The Business of Yoga: Part Four - How to Build and Maintain Private Clients

From the Editor


Welcome to the final part in out four part series on the business of yoga! If you're just tuning in, check out the parts 1, 2, and 3 for more strategies to build your career as a professional yogi. 


So you’ve gotten your yoga teacher certification, you want to get your name out to potential clients, maybe teach at a studio, but how do you even know where get started? Lauren Eckstrom, yoga teacher extraordinaire, has put together this first-time yoga teacher’s guide to success for to pass along to you! Throughout November, she’ll take you deep into the big bad world of business, and give you some guidance as you begin your journey teaching yoga.


Part 4: How to Build & Maintain Private Yoga Clients


Why Private Clients?

Private clients can be a tremendous source of income for many yoga teachers. Private clients pay more per hour for your time and might be desired for a variety reasons:


  • The student is new to yoga and would like to learn the basic poses and breath before entering a group class

  • The student is very inflexible or uncoordinated and afraid of practicing in a group setting

  • The student is high profile or simply just busy and requires yoga based around a personal schedule

  • The student suffers from an injury (or injuries) and requires specialized instruction

  • The student is interested in learning or advancing toward specific poses and wants private instruction toward achieving those postures

  • The student is looking to address personal issues such as: stress reduction, weight-loss, trauma, injury, etc...


As a yoga teacher it is important to remember: you are a yoga teacher, not a therapist (unless of course you are a therapist...). Having specific guidelines are critical for your protection and the protection of your students. Remember, you can only offer so much and professionalism is of the utmost importance. If an issue arises that is outside your certification, offer to provide help in finding the right resources to help support the student in addressing their needs. Before starting with a new private client, consider providing the client with a list of guidelines and expectations including a 24-hour cancelation policy, injury waiver, and general health form.


Building Private Clients


You can meet potential private clients many ways. Here are a few suggestions:


  • Referrals: Create relationships with local like-minded businesses. If you have a relationship with a local acupuncturist, massage therapist, licensed clinical therapist, naturo-pathic doctor, or wellness center consider partnering with them for referrals.

  • Promote Private Sessions: Promote your availability as a private yoga instructor through your website and Facebook pages. You can also consider promoting your services as a private yoga instructor to your group classes.

  • Provide Gift Certificates: Gift certificates are a great gift and can be suggested to your group classes around the holidays, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day or as New Year resolution ideas.


If a student requires a great deal of your time after a group class, suggest a private session. Anytime a student asks a question that requires more than 5 minutes of your time to address, a private session might be a good option to address the question fully and specifically.


Maintaining Private Clients


Some private clients may require only a few sessions to address their needs or questions while other private clients might be interested in building a long-term relationship. Regardless, maintaining positive client relationships is key to building future clients and to maintaining existing client relationships.


  • Be Consistent: Once you set a schedule with a private client, be consistent. Honor your clients’ time and your time. Always show up a few minutes early and be prepared to stay a few minutes after. Having a regularly set schedule will help the client maintain a regular practice with you so try and setup a schedule you can easily maintain without much change or hassle.

  • Check-In: If you are seeing a client regularly, check-in with them. Ask how the sessions are going, if they are interested in changing anything within the sessions, or if they have questions. This is their time and they are paying you well so make sure you are addressing their specific needs. After your first session, send a follow-up email and see how they are doing, if they have any questions, and how the practice left them feeling. Let the client know you are there to support them both on and off the mat.

  • Provide Additional Support: Often it is beneficial to provide handouts to help give the client visuals and provide them with resources to use outside of your sessions. This can encourage them to practice regularly and begin a personal practice outside of your sessions. Treat the sessions as mini-workshops or teacher trainings and educate them on the practice.

  • Birthdays, holidays, & More: It’s the little things that count! Without being over-the-top, little notes of encouragement are always appreciated especially if you know something about their personal life such as a graduation, birthday, or holiday.





Lauren Eckstrom is a Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor based in Santa Monica, California. With background and training in Vinyasa based Power Yoga, her classes combine creative sequencing with a focus on safe, sound alignment. Lauren also caters toward students rehabbing from injuries so her breadth of teaching includes advanced yogis, brand new practitioners, and yogis dealing with a therapeutic approach to the practice. She specializes in Power Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Yin Yoga, Yoga for Beginners, Pranayama and Meditation.

In 2012 Lauren associate produced and was heavily featured in The Ultimate Yogi with Travis Eliot, a 12-disc, 108 day all encompassing yogic lifestyle program.

Lauren currently teaches privately and leads group classes at The Yoga Collective, Tru Yoga and Yoga Vista

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