help or advice about setting up your private yoga classes, get in touch. We’d love to help.

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