yoga class

Teaching a Private Yoga Lesson: The Essentials

I adore teaching private yoga lessons: there's something really special about being able to work with a student 1:1, and completely customize a class based on their body and mindset. I've learned that an effective private lesson has a lot to do with proper set-up, so I wanted to share what's worked for me.

What should you do before your first private yoga session with a client?

  • Confirm your rate: rates will vary by city, your level of experience, travel time, and more. Make sure payment has been confirmed before you show up to avoid any awkward post-yoga money discussions - not fun for anyone! I typically work with Venmo, Square, or plain ol' cash.

  • Confirm location: If you're driving to their home or workplace, budget in an extra 15 minutes or so. Being late causes unnecessary stress on both ends!

  • Plan your class: I typically talk to my clients before my first visit about where they see their strengths and areas for opportunity. I'll build a class around our discussion, but always, always stay present - work with what's going on in the moment!

What should you bring to your first private yoga session with a client?

This is the fun part! Since I do a few privates in the early morning before I head to work, I want to spend as little time as possible getting ready in the mornings. I've built up a Mary Poppins bag of goodies that I can grab and go! 

THIS is how you prep for a private client.

THIS is how you prep for a private client.


  • Blocks - A yogi's BFF (4L). Bring at least one block, two if you can swing it. You want your student to be as comfortable as possible, and blocks are one of my favorite ways to deepen a client's experience. For newer students, I usually go with a foam block.
  • Strap - Just like blocks, straps allow students to access shapes that might not happen otherwise.  I always bring my 8 foot yoga strap; if you have taller clients, bigger is definitely better!
    • Pro Tip: If your client has open hips, bound supta baddhakonasana is an awesome, awesome release right before (or during) savasana. Throw two blocks under each knee so that it's nice and comfy for them.
  • Water - Just like when you're teaching a public class, you need to stay hydrated while you're yapping your face off about those eight limbs and all those poses. I'm currently obsessed with Gaiam's insulated water bottle - great for ice-cold water, or super-hot lemon tea.
  • Comfy Clothes - get your clothing ready before you head out, so you're not scrambling around for something clean. I'm all for a good leggings/sports bra combo with a loose tee thrown on top.

Then, of course, the extras: any oils you like, incense, crystals - whatever you use to make your practice special, that you think your client would also appreciate. 

PS - if you're looking to stock up on any yoga goodies, head on over to Gaiam. My code will get ya 20% off all orders over $50: AMANDA30 :)

What else do YOU bring to your client sessions? Let me know in the comments!

If you’re squeezing your butt in bridge pose, you’re doing it wrong.

Okay guys. Bridge pose.

I’ve heard a lot of teachers say “squeeze your butt a LOT” as you press up. That’s cool, but I don’t necessarily agree with the phrasing — it takes the focus away from strengthening other parts of the body…and if you just think about squeezing/going UP, you’re priming yourself for low back/tailbone pain later.

Instead of thinking about squeezing the butt, do this.

  • Drive deep into your heels.
  • Draw the tailbone towards the heels so that belly can hug the spine.
  • FIRM THE QUADS. Roll the inner thighs down, and use THAT strength to lift your hips higher. Tailbone reaches towards the knees.

    Yeah, sure, the butt may squeeze a little, but think more low glutes (if anything) and make the effort to avoid crunching your low back. Chest broad, deep breaths…you know the drill from there.

If you want a visual, check it out:


Too scared to go to a public yoga class? Read this.

I’m the first to admit that public yoga classes can be crazy-intimidating. Walking into a new space, probably alone, surrounded by people you can only assume have been practicing for years longer than you have…it’s scary. As a new student, it’s easy to assume everyone around you is more strong, more flexible, a better meditator (..or whatever it is).

And I totally get it. Just like any new, intimidating situation, it’s easy to think yourself down the “i’m not good enough” rabbit hole and psych yourself out of ever going to class in the first place.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: a few of the students seated around you are probably just as intimidated as you. And if they’re not…I guarantee they were, at one point.

I certainly was. My first few months practicing, I would walk into the studio almost shaking because I was so nervous. But eventually, something clicked. I realized most of my fears were self-imposed, and I started learning how to drop my ego at the door and just let the practice start to happen naturally.

Take my friend Molly, for example. Last week, she left this on my Facebook wall…

But up until 2 or 3 months ago, I couldn’t get her to a public class if I was on my deathbead. She had the same anxieties that I had when I first started out, and I knew if I could get her comfortable with the fundamentals — but more importantly, comfortable with her beginner’s practice — I could get her in the door at one of my studios.

I worked with her during private lessons for a few weeks, and slowly began to introduce the concept that we’re ALL just practicing — nobody is perfect, and if you’re in the right kind of yoga space, nobody is going to judge you for giving it a try.

Once I finally got her into class, she was hooked! The pieces are slowly beginning to fall into place. Once you start getting in the groove with yoga, it all becomes a little less scary.

Just keep showing up, yeah?