When I first started teaching yoga, I never said no to a teaching opportunity or a private client.
I didn’t really take the time to think about who I matched best with, or how my teaching sankalpa (or intention) aligned with that of my could-be clients. All I was focused on was sharing yoga with anyone and everyone who was interested.
As a new teacher, the motto of YES served me well (mostly). Over time, though, I found myself gravitating towards certain clients and enjoying some relationships and teaching gigs more.
I began to carve out a system that let me choose clients with care to ensure a mindful relationship and transformative change for my client.
Everyone has had a private yoga client who post-session didn’t seem like the best fit. Here’s why finding out more about this person before you work with them is key, and how you can adopt a systematic pre-session process for all of your potential private yoga clients.
Why Aligning With Private Yoga Clients Matters
The two most important reasons to have a system in place for learning about your potential clients are:
To make sure you and the client are a good fit for each other
To assess their investment in themselves and in the concept of private yoga on an emotional, physical, energetic, and financial level
Simply stated, you want to know:
Am I the right person for the job? Is this the kind of person I’m uniquely designed through experience, education, and dharma (or cosmic order) to work with individually?
Is this person ready to take the next step and fully commit to the work ahead?
The Method: Assessing Client Compatibility
As private yoga teachers, we may teach locally in our community: in studios, spaces, homes, our own home—or we may take our teaching to the virtual world and offer sessions through Skype or Google Hangouts.
Whichever way you deliver one-on-one sessions, it pays to have a method of getting-to-know your potential clients before they sign on for a package of sessions with you. When screening your could-be clients, consider trying one of these methods:
In-person – Meet this individual for an in-person meet and greet. This is an especially good route if you do not know this person.
Email – Vet your clients via email. Get to know their history and the goals they have for their private work with you.
Form – Consider creating an application to send out to potential clients or that could-be students can land upon on your site. This is a great fit for local and virtual teachers.
In your assessment, ask your could-be clients these following questions:
What is your primary frustration or issue in your yoga practice?
What is your desired outcome by working with me one-on-one?
What is your yoga or movement experience?
What are you currently doing to work on your primary yoga practice frustration?
Who are you, on a personal level?
Depending on how you screen your clients, you may ask these questions via a survey form or in a casual conversation over tea. Either way, repurpose these questions so they sound like you, but ask them so you can figure out who this person is and if they’re a great fit for working with you one-on-one.
Finding the Perfect Fit
One of the most important elements, if not the most important component, of a private yoga teaching relationship between client and teacher is connection.
In a world where there are more yoga students (and teachers!) than ever, it’s important to get to know exactly who you desire to work with one-on-one and then begin to show up for that group of people consistently.
I can’t promise that you won’t occasionally have a mismatch, but using a pre-session system to help you filter through perfect-fit private yoga clients will begin to align you with the students on whom you can make the most impact as a private yoga teacher.
Kate Connell is the private yoga teacher's best friend. Her work at You &amp; the yoga mat provides mentorship, trainings, and tools for yoga teachers interested in mastering the art of teaching individualized yoga and the business behind a sustainable private teaching practice.