Private Yoga Lessons, is it right for me?

So you have just started yoga or you are a seasoned practitioner. Now you are asking yourself should I have private yoga lessons. Good question.

Yes you should, absolutely. I can’t recommend this enough. What could be better than doing something you love and want to get better at with one to one expert tailor made guidance?

Below are a few things I took into consideration when deciding to get private yoga lessons.

Do you have enough time right now?

This was probably the most important factor for me as I didn’t want my lesson to be an inconvenience. There is enough to fit in and juggle during the day, work, family, chores, commuting. So you don’t want your yoga lesson to be something that stresses you out and feels like a waste of money and time.

What I have just said may seem so obvious but you will be surprised how many people have travelled miles for a 50 minute private lesson. They arrive tired, stressed and then had to travel back afterwards. This is all because they had a specific criteria on the teacher, time and location without considering the time they would spend suffering during and after this; undoing all their hard work.

You have to think about whether the lesson is at a time that is convenient to you, in a location that you can get to without spending so much time and money on travel.

You might be happy to commute to work but after a long day, are you happy to travel to a class and then have to travel home?

I also looked at the times of day that the lessons were offered. I always checked to see if lessons were available in the evenings and at weekends and whether these slots would cost more.

Another time consideration is how long is each lesson?

You want value for money. But you don’t want to have to rush out before the end because you could miss the last bus/train home or could be late for work.

The length of the lesson is also important because you will need to consider whether it is practical for you to attend for that long and also whether it is ultimately valuable and time well spent. Let me explain what I mean by this.

I find that two shorter lessons after work suits me better. I am the sort of person that likes to do my day’s work and then focus on myself. It also means that I can unwind and keep at bay the damage on my body caused by sitting at a desk all day long.

In addition to this I know that I would not be able to do more than a 75 minute lesson after work because I would be too tired and/or hungry to enjoy my lesson.

On a side note, I once had a 90 minute yoga lesson before work.

You might wonder how I had the time for that luxury. Well my boss at the time did not understand the concept of me making up 30 minutes at lunch or after work. So that I could attend a medical appointment that morning; instead I had to book the whole morning off.

I utilised the time between the appointment and work to get a yoga lesson in.

Although I benefitted from having so much more time to explore, restore, elongate and breathe. I did spend much of the yoga lesson thinking about the work I had to do once I got to work rather than concentrate on my asanas.

I also had to rush to my gym after my lesson to shower as my teacher’s studio didn’t have showers and after 90 minutes there wasn’t much of my morning left.

What about on the weekend when you have more time?

On the weekend I do enjoy longer lessons, typically first thing Saturday morning. It gets me out of bed and sets me up for the rest of the weekend. This routine has taken me time and thought to get right and it could change depending on how much time I have and what I want from that time.

Have a look around. You might be surprised to find that there are many convenient options available to you. You want time for yourself but your time is also valuable and should be well spent. You might have an amazing, focused and informative lesson with a teacher in training for free who is around the corner to you.

This brings me to my second factor of cost.

How much do you want to spend on lessons?

Price was also a factor I had to take in to account when deciding whether to take private lessons. Many of us are on a budget and although I saw my lessons as an investment, I did not want to feel like I was paying over the odds for something. I certainly didn’t want to restrict how may lessons I had because I couldn’t afford them.

I did take into account my geographical location because it does affect how much you pay for lessons and it doesn’t always go the way you think.

My location was London and I thought I would be paying what is known as ‘London prices’ but actually in reality the prices were a mixed bag. I thought in a big city prices would be higher, because there would be loads of willing students/ customers available, but as I said it was a surprisingly mixed bag.

Just like all businesses, yoga teachers will carefully consider their prices and will offer a variety of options. For example you may be able to get a discount if you block book or attend a training class or if there is more than one of you attending and this conveniently brings me to the next consideration of group bookings.

Can I get a discount for group bookings of yoga lessons?

Group bookings are an excellent way to spend time with a loved one and you will be able to support and encourage each other through your yoga journeys. You get to bond and do yoga. In addition to this there is nearly always a discount for group bookings.

I did consider booking a yoga class for me and my sister but so far it has been tricky for us. It has to be at a time and in a location convenient for us both. We are both looking forward to this, especially as my sister is new to yoga and I think she will really appreciate the support- I know I will.

Just a couple of points to consider here – can both of you afford the lesson and if one of you cannot attend can you afford to pay for the lesson on your own or can you afford the late cancellation free if one applies.

On the flip side, as you are reliant on each other, it can give you the motivational push to go to your lesson when perhaps you were considering making an excuse and not going. It’s great to have a yoga buddy.

So when in my journey should I think about private yoga lessons?

Should you go at the start of your yoga journey, so you start off on the best foot so to speak, or when you have practiced for a while. This gives you an opportunity to form specific questions about your needs and your asanas for maximum benefit.

I fell into the latter category. I didn’t have my first lesson until I had been practicing for a little over 16 years.

I don’t know the precise reason why I didn’t feel I should take private yoga lessons at the start of my yoga journey. I think it was a mixture of naturally being flexible and not wanting to have my beginners confidence knocked. But, boy, was it knocked when I was told that by being flexible I was cheating my asanas.

That’s was why I was now getting bored and no longer benefitting from my practice. Which started to make a lot of sense to me.

Being both strict but reassuring, my teacher gave me confidence, putting me on the right path once again. My practice is now strong, engaged, dynamic and nourishing. I feel that connection with myself and I’m learning to love it.

This is my experience and, of course, your yoga journey is your own and only you know your body, your intentions and what you want from your practice. The wonderful thing about yoga is that it unites us all as a planet in a practice that is also entirely unique to each individual.

So you have considered it and now you want to find some lessons. What now?

So how do I find a private yoga teacher?

We are lucky in this day and age to have the internet. This brings all the yoga teachers to a single location that you can simply pluck a teacher from.  Their webpage means that you can read all about your potential teacher’s credentials, read reviews and even see pictures of them. On a serious note this means that you can get a feel for them and make an informed decisions before you have even said hello.

Be careful not to get information overload. You will end up with analysis paralysis because you have spent too much time weighing up the available options and be unable to decide which path to take.

I considered what was important to me and referred back to the factors above, every time I looked up a teacher. I didn’t give myself a time limit to find a teacher but this might help in your search for the ideal yoga teacher?

The internet is certainly a great tool to help you find the right teacher for yoga lessons but keep in mind that not all teachers are on the internet and you could be missing out on word of mouth recommendations.

Ask people that you know and keep your ear to the ground.  Take a look at ads in the local paper or pinned up at the message board at the shop, gym, train station etc. You might find just what you are looking for.

Would it not be better to have a familiar face teaching you?

A surprising factor, that didn’t crop up until further into my teacher search, was whether I wanted to have lessons with a stranger or with someone whose group classes I had attended at the gym.

I found this to be an important but yet strange factor in my search for the right yoga teacher. I had to understand for myself whether I wanted to be taught by someone I see on a regular basis or whether I wanted to be taught by someone I had never met before. For some of you the choice would be easy but for me it wasn’t so straight forward.

Quite easily, I know I could have had a private yoga lesson with one of the teachers at my gym. Equally I am sure the lesson could also have been at the same gym that I attend regularly. Possibly I could have block booked and had a discounted set of lessons but it simply wasn’t something that appealed to me.

I was looking for a fresh start in a new environment. I also wanted to be able to walk away with no awkwardness if I didn’t like their lesson and style.

I’m lucky that I found a teacher who is located a short walk from my in-laws. I get to attend my yoga lessons and I get to visit them in the same trip. (I have great in-laws).

These are my experiences when looking for a yoga teacher for private lessons. I appreciate that not everybody will have the same concerns and some of you will have more.

Ultimately I feel that I have benefitted greatly from private lessons and I recommend them to all.