How To Get The Most Out Of Your Private Sessions

Private lessons - regardless of whether it’s fitness, academic tutoring, or music - is not cheap. For a well-qualified and experienced teacher you could be paying anywhere from $80 to even $500 per lesson. So, how can you get the most out of your time and make sure you do your part in creating a great working relationship with your instructor? Today, I’ll be mainly focusing on my experience as a private yoga instructor, but these tips can be applied to any 1-on-1 session you have.

Get Clear

The point of having a private lesson is to be taught according to your specific needs and help you effectively reach your goals.

Your instructor is there to personalize the lesson according to those needs while also creating a space where you can be challenged and progress. Before you start on the path towards seeking a private instructor, be very clear with yourself about what it is you want, what you need, and reflect on what works and doesn’t work for you. Ask yourself the following:

  • Why do I need 1-on-1 instruction?

  • What is the end goal?

  • What do I hope to gain from a private that a group class doesn’t provide?

  • (If you’ve had private lessons before) What worked and what didn’t work with my previous instructor?

  • Do I want to travel to the instructor or do I need them to travel to me?

  • What is my availability?

Prepare For The Introductory Call Or Meeting

Do your research.

Before committing to a teacher, it often starts with an intro session or phone call to see if the both of you are a good fit. Prepare for this session by doing your research. Check out the instructor’s website, social media, work history, etc. Prepare a list of general questions that you’ll ask of every instructor you’re interested in as well as specific ones to the individual. The goal is to find someone you can work with long-term who will be the most effective at helping you with what it is you need.

Over Communicate

Miscommunication is the leader in creating problems.

In the past I’ve had situations where a loved one and I are actively arguing and getting upset with one another JUST to find out we actually agreed on what it is we’re disagreeing with. Crazy right? That happened because we weren’t communicating with each other effectively. We all have different ways of speaking, expressing, interpreting, and viewing. To help create the best experience for yourself and get the most out of your time, over communicate your needs, wants, and constantly give feedback. If you’re a private yoga student and something doesn’t feel comfortable or it feels awkward, let your teacher know. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn about yourself and your body by simply communicating what it is you feel. And if you’re worried about looking stupid, don’t. You are there to learn. If you get reprimanded for asking a question, maybe that teacher just isn’t the right one to instruct you.

Be Open

Your instructor is there to help you, not baby you.

You’re not going to like everything your instructor tells you to do. Quite frankly, you shouldn’t. Your instructor is there to help you, and sometimes that’s going to involve things that you don’t enjoy and things you’ve never done before. Take this moment as a mental and emotional exercise towards a becoming stronger and better you. Success starts with the mind first before anything else. So be open to new and challenging things; allow your instructor to guide you and you’ll develop skills and abilities you didn’t have before.


Rome wasn't built in a day.

It’s easy to believe something is not working because you don’t notice the results right away. Give progress time to develop and in the meantime set yourself up to get the most out of the short time you have with your instructor. Be prepared and ready before each lesson. This is so you don’t lose time trying to gather your things and setting up your practice area. Do you homework. If your instructor gives you some assignments, exercises, or practices in between session, do them! Your instructor provides these exercises to help you further progress towards your end goal. If you want to get the splits within 3 months and you’ve been given daily exercises, but only do them in your sessions with your instructor, you’re definitely not going to meet that goal. Remember, it only works if you do.

These are just the few of many tips to getting the most out of your 1-on-1 sessions. If you have any other ideas or suggestions, let us know in the comments!

Claire Ngoon is a Mindbody Fitness and Private Yoga Instructor for the SF Bay Area. To schedule a consultation and learn more about how yoga can benefit you, click here.

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