Private yoga sessions can be expensive. So expensive that many yoga teachers will say they can’t afford the kind of services they offer. So why is it so expensive and is it worth the investment? I’m going to provide my honest opinion as a response to these questions and I hope this allows you to reflect on whether 1:1 yoga sessions might be a good fit for you.
Why are private sessions so expensive?
The cost of 1:1 yoga will vary depending on the location and teacher as well as overall market. Despite what we have all been conditioned to believe, more expensive does not always mean a better quality service but less expensive does not always end up the best value for money either. When you invest in a private yoga session, whilst it is the time you spend with the instructor that you are purchasing, independent yoga teachers have to be able to cover all kinds of costs to deliver the service as well as to make sure they can be found when you are looking for them, and consequently, they are working many more hours on top of the private sessions and classes that they can charge for. This means, whatever they charge for your session, is not what they make per hour of work, and I hope that knowing this can help you let go of any comparisons you might be making between your finances and what you expect someone earning that kind of fee might be earning overall. That said, it is still a lot of money to hand over, especially if you do not have much disposible income, so it has to be worth it for you and only you can be the one to determine that. For some people, this may require cutting back in some other areas of spending, at least in the short term, and again, only you can determine if that is worth it and in which areas of your life you can reasonably expect yourself to spend less.
Is a 1:1 yoga session worth the investment?
The honest answer to this is: it depends! It depends on your needs and personal circumstances. Whilst I teach yoga and focus on private sessions, I don’t believe that everyone needs this in their life. I do, however, believe it can make a huge difference to some people, and I’m going to discuss some of those kinds of situations in a bit more detail.
- Highly sensitive people and introverts – I personally find personality factors helpful in providing a rough understanding of our needs but it is still important to think most about your own experience. Many highly sensitive people and introverts (there’s an overlap but not everyone in one of those categories will fit into the other), may find group classes and studios too overwhelming and over stimulating. A studio space is often full of smells (candles, other people), lighting, sounds and you may not always be able to practise in the part of the room that most suits you. Online classes can be a good alternative for that reason as you can practise in your own environment; however, having several other people popping up on the screen, perhaps not muting their mics when needed or turning up late if the teacher is unable to block entry to latecomers, may all be off-putting for some people. If that is the case for you, even if you don’t fit the personality types I tend to focus on the most, a private yoga session may be a better fit for you than a class.
- Injury recovery – if you are recovering from an injury and are wanting to take a rehabilitation approach, private yoga sessions can focus on the areas that you most need to work on and help you to do this as safely as possible. Working with a yoga teacher with knowledge of variable anatomy, may be especially helpful. Many people in this situation may turn to a physiotherapist, which may be a great option for you but is not for everyone. Some people prefer the gentler approach of a slow yoga practice, such as yin yoga, and a private session can give you the confidence to continue practising in your own time.
- Living with chronic illness – having to manage a long term condition can mean you may be facing all kinds of hidden challenges that may be exacerbated by physical activity if these are not taken into account. If you have the kind of illness that has flare-ups, learning to give yourself sufficient rest and pacing yourself instead of pushing too hard on good days are key to maximising how much you can do overall. A private yoga session with a teacher who understands the lifestyle elements associated with improved or worsened outcomes for people with chronic health problems may allow you to be more appropriately guided through different intensities of activity and different rest periods built in around your needs.
- Anxiety that prevents you from joining in with group activities – avoiding activities you fear is one of the key maintaining factors in anxiety; however, when we are exposing ourselves to feared situations as a way of working through our anxiety, we need to do this in graded steps, starting from a situation that is a little bit of a challenge but not so overwhelming that we don’t go through with it. If yoga is something you’ve always wanted to try but even the idea of walking into a yoga studio or joining an online class fills you with dread, you may benefit from trying at least one private session with a teacher who also offers a group class. That way, you will have taken the first step, will be guided at your own pace through the yoga and most likely learned some good anxiety management teachniques as part of the session, and can then move onto group classes in the future if you wish to. Finding a yoga teacher who does not ask you to commit to a minimum number of private sessions may be the best option for you. If you want to have a few sessions, many teachers will offer a discount for a block of sessions paid for up front, so that might be a good option once you have had your first session to see if that teacher is a good fit for you.
- People who have experienced trauma or chronic stress – yoga often involves breathing exercises and opening up space in parts of our bodies that tend to hold tension. If we have experienced trauma or chronic stress, we may be storing even more tension in our bodies and, for some people, the release of tension from doing yoga can lead to intense, unexpected sensations arising in the body during or after practising yoga. It is also more common than you might think for people to cry in yoga classes, including at the end whilst in the final resting pose. My opinion is that there is nothing wrong with crying in a class, and my idea of a good yoga teacher is one who will be able to hold space for all of this without trying to fix it, but you wouldn’t be alone if you did not feel safe doing that in a group environment. If you suspect that trying yoga may bring up challenging thoughts and feelings and are not ready to do that in a group, you may wish to try a private yoga session with a trauma-informed yoga teacher.
If after reading this you are interested in a private online yin yoga session with me (UK only), have a look at the information about me and my approach to yin yoga to see if that is a good fit for you. I also have a free PDF guide to developing a realistic yin yoga practice at home, available for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. That can be a great way of making the most of private sessions, classes or even You Tube sessions, irrespective of which teacher you are practising with.