Over the years, the question of how to price yoga classes has been a common one I’ve heard from new yoga teachers. Most of them hesitate to charge a competitive price for their classes given their lack of experience. In fact, even I struggled with charging for yoga in my early days. This is typically motivated by self-doubt—and even perhaps sincerity and wanting to do well by one’s students. As a result, many new yoga teachers undercut their own value. They may end up charging low prices or worse, even initially offering free yoga classes.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to do this: Just because you’re a new yoga teacher, that doesn’t mean you should teach for free or offer your classes at the lowest possible prices. Studying yoga is not an easy task; it took a decent amount of savings and investment of your time to get to where you are now. Think of physical therapists, restaurateurs, or any other service providers: Do they offer you their skills and products for free just because they’re new on the job? Maybe they’ll have new client deals or some good promotional discounts, but that’s it. It’s crazy that we think yoga teachers and other fitness instructors need to discount the value of our work. In today’s post, I’ll explain how to price your classes when you’re starting off. But first…
“I’m a new teacher—should I teach for free?”
Absolutely not. There is no need to teach without compensation just because you have less teaching experience. In fact, I would argue that by charging for your time, energy, and effort each time you end up holding yourself more accountable and that in turn helps you learn the ropes as a yoga teacher. This is great for your clients too as they will have a completely professional experience from the get-go and will feel more invested in the classes. Also, it is impossible for most people to survive without being paid for their work. If you’re able to and wish to fully volunteer your services, that’s fine, of course—but in that case, you’re reading the wrong blog post 😉
Understand your yoga market
In the U.S., the cost of living between different areas is highly variable. This has a major impact on the price of yoga classes and what yoga teachers earn. So even before you choose your prices, you need to do some market research. This is essentially looking up what private yoga lessons and group classes cost at your local studios. You can even extend this search by looking at the fees for group and one-on-one sessions at Pilates centers, local gyms, barre classes, etc.—basically, get a sense of the price range of anyone selling wellness services. (Look at related industries only if you can’t find these prices from local yoga studios.) Most will have this information on their website—if not, just contact them and ask.
This information is your starting point. Once you know typical studio prices, you’ll have a good understanding of what the average market rates are for teaching yoga in your area.
What are the different offerings you can put out as a new yoga teacher?
GROUP YOGA LESSONS:
In group yoga classes, the price per class for students comes down compared to private sessions. In addition, the more a student buys up front, the cheaper each class becomes. Group lessons are the most commonly purchased class packs at many studios. Remember to put an expiration date on these passes, as well as terms and conditions. I’ve posted an example below from a recent purchase I made at a yoga studio.
You can make bundles of classes—5, 10, 15, etc.—just pick the magic number for you. But remember that the bigger class bundles have a lower per-class cost than the smaller ones. For example, a 5-class bundle at my yoga studio is $75; this makes each class $15, whereas the 15-class pack is $195, making the per-class expense $13.
You should also offer people a drop-in pass that is for one-time use only and is the most expensive option. For example, my drop-in is $18, but I’ve seen other studios charge anywhere from $16 to $22.
PRIVATE YOGA LESSONS:
Private yoga lessons involved working one-on-one with a student. The advantages here are plenty for both the teacher as well as the student. The teacher gets to fine tune the student’s practice and incorporate more yoga tools like pranayama, dharana, and dhyana, as well as aspects of restorative yoga and yoga philosophy. Sometimes, these tools are less easily applied in modern yoga studio classes when working with groups.
For the student, the advantage is that the private class experience can be curated, and all their needs can be met, for example if a student has a difficult schedule or health- or disability-related needs. Due to the convenience as well as customization factor, private sessions are typically more expensive and can be considered more of a luxury offering. They work well for certain populations.
As of September 2020, a private class is generally priced anywhere from $60 to $95 here in Seattle. In this context, I would advise that you not go below $60 for an hour-long private session irrespective of your teaching experience.
If you’re going to someone’s home to teach rather than having them come to you, then you want to take into consideration the travel time and related costs, such as gas and parking, and include that in your pricing.
SEMI-PRIVATE YOGA LESSONS:
A semi-private involves teaching a small custom group, at best, up to three people. Usually these are family members or friends. This should bring the price for each person down to about 40% less than the cost of a private class. For example, if you charge $100 for a private lesson, your semi-private would be $60/person. Just don’t go so low that you end up charging group rates for semi-private sessions!
IMPORTANT STUFF FOR NEW YOGA TEACHERS TO KNOW:
There are some things that are non-negotiable when you teach yoga classes. Make sure you have all these taken care of on the back end before you get started:
- Liability insurance: There are plenty of options available online
- A cancellation and refund policy
- Details about the pass expiration and other terms and conditions
- Students’ emergency contact information
- What to bring and how to set up for class, depending on whether this is a virtual or in-person experience