My best advice for building a thriving teaching practice…

Yoga is about union and relationship, right? Yoga is about the relationship of my wrists and my shoulders in downward dog, the relationship between my breath and nervous system in pranayama, and the relationship between my mind and the present moment.

Yoga teaching is also about union and relationship, right? Yoga teaching is about the relationship between teacher and student, the relationships among the community of teachers, and the relationship between yoga teachers and the interdependent world we live in.

Building a business or private practice is no different. It is about relationship.

I have people ask me all the time how I built such a full private practice. As you probably know, I have a 25 hour teacher training on the subject that I am actually starting today in DC! There is no short answer, but there are some small ideas I can offer you that I hope help.

I didn’t start out with the intention to grow a full time private practice. {You could though, and I would love to teach you how to get started!} What I did was build the kind of relationships with my clients that facilitated meaningful and profound change in their lives off the mat. They did my marketing for me, their friends, family, and co-workers came to me already sold on yoga and wanted to have me as their teacher.

I didn’t grow my practice with any business know-how or marketing strategy. I built my whole practice before I even had a website. I do think that business education is really important for teachers to invest in {more on that next week}, but that is not how I initially grew my practice.

The growth of a private practice happens in all the small moments that most yoga teachers miss. It is often the seemingly trivial and overlooked moments between you and your students where deep relationship is built.

I talk about these sweet, small moments in depth in my teacher training, and they will also come up here in this blog. Keep your ears and eyes open.

If you need a push to get started, let me offer you this: You need at least one private client to practice on and learn with. It only takes one happy private client to jumpstart a thriving private practice. {Check out my origin story here 🙂}

If you want to teach busy moms, then you need to find a busy mom and offer to teach her for free or reduced price lessons. You will learn so much as you work with her, and when she has really positive changes manifest in her life, she will naturally tell all her friends about you! You could even make it a clear and established trade. Find a mom who is connected to a big network, and offer to teach her for free in return for her help in getting the word out about your services!

I’ve also recently had some questions about how to get your name out online in a bigger way. {I don’t know that I am the expert on this, but I have been featured in Elephant Journal in some cool interviews here and here.} There may be some PR specialists who have a more linear or concrete answer for you, but from my perspective, this is all the same thing. Relationship. I have taken the time to befriend and connect with people in our community where there is mutual appreciation and respect. Out of those friendships there is a natural and organic desire to support and share each other’s work.

My best advice for building a thriving teaching practice?

Teach what you love with clarity, confidence, and authenticity.

Build warm relationships with people in your community.

Invest in your own continuing education, and take precious care of yourself.

Put one foot in front of the other, knowing that growth and meaningful change happens slowly.


So my loves, what questions would you like me to answer about building a private practice?

{The more specific, the better!}

3 Responses to “My best advice for building a thriving teaching practice…”

  1. Sarah Farnsworth

    Thanks! This is all good brain food for me as I go forward!

    I have a question that may be sort of specific, but I’m not exactly sure how to search for this kind of thing! My question is, when you are working in other people’s homes, people’s offices, etc., what kind of insurance is involved in that? Usually you get insurance for a studio, or for your home if you’re working with clients out of your home studio. But when you’re finding people where they are, what does that look like on paper?

    Thank you so much!

  2. Tiffany

    Ahhhhhhh, as I’m growing my yoga business and researching “how to obtain more private clients?” I stumble upon your website and see that you are offering a teacher training that surrounds this topic but it started today. And on top of that, I live in Baltimore so this would have been easy for me to get to. Next time, if you do this again! My question is, with all of your private clients, do you have a certain demographic that you’re teaching? “Busy moms, elderly, beginners, etc…?” If so, do you believe this is important in teaching to one demographic or several? I have a certain niche that I want to put my energy into but am unsure how to go about it. Thanks for your post!

  3. Pam

    Thanks so much for your beautiful writing, Francesca! I appreciate your generosity in sharing these tips and love the one of thinking of a well-connected person in my niche and volunteering to teach them privately. Great idea – I’m working on that one!


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