Teachers' Corner

Where Will You Teach Private Yoga Lessons?

A mere six months after I was handed a certificate and some Sanskrit inscribed chimes at my teacher training graduation I took the role as a manager of a yoga studio.  During the managing days (and later as the managing partner), I was building my private teaching practice and seeing clients throughout the day – all this between client software updates,  subbing in for classes, and working on teacher schedules.

I saw some of my first clients in the space (where I did part of my training and fell deeply in love with a Mysore style practice) and also wrote some of my first yoga articles, created my first yoga business website for Kate Connell Yoga, and I dreamed of staying the path as a full-time yoga teacher for many years.

Fast forward to less than a year later, the studio arrangement wasn’t working, and frankly, the partnership wasn’t either. After thoughts on a delayed closure, we ended up pulling off the band-aid and decided to close the doors before the fall leaves would fall. I spent a few days crunching numbers and looking at retail space and assessing the dynamics of our home to come to one conclusion – out of necessity I needed to start seeing clients in their homes. And I needed to find the benefits in being a travel private yoga teacher stat.

Truth be told, I almost threw in the private yoga towel. I didn’t see the value in traveling to my client’s house and thought some would consider it an inconvenience. It wasn’t until I stood in my conviction to find the benefit and meaning behind working with clients in their home (instead of focusing on some of the changes I would face as a private yoga teacher with wheels) that the location of my sessions became an asset, part of my niche, and a huge positive in determining who I cultivated relationships.

Sure, not everyone discovers their niche to help people create sustainable home yoga practices like this – and they shouldn’t! This is my unique yoga business origin story, but it gives you some inspiration to ask yourself what type of experience you want to create for your clients, what you value in a space and an arrangement, and what pros and cons are a part of the different ways you can physically work with clients.

Your Space

There are many benefits of having your own space. You can set up the space as you wish, you can write it off on taxes if it’s in your home, you can use the time between clients most efficiently, and you can create a wonderful retreat for your clients. When it comes to ‘your space’, there are two types I consider:

  • Home
    A home space can be a great way to keep the overhead low on rental space while allowing you the freedom you wish to create a space that is your dream version. There are a lot of practical benefits to having a home studio but also some things to consider: the accessibility for clients, the people and pets you cohabitate with, and the safety of opening your home up to clients.
  • Studio/center
    A studio or center where you can teach sessions hourly may be a great test run before you decide to find a rental space of your own. Being able to see clients one-on-one in a space where you teach group classes or workshops may also make a lead-in to private yoga sessions a really organic process and one that doesn’t conflict with the studio policies. From a convenience perspective, it can be really time efficient to work at the same facility especially if you build your schedule in a way that optimizes your teaching time.

Your Client’s Space

Many look to seeing clients in their space as an added luxury for the client and a likely pain-in-the-ass for the teacher, but it’s all about perspective. There are many pros to teaching your clients in their space (and some cons if you decide it doesn’t fit your current teaching practice or long-term vision).

  • Home
    If you work with clients therapeutically or in an effort to assist them in creating a home practice, working with them in their own space is a key to the consistency puzzle. It’s also a great advantage for many individuals who wish to practice at home or in their own safe, private zone. The added convenience for your client does add on some responsibility for the teacher such as commute time and cost as well as safety factors and the need to navigate boundary issues like a professional.
  • Office
    Scheduling working clients can be a juggling act. If you wish to work with corporate types, traveling business people, or those balancing a demanding work schedule visiting them in their office may be a true solution. As a teacher you’ll take on the travel to and fro and also need to consider if working in an office space is conducive to the type of sessions you want to lead. If it’s appropriate and all of the elements are factored in – this could be a real win.

There are other ways to work with clients – renting an office space, offering yoga lessons outside, and even using a neutral space like a chiropractor office or church basement could work. And more options still if being a location independent private yoga teacher is your ultimate sankalpa. Be really candid with yourself about the long-term and don’t lose sight of the experience you are trying to create for the specific client you are interested in working with most. Like me, you might end up far from where you start – but that’s part of the journey of being a private yoga teacher.

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3 Comments

  1. Megan Reddix

    Megan Reddix

    May 25, 2016 at 8:30 am

    This is such an interesting read! As I’m finishing up my YTT certification, I have been considering what my yoga space will be. At first I thought that it could be solely online, and I could let people find me. Then I considered the “yoga space” connected to the gym in my community complex. Sure, I may have to rent out the area, but it’s super convenient for me and the other residents in the community. Lastly I considered using public places, like state parks. There is a $5 charge to park your car, or you can buy a season pass, but other than that, the space is free to be used as you feel fit. There is so much to consider! This article is extremely helpful and has got a lot of juices flowing for me. Namaste!

    1. Chelsea

      Chelsea

      May 25, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Megan, my mom actually teaches out of our church. They let her use the youth spaces (gym, large classrooms, etc) whenever they aren’t using it at no charge. It gets the church members involved, makes the youth group aware/curious, and brings in people from outside the church so it’s a win-win. Plus there’s tons of free parking! You might consider this an option!

      1. Megan Reddix

        Megan Reddix

        May 25, 2016 at 12:34 pm

        That is a fantastic option! We started going to a new church after we moved and have been making pretty good connections with some of the pastors. I may have to talk with them and see if this is something I would be able to do! How fun it would be to connect faith right into my lessons 🙂 Thank you Chelsea!

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