Teaching Private Yoga Sessions

Practice Makes Progress; How teaching yoga private sessions support your professional development

After completing my 500 hour yoga teacher training, I distinctly remember the feeling opposite of what I was expecting. In my mind, I dreamed I would have all  the skills, knowledge, experience, courage and confidence of a successful yoga instructor. I imagined that I had the ability to challenge, assist and develop my students like a magician with a wave of their wand.  However, that was far from what I actually experienced. The more I learned, the less I felt I actually knew.

When I first became an instructor I was so worried about saying the wrong cues or forgetting what’s next in my sequence. This made holding space for others quite difficult. But the more I taught and focused on the students in front of me, the less I worried and the more grounded I became. Throughout my continuing education, I’ve learned that it’s not what you know, but what you co-create with your students.

In yoga, we make shapes with our bodies.
We won’t ever look the same as the person next to us.
Their body is already taken. Embrace your own!

Each asana has an intention for your students to experience, so its critical to study the idiosyncrasies your student’s anatomy to better understand how to assist and support the intentions of each asana throughout their practice.

Benefits of teaching yoga privates:

  • Focused attention – utilize your skills and intuition to interpret clearly the needs of your client
  • Understand how to hold space rather than control space for others
  • Cultivates your adaptability & ability to sequence “on the fly”

Focused Attention – Expand your listening skills

Now I’m not going to lie to you. Teaching private clients, depending on your style, may be intimidating. It takes a ton of energy to teach privately. Pre-planning for private clients is crucial. Be ready to change it up depending on how your client shows up. Practice observing their verbal and non verbal body language. A lot can be read through how an individual carries themselves.

The practice is progression not perfection.

Unlike a teacher training, you won’t be able to hide in the back row or wait for someone else to answer the trainer’s questions. You have been hired by your client for your specific skill set so cannonball into the deep end and avoid questioning your knowledge!

Privates offer a space for open dialogue, so ask open-ended questions and allow space for reflection and silence throughout. Many times, students will even stop and ask questions as they go. During a group class, students are often silent on their mats, whereas in a private session, you and your client will have an open dialogue. The immediate feedback in a private session will offer more options for you to explore how to effect change in their body.

Holding Space vs. Controlling Space

There isn’t a finish line or grand prize in yoga. The practice is progression not perfection. Recognize the differences in each student’s anatomy and body awareness and affirm their progress throughout. Your students will look different in every pose depending on how they interpret your direction. Each client’s path is unique so foster their potential without limits.

Co-create a sacred place with your client so they feel grounded, safe and supported. Holding space for others:

  • Support their journey
  • Offer Suggestions
  • Provide infinite possibilities
  • Focus on our client’s agenda,

Controlling space is similar to a school classroom environment.

  • Bound by deadlines
  • Tested
  • Limited by time
  • Micromanaged
  • Agenda is controlled by teacher

Since taking on private clients,  I’ve noticed my ability to hold space, co-create and impact my students has become clearer. I find myself entrenched in learning right alongside them. No matter your age, gender, health or wealth, yoga is universally applicable to all. As instructors, we have the ability to share our learnings with others and leave them a little better than when they first unrolled their mat.

Cultivates your adaptability & ability to sequence “on the fly”

Adaptability is a valuable skill as a yoga teacher. Privates require instructors to teach from the client’s needs that day, so you may have to revise your sequence depending on the energy they bring to their mat. You may have been planning to kick up the intensity this week, but your client may have other ideas in mind.  Trust your listening skills and intuition. Often times, simply by observing your client during arrival/integration, you can physically visualize what elements you can offer.

Teaching private sessions is challenging, but the preparation and energy you invest in this co-created experience will further develop your teaching methodology and style. There is no end to your journey, so enjoy all the teachable moments that arise.

Adrienne started practicing yoga when she was working in the corporate world. She traveled constantly and always looked for ways to keep healthy and active while on the road. After completing her RYT-200 Power Yoga Teacher Training she was hooked! She completed her RCYT-95 as well as her RYT-500 Advanced Yoga Teacher Training. A mother of two girls, Adrienne has dedicated her time to deepening her practice and connecting with her students (especially families & kids!) on ways to allow their yoga experience to ripple into all aspects of their lives. Throughout Adrienne’s trainings, her passion has led her to co-found FamilyFlow Yoga®️. FamilyFlow Yoga®️is one of four accredited schools in Illinois to offer a 95 Hour Registered Yoga Alliance Children’s Yoga Teacher Training program. Adrienne teaches in yoga studios, fitness clubs, boutique studios, as well as in school and after school yoga programs. FamilyFlow Yoga®️ has become an expert in offering continuing education programs and workshop for yoga instructors as well as schools’ staff and administrations. She's committed to helping people reach their full potential both physically, mentally and emotionally.

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