An Inside Look: my formula for pricing private yoga lessons

Yoga and Money: Part One

There is an inherently complicated nature when working at the intersection between being a spiritual teacher and needing to make a living wage. As yoga teachers we live in this place, and I imagine that almost all of us find some part of this situation challenging.

Every week I have teachers reaching out to me with nuts and bolts questions about how to make a living as a yoga teacher. I began to write a series of blog posts answering these questions and I realized I could not stay silent about the challenges we face when we choose to support ourselves and our families by offering healing and spiritual teachings.

I would like to take the next few blogs to explore this topic and use the same framework as I do in my teacher training.  In The Science of the Private Lesson™, the first few modules begin by discussing the more surface level topics as we learn how to create the container for good, deep work to be done with our private students. As we move further into the training we start tackling meatier subjects.

The first two blog posts in this series will address the surface level issues yoga teachers have with money, and the last one will dive deeper into the heart of the issues. This is a vulnerable place for me to take a stand, and I need some time to synthesize my thoughts on this sensitive subject.

To kick us off, let’s start with this question::

“What should I be charging for my private yoga sessions?”

Some variation of this question shows up in my inbox, or on my Facebook page, almost every week.

I want to be able to give an easy answer, but it is actually a kind of complicated question! There are many factors that come into play when you are creating pricing and I cannot easily answer that question for everyone at the same time.

Factors that impact pricing are:

  • cost of living in your area
  • amount of training you have
  • amount of teaching experience you have
  • how busy you are

What I can do is give you a formula to use when coming up with pricing!

Step One:

If you are coming up with new pricing from scratch, do as much market research as you can. Look at the price of a wide range of therapeutic, exercise, and bodywork sessions. The different modalities will vary quite a bit in price, and this is a good thing! You want to get a sense of the full price range people in your area charge for 1X1 wellness sessions.

Start by finding out the pricing in your area for:

  • private yoga sessions offered in-studio {and in-home if you can find any examples of that}
  • group yoga classes {for reference}
  • personal training sessions both in the home, and at the gym {I expect this will be on the lower end of the services you are looking at}
  • private pilates sessions
  • acupuncture {this will be one of the more expensive services you’ll see, I’d imagine}
  • chiropractic work
  • massage {both in a spa, and if you can find any numbers of bodyworkers who travel, that would be great!}
  • craniosacral therapy {this should be on the more expensive end}
  • any other healing, therapeutic, movement, exercise, bodywork sessions you can find pricing for! What am I leaving out?

Step Two:

Take that price range, and find a number somewhere in the middle that takes into account these factors:

  • amount and kind of training and continuing education you have done
    • trainings in therapeutics, anatomy, and complementary healing modalities will often be most useful for students, and therefore quite valuable
  • number of years teaching and numbers of hours taught over the course of those years
  • how busy you are
    • the busier you are, the more expensive your time is
  • general cost of living in your area

So take the median price of wellness sessions and multiply it by your training, add your teaching experience, then finally take into account how full your teaching schedule is:

Median Price for Wellness Sessions  X Your Training + Your Teaching Experience + Amount of Free Time in Teaching Schedule = Price of a private yoga session with you!

I have seen teachers use complicated formulas based on the time and distance they have to travel to see clients. I don’t do that: you can if you want to, but I really recommend against sharing that process with your clients. It is more information than they need, and makes things unnecessarily confusing.

I know this can feel like an uncomfortable or stressful topic. I never like coming up with pricing either.

How can you: a. charge money for, or  b. put a price on: physical healing and spirituality?

But the bottom line is that you are {I am assuming} a well educated professional who is constantly studying and learning and working to become a better teacher. You take your work seriously, and want to be able to help your clients and students as best you can.

You cannot take care of anyone else if you are not taking care of yourself.

Part of your own self care should mean charging appropriately for your work. We are all in this together, and if we want the healing benefits of yoga to reach as many people as possible, {I do! Don’t you?} we have to carry ourselves as professionals who can afford to take continuing education classes, pay for quality health care, buy healthy food, and save for retirement and vacation. That means you have to charge for your work, and you have to charge appropriately.

Let me help you figure out what that means.

This post is only the start! I know you have more questions for me about pricing for private yoga sessions! This is the place to ask them!

{PS. Next time on the blog we will talk about accepting payment, offering packages, and changing rates. Save those questions for next time!}

34 Responses to “An Inside Look: my formula for pricing private yoga lessons”

  1. Michele

    Thanks so much for this, Francesca! Math is not my strong suit; can you give an example of using your formula?

    In my area, I know of one yoga teacher who offers privates at $100/hour. She has 15+ years teaching experience and 1000s of hours of education, including extensive anatomy (dissections, etc.), teaches 200 and 500 hour trainings, etc. Massage therapists in the area range from $40/hour (chain parlors) to $125/hour (specialized sports therapies).

    For me, I graduated from a 9 month 200-hour TT and an 18-month 500-hour TT earlier this year (extensive anatomy beyond bones and muscles — glands, organs, fluids — and 1:1 yoga therapeutics included). I’m scheduled for another 30 hours in JRI’s TSY next month. Yet I’ve taught only 6 individual sessions at $25 each for 1.25 hours per sessions and have two volunteer 1 hour group workshop sessions scheduled for next weekend (for a total of not even 10 hrs total teaching experience). $25 barely covers my expenses, yet I don’t feel qualified to ask for more until I have more teaching experience.

    Okay, that was a lot!!! Any feedback is appreciated! 🙂

    Reply
    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi Michelle! Thanks so much for this question! You are on the right track taking such great trainings and diving deep into your study of anatomy. You will have so much to offer your students! As you get more and more teaching experience you will be able to and should charge a higher rate. With the little information I have here, my recommendation is to charge $40-$50 for a private sessions, and to raise your rates for new clients quickly as you get more experience. How does that sound to you?

      Reply
    • Rosangela

      Michele, thank you for sharing. I am looking for deepening my studies on anatomy and phisyology. The training you took sounds very comprehensive, do you mind sharing the name of the training?

      Reply
      • Desiree Denene Manweller

        It is fair to ask for a month in advance for private classes in home? If I have to cancel a class then I will take it off the following month. But if the student cancels then??? The problem is one of my. Students that I go to her home cancels a lot. So it’s hard for me to count on that income. I have to know what i have coming in, if it was once in a while but sometimes it’s a lot. How do i handle this?

    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi Rosangela! My anatomy teacher has an AMAZING training just for yoga teachers, and he has an online/home study option. You can check out his website here: http://www.asfyt.com/study-with-us.html and if you register for anything you can use the discount code “francesca” to get 10% off! Wishing you the best! <3

      Reply
  2. Allie

    Hi Francesca, I am in need a help please! I have done some price comparisons in my area. I live out in the country-& know a massage can run $80 and up. Class drop in’s about $10. One teacher I know charges $65-$85/yoga session. Although I don’t know how busy she actually is. I have been asked by 3 people in the past 2 months about privates and I keep getting shot down, when I tell them my prices. That my price is not in their budget {$60} I’ve been teaching for 3 years. 200Hr w/ Yoga Alliance & have extensively studied mind, body, anatomy, etc. I am committed to learning! I feel as though I am in the right price range, but have yet to land a private. Do I stay true to my self and wait in hopes of landing a student, or drop my prices? These past prospective students live about 20min away. My heart says stay with $60, but my heart also says….but you aren’t teaching a privates either!! I am signed up for your training in June!!

    Reply
    • Francesca Cervero

      Hey Allie! I can’t wait to work with you in my training this summer. We are going to have a blast! For your current situation, I think the important question is, “Do you have time to work with a private client for a discounted rate?” Because if you do, I think it would be a good idea! You need some experience teaching in this way, and a discounted client is an appropriate place to do that kind of learning. Does this make sense? Let me know what other questions it brings up for you.

      Reply
      • Allie

        Yes, I have the time to work with her at a discounted rate. It will be great experience for since I’ve had only a handful of privates in the past & I am building my reputation in a new town. {sigh}. Confused at what to ask for. I could ask what is she willing to pay. Thoughts?

      • Francesca Cervero

        I think it is best for you to name the price. It keeps you in the position as the leader. I would let them know they are getting a discount. Even tell them the normal price will be $60, but you are offering a special to your first few clients at $40 a session {or something like that}. What do you think?

  3. Colleen McKinney Ballesteros

    Hi Francesca! I’ve poured over your blogs and online info, and here’s what I feel is missing from your equation – the weight of each piece of info. For example, how high a priority is my free time vs. the going rate of surrounding services? Does one ultimately beat the other? Like a rock beats scissors, paper beats rock sort of deal. For me, I live in a crazy expensive area (Bay Area – CA), BUT I have tons of free time and moderate training/experience. How do those all factor in? I’m doing so much back and forth in my mind over this, and I don’t want to undermine the value of private yoga in general, which is a disservice to everyone. Thanks as always for your wisdom and love!

    Reply
    • Francesca Cervero

      Oh….hmmmm…my sweet Colleen. I think I want to hand this back to you and tell you that you have to decide. But I am happy to help. Do you want to share the range you’re deciding between? Here, or in the SPL FB group? <3

      Reply
  4. Theresa

    Hi Francesca,
    I graduated from my 200HR training in 2007 and have been teaching ever since. I am always continuing to learn by attending classes, workshops and retreats. I am currently enrolled in an online restorative training through Yoga International. My teaching experience includes yoga studios, fitness facilities, schools, wellness centres & manufacturing companies. Currently I teach at a adult lifestyle community centre, physiotherapy and osteopathic clinic, as well, I volunteer teach at a hospice. The rate is different for each place but varies from $40-$50. Now I am in the process of expanding my experience and education with Chair Yoga and looking at retirement residences to offer classes but I am having a difficult time coming up with a rate to offer them that is reasonable. Do you have any suggestions that would help make this less stressful?
    Thank you.
    In love and light,
    Theresa

    Reply
    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi Theresa! Thanks for reaching out. I know how uncomfortable coming up with pricing can be, so I’m happy to support you through the process. What comes to mind for me first is that the pricing for this class should be in alignment with the pricing for your other classes. Is there a reason you think it should be different?

      Reply
  5. Damian

    I was just wondering what your typical session looks like with a customer? Are they all tailored to each individual or are you doing the same thing with everyone. Is it just yoga and deep connections with people, are you meditating with them as well? Do you administer shiatsu or do any extra things like massage therapy? Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my message.

    Reply
    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi Damian, thanks for reaching out! All of my session are tailored to meet the needs of each individual student. No two sessions look the same! I do teach meditation practices to some students but not all. I am not a massage therapist, so my sessions do not include any work like that. You might find this other article answers some of your questions: https://www.francescacervero.com/tailor-yoga-practice-private-lessons/

      Let me know what else is coming up for you!

      Reply
  6. Shelley Ram

    Hello,

    Thank you for this article, it has brought a new perspective on how to price my classes. I am a bit confused on how to calculate the pricing, according to your example, so I would like to write in the comments a few questions, and I would appreciate any type of feedback.

    I only teach private classes, for over 7 years, and charge $65 an hour. I would like to increase my pricing, especially since I am moving to the states in 3 weeks time ( I live overseas ), and I am fully booked throughout the week (I have built a respective amount of loyal clienteles).

    However, I only took one Yoga Training course of 200 hr, and decided for now I would not like to continue studying since I am content with the method I have developed throughout the years ( which include body movement from the world of Yoga Science, Ontological writing, and asking questions).

    Basically, the question is how do I put a price on “your training experience (since I barely had much training) + “your teaching experience” … How do I price those two things?

    PS. I am also a self-employed business developer for startup/ Hi- tech companies (website link).

    Thank you in advance!
    Shelley Ram

    Reply
    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi Shelly! Thanks for reaching out here. I know this can be a tricky one, because it really isn’t an exact science. Let me see if I can help…

      How much have you been teaching over these last 7 years? Once a week? 15 classes a week? That impacts how much teaching experience you have. It is hard to put a price on something like teaching experience, but you can use your seven years as a guide. If a brand new teacher in your area is charging $50 an hour and someone who has been teaching full time for 15 years charges $100 than your price of $65 would be a little on the low end and you could raise it to $75. Does that make sense?

      And as I mention in the blog, the cost of living in your area plays a big role as well. Where in the states are you moving to?

      Reply
      • Shelley Ram

        Yes, that makes sense. I teach around 15 private classes and 1 group class a week. I will be living in Tarzana (L.A) south of the Boulevard. So you think I should charge $75 a week? Does that sound reasonable?

  7. Lorraine

    How does this work when you work at someone else’s studio? Is there typically a percentage of the fee charged that goes to the studio? Or is my private completely mine?

    Reply
    • Francesca Cervero

      Different studios organize this differently. If the studio organizes the schedule, takes the student’s payment and pays you, they usually take a cut, often between 30% and 40%.

      If you manage the scheudling and billing of the student, then most studios will charge a small space rental fee. I’ve often seen that for around $25.

      Does that help? {…And so sorry for my delay in getting back to you! Your note got lost in the shuffle while I launched my podcast. 🙂 }

      Reply
  8. Nick

    So i have leaned on these forums for all my questions. Two years ago i completed a YA Childrens 95 hour RYT class and personally i just started my 200 hour (as i cant register my CYTT) without my 200 hour course. Dont agree with this, but i dont make the rules i just complain about them lol. As a male and father of 6 i became intersted in this training as the content was nothing i have seen before. Literally covering every aspect of a childs needs, trauma, spectrum children, as well as Tapping. So needless to say this TT was worth every penny, after 2 years of donations and side work i want to really take it seriously as it is very rare in my area (West of Boston) to see these course. Im doing more of outreach in families homes (to build comfort and clientelle) i keep my area into account when pricing. But im wondering, as my clietnelle builds what a solid rate for 1-1 as well as groups of up to 5. Be mindful i have my props and minimal overhead, but as a male working not only in yoga but with kids, is this a negative? Just seems like im 1 out of 100. So much to ask, so little space. My concern is im being generous with pricing based on expereince and training. And now i am ready to open up a studio my fear of being a male as well as raising my 50 dollar an hour rate will deter. Any feedback will help, and please keep in mind my goal is to quit my full time job. Thank you

    Reply
  9. Molly Muffoletto

    Hi. I am currently in the contracting phase for a new online yoga service that is launching. I have been teaching for about 12 years, teach yoga at the university here (as a 1 credit course, 3,000+ for a 14 week semester), lead week long retreats which earn me about 2,500-3,000 for the week (12-15 people), my studio classes on the low end are 50 per class to up to 175 per class (most are attendance based). I have no idea what to charge for a pre-recorded online class, 60-75 minutes, for the service’s website. I don’t want sell myself short but I am also very aware this is a new business, though it is attached to a studio. I would be paid per submission but it would be in the library and people would either have a membership or pay per access. How much should I charge? This is a whole new world!

    Reply
    • Francesca Cervero

      Wow, Molly. You are a star! Congratulations on your success. You’ve posed a very interesting question and I’m sure my Facebook community, Elevate: Support + Strategy for Yoga Teachers would be a wonderful resource. Drop an email to my team support@francescacervero.com when you can.

      Bravo to you!

      Reply
    • Jessica

      Hi Molly! I am in the same boat here and researching what is fair as these classes are repeatedly accessible and this is a new arena. Have you found any helpful insight?

      Reply
      • Francesca Cervero

        Hi Jessica and Molly! I’m just popping back in here to try and offer a bit more help now that I’m back at work. 😉

        The bottom line is I literally have no idea what teachers get paid for that kind of work! I’m curious though because there are SO MANY new virtual studios popping up and I could see this being a more standard option for yoga teachers. So…how can we find out? I have several friends who have online studios or have contributed classes to online studios, so I can start by asking them. I do think this would be a fun conversation to have in Elevate, my Facebook group. I’ll be opening it back up on Monday and we can kick things off with this conversation. I’ll be sure to tag both of you so you don’t miss anything! Jessica, is your last name May ? xoxoxoxo

  10. MRD

    I have recieved an inquiry from a small marketing company to come in weekly and lead yoga for their employees. If $65 is my private fee (1-2people) for one hour, does it make sence to add $10 on per head for a semi-privates (3 or more people) small group in a buisness setting?

    Reply
  11. Kerry

    Hi – I am a school and yoga teacher. I lead a Zen club at my school. A family of 8 (ages 2.5 to 9 years old) plus their parents, have reached and asked to come to their home and do a private session, once a month. I have NO idea what to charge to make it beneficial for all involved. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Francesca Cervero

      Oh wow Kerry– that sounds like a fun (and hard!) gig! Do you teach regular kids yoga workshops or classes? What do you make when you do that? And what is the drop in rate for each kid at something like that?

      Reply
  12. Ash

    Hi Francesca,
    I think you may be able to help me. I’m a 200hr CYT and have been leading hatha vinyasa classes weekly for nearly 2 years, mostly in small gyms/private fitness studios, in a small, seasonal lake community in rural southwest Virginia. I was recently asked by a massage studio (located about 45m-1h away) to do a 4-class series of restorative yoga including sound bowls, breathwork, and aromatherapy. I’m unsure of how to handle the pricing for this. Should I name a fee for the series in total? Per class? Per person? Or ask for a percentage overall? How much of a cut should I expect the studio to be taking in this scenario? For additional context, the studio owner is wanting to charge the clients $60 for the series of 4 classes, so $15/class/person. Thanks for any guidance you can offer! xx

    Reply
    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi Ash! This sounds like a fun teaching gig. I’m glad you reached out about it! I think a 70/ 30 split would be ideal (70 to you, 30 to the studio). Sometimes studios try for a 60/40 split, but if you can negotiate for 70/30 that would be better. It also depends who the responsibility of doing the marketing will fall to. Let me know if this helps and any other questions you have!

      Reply
  13. Flora

    Hello Francesca.
    I hope you can help me. I’m a 500hrs yoga teacher with 15th a in yin yoga and I am currently at the last year of another 550hrs of training to become yoga therapist with a program recognized by the International Association or Yoga Therapist. In the next year I will start to work more with private clients for my practicum and move in a clinical setting for the end of it. So I have a lot to offer to my client.
    I started to teach in 2018 and my fee went quickly up $55 by the end of 2019. I live in Orange County, Ca and the life is very expensive. Massage therapist are between $130 and $160 and I am struggling to get paid $100 for 1 hour.
    Most of the time people tell me I’m too expensive, and because I value how yoga can help and I want it to be affordable to anyone I tend to bargain and at the moment I charge a client$60 because that was what we agreed 7 months ago. Although I feel very underpaid also because I give a lot when I organize her sessions. I would like to raise the prices also because the lifestyle has gotten super expensive, but I am afraid to lose her.
    I have colleagues that charge up to $180 (with a completed yoga therapist certification). And I just feel guilty and not enough. I know my value is a lot more as I have a lot to offer and I can help in different situations, but still I struggle even to set my fee with new clients. I would like to set a scaling program but I am not sure how to determine the prices.
    I would also like an opinion on how to charge friends/neighbors or mums that have many expenses.
    I hope you can help me.
    Thank you so much in advance for the time you have spent to read my message.

    With gratitude,
    Flora

    Reply
    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi Flora! Yes, I would love to help you! I’m going to email you some resources and other suggestions. 🙂

      Reply

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