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Week 11, May 8, Part I Survey Results About Fees


Pre-class announcements –

Dorie Silverman  is offering a “Summer camp” continuing ed for yoga teachers, two Tuesday afternoons for 3 months during the summer, 3 hours each class.  “Friend” Dorie on Facebook to learn more.

Geri reviewed the results from the class survey related to fees, policies, privates, corporate classes, etc.  Here are the highlights.


  • Range of fees for private $60-$125, the average was about $100 per hour
  • Some offer discounts if client pays cash, or buys a package – some never discount
  • Small group rate – $150, or some charged their private rate with $10 per each additional person.  Some small group events included mom/daughter party, couples party, etc.
  • Charge for travel to privates ranged from $10-$20 depending on distance
  • Duration of privates, 60-90 minutes
  • Some studios have very low private rates to help build overall clientele.  The volume is higher, teachers get more exposure.  One teacher talked about teaching as much as 15 privates a week in addition to her group class
  • If you do a private in the studio and that student asks you to come to their house for a private, is that considered appropriate?  If the studio does not have a policy against it, it’s considered okay.
  • If you are doing a private and arrive on time but the client is not ready, make sure the class concludes at the originally scheduled time.
  • Set boundaries.  Some teachers prefer to do privates at studios instead of going to someone’s house, some only do women or couples when a man and woman are both there.
  • Cancellation policy – one teacher said if a private student cancels within 5 hours of class and can reschedule in the same week, she does not charge for the cancellation.  Others have a 24 hour policy, but are flexible.
  • Let new clients know your policy and get it out in the open right from the start.  Good to have rules, and good to be flexible when appropriate.
  • Privates can be good, but they go in waves, should try not to count on privates for financial stability
  • Ideas for building your private clients business:
  • Tell existing clients that your schedule has opened up and if they have a friend to recommend, you would consider it.
  • Announce after class that your schedule has opened and you’re now accepting privates
  • If someone comes up to you after class with some special requests or needs, consider suggesting a private
  • Having a website helps that tells about you, and mentions private instruction available.
  • Waivers for privates – for corporate clients yes, but most did not have waivers for privates

Corporate Rates

  • Corporate class rate $60-$200, some charge $10 per student

Health Club Rates

  • Health club hourly rates range $40-$60 per hour

Studio Rates

  • Most studios offer a flat rate, around $30 per class, with an additional amount per student after the 6th student.  The per student ranges was $3-$11.  For example at one studio, the rate is $3 for students who buy a monthly pass and $5 for others
  • Specialty workshops – $15-$50 per student depending on length of workshop, with 30% going to the studio, and 70% to the teacher.  Some had 60/40 split
  • If it’s an ongoing class, the split with the studio is typically 50/50. An example of an ongoing class is “Teachers’ Conversation”


  • Retreats $60-$100 per day per student – a well-attended retreat can be a lucrative endeavor – teach two classes per day.
  • However, yoga retreats are declining in attendance, possibly due to market saturation

Other yoga vacation options

  • – vacation option where you can be a teacher for a week at a tropical luxury resort and pay just $500 per week for your hotel accomodations.  Great way to travel on the cheap
  • Teacher is residence – can go for one month or a specific amount of time and keep traveling

Advice about setting fees

  • When setting fees – whatever you charge, you have to feel completely comfortable saying whatever the amount is – have to feel secure with it and can be direct about it with clients.
  • From the studio owner standpoint, think very hard about the initial price you set – don’t set too low – it takes a lot the change the amount, too much paperwork, student pushback, etc.
  • Several teachers ask for a raise annually
  • Keep your prices in pace with inflation – if you haven’t raised you rates in 5 years, you should think about an increase.
  • We have a responsibility to ourselves and the greater good of other yoga teachers to keep our rates at a fair market value and charge what we’re worth.

Non-compete clauses

  • Becoming more common

Liability insurance

  • Good to have liability insurance
  • Most studios and health clubs have their own, but also require teachers to have their own policy
  • With Yoga Journal’s insurance offering, you no longer have to buy journal with insurance
  • Philadelphia Insurance was the liability insurance that most used

Emergency in class

  • What should you do when some in your class has an emergency?
  • Think about how you will handle an emergency in advance
  • Ask people to leave class, call 911, be prepared
  • Keep your CPR certification up to date
  • You can never be fully prepared – it’s scary when something happens – but think through the situation in advance.
  • One studio recently did a CPR training for their teachers.

None of us become yoga teachers because we want to become a millionaire.  It’s a service – a valuable service, but it’s hard to make a living.  Consider keeping your day job for a few years until you can build up your practice and following.  The Core Power and other yoga chains have changed the dynamics of the yoga business.  Groupons also can be a blessing and a curse.

With so many yoga teachers saturating the market, you almost have to have niche.  There is a trend toward developing more specialization in your yoga teaching.  Consider what’s good for you and go with it.


Vinyasa Prenatal Yoga Modifications

Yoga pregnancy-1013

Vinyasa Prenatal Yoga Modifications


Kelly Moore writes:

Following up on our conversation about teaching pregnant woman, following is a document with prenatal modifications and assists. In putting this together 3 years ago for our teachers at Om, I leaned towards the conservative side (no inversions, upward bow) as it felt safest and clearest when integrating pregnant women into a class. With that said, there are a wide range of views on poses to avoid/not avoid with pregnancy, so I leave it up to you and your comfort level, relationship with student, personal experience, and prenatal knowledge to inform your teaching. I love talking about this and am happy to share more/answer questions if you have them.


Integration Series:

Child’s Pose: Knees wide to accommodate belly; Forehead on block;

Minimum pressure on belly

Cat/Cow: Focus on Cat side and lengthening the spine. Avoid Cow.

Downdog: Widen feet as need be to accommodate belly; if student is

feeling a lot of pressure in ribs, shortness of breath/dizziness, fatigue or any

other discomfort move them to child’s pose or puppy dog.

Down Dog Hip Opening: Recommend keeping hips level rather than

open to lessen strain on sacroiliac joint, especially in third trimester.

Ragdoll: Open feet wider as belly grows


Sun A:

Take all these postures with wider legs in 2-3 trimesters


Forward fold

Half Lift


Chaturanga Dandasana Modifications/Alternatives:

Regular Chaturanga to upward facing dog ok during first 4 months

Option 1- Hold High plank then push back to down dog

Option 2 – High to low plank & push back to high plank then to down dog

To give student more space, especially in 2 – 3 Trimester, suggest they use

2 blocks under their hands.

Step forward to repeat-no jumping


Sun B:

Utkatasana: Widen feet as belly grows

All can be done as normal:

Warrior 1

Warrior 2

Reverse warrior

Warrior 1 and Warrior 2: Focus on grounding assists through legs; Make

sure they are strong in legs and long through the tailbone. In W1,

backbend should be in thoracic spine.

Crescent Lunge: Avoid twist. Keep hands at heart. To lessen intensity, drop

back knee to floor or come all the way down to a runner’s lunge.

Runner’s Lunge: Move front foot all the way to edge of mat so belly can

easily fall to inside of leg. Offer a block for more lift in the upper body.

Suggest back knee coming to ground.


Vinyasa Prenatal Yoga Modifications

Flip Dog: Avoid; Stay in Down Dog with leg lifted (hip square – work inner

line of leg up to pelvis)

Side Plank: If wrists are unstable, bring to forearm. Support them in the

areas that are closest to the ground. Suggest bottom knee on the floor or

top foot in front to add more support and stability. Bring their focus to the

lengthening of the side body and opening of the heart.

Side Angel Pose: Keep belly lifted away from thigh. Add support by

placing hand on a tall block inside the front foot.


Prayer Twist Series:

Utkatasana: Open feet as belly grows

Prayer twist: Avoid. Stay in Utkatasana with hands at heart.

Gorilla: Modify by grabbing big toes or shins and do not compress belly

Crow: fun pose to see pregnant women in; Option – Take low squat. If

more support is needed, have them squat on a block.


Balancing Series: Balance changes daily with pregnancy, so it is important

that the student listens to her body and if she is off balance that day, to

back off. Offer them support by bringing them to a wall.

Most balancing postures are fine.

Avoid any twisting balancing postures such as Twisting Half Moon.

Dancing Shiva is a great opener, have student take it with leg bent and

thigh a little lower so there is no constriction across belly.

Enjoy these postures: Eagle, Dancers, Tree, Half Moon, Airplane,

Balancing Stick, Warrior 3, Standing Splits


Triangle Series:

Triangle: Regular variation is great – support through legs and spine and

block. Avoid Twisting Triangle.

Standing separate leg stretching: If there is a lot of rounding in spine,

suggest down dog arms so that they lengthen their backside. Avoid Tripod



Hip Openers: Focus on support, stability and strength areas of pose so

that they do not overstretch through hips, pelvis and sacroiliac.

Half pigeon: Block under hip to keep hips level or block in front to allow

space for belly. Stay more vertical to avoid compressing belly. Bring leg

more parallel to front edge of mat to accommodate belly.

Full pigeon: Create space for belly; it will be tricky to do this toward the



Provided by Kelly Moore

Week 9, April 24 – Therapeutic Yoga


Special thanks to Jill’s mom, Shari Gamer, who helped us learn about therapeutic yoga for lower back issues.  Get better soon Shari.

Week 8, April 17 – Adjustment Clinic II


It’s not what you look at . . . .


Week 8 was more asana adjustment education.  See the videos below.

Triangle Pose  Part I

Triangle Pose Part II

Triangle Post Part III

Pigeon Prep Part I

Pigeon Prep Part II

Pigeon Prep Part III

Handstand Spotting Part I

Handstand Spotting Part II

Handstand Spotting Part III

April 23 – Geri’s email


There’s so much good information in Geri’s email, I wanted to include it in our blog.


Hi open hearted teachers!

I hope the adjustment clinic was helpful and that you have been able to practice the hands on adjustments this week.

I have included a several links to articles i thought you might enjoy and below is information about marketing classes and i cut part of an article – the 3 lessons.

Tomorrow, Jill’s mom is coming for a mini therapy session and then some questions/sharing and a little hands on therapy that we can work on one another.

If you have not seen ‘the fuzz speech’ on you tube- check it out before tomorrow if you can

I have scheduled next Monday april 29th at 2p for a practice session at YV.  And i will book out a more dates in May- will announce tomorrow.

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.


from Allie LeFevere

I’m teaching another Dabble class on April 24th — this time Advanced Facebook Marketing for Business.  Join me or pass along to any biz owners who want to walk away a FB guru 🙂

You’ll learn:  How to manage your page, advanced page features and marketing strategies, which will successfully drive more customers to your website, FB page and enhance customer engagement. And you’ll spend less than 15 minutes a day making it happen.  Win win.

Also coming up: 

Advanced Twitter for Business, 5/2:

Resume Writing, 5/21:

Intro to Social Media, 5/23:


If health insurance companies really begin to pay for yoga – that is great for humanity and for us yoga teachers!

Sanskrit course here in chicago-

thought this was interesting-

someone just sent me this yesterday and i am so moved- it’s my class she is talking about-

i do have a secret crush on tara stiles (even though i think she’s too skinny !)


: There’s no substitute for showing up.

It doesn’t matter what you’re creating — a book, a business, a yoga practice, an entirely new way of being in your body …

You can read every guide, take every course, watch every tutorial, hire every expert, research & vision-board & dream & scheme. But there’s no replacement for showing up & doing the work. Thereal work, not the pre-work. (You know the difference.)

: DEVOTION is an action, not an emotion.

Want to know what you’re devoted to? Look at your calendar. Examine how you actually spend your time, on the planet.

If you ‘can’t find the time’ for an hour of yoga, three times a week — or whatever else you say you want to do — that’s fine. Do something else. Check your email. Fly a kite. Learn to crochet. Host a tea party. But don’t kid yourself — it’s tiresome. Be honest about what you’re devoted to.

: You are stardust.

Joni Mitchell wasn’t kidding. The foundational elements of your body — carbon, nitrogen & oxygen — were literally synthesized in the deep interior of ancient stars, billions of years ago. Stars that shattered, and gave birth to planet earth — to paraphrase NASA astrophysicist Michael Loewenstein.

Think about that, whenever you question whether you’re good enough, beautiful enough, talented enough. Worthy of what you want.

You are extraterrestrial, super-celestial, the walking descendent & living heir of a luminous sphere.

You are light, time, the cosmos itself.You hold Uni-versal Power. The power of absolute creation.

BIG LOVE to you all

xo geri

Week 7, April 10 – Freeflow discussion


This week’s discussion was more of a free flowing conversation that loosely focused on two themes: music and developing a playlist (a continuation of last week’s discussion), and various methods for improving teaching.

Music and developing a playlist
Since we covered this thoroughly last week, I will offer only my personal observation – I think we saw a wide range of approaches to music as a teaching tool, all the way from creating a new playlist each day – to those who prefer teaching without music. As Geri mentioned during the discussion, our students are likely to pick up on what we value – if we place a high value on music during class, our students will feel the same – if we value class without music, our students will find value in that approach as well.

Highlights from the discussion about becoming a better yoga teacher

  • Cue with clarity and economy of words. Try to eliminate filler words and phrases, i.e., “Okay, next we’re going to . . .”
  • What’s better “we” versus “you.”  For example, “As we draw our navel towards our spine,” versus, “As you draw your navel towards your spine.”  I think the consensus was to use “you.”  As Dorie said, using “we” can sound a little like kindergarten – “Okay students, now “we’re” going to paint with color.”
  • Audio or video recording class to hear your cues and see your teaching can be a powerful learning tool.  Someone mentioned that Claire Marks occasionally audio records her class and then takes it herself  – great idea.
  • Studio Live TV– the newest trend in yoga where classes are video taped and streamed live so people can remotely take the class. Students pay $5 to take the class and teachers make around $1 for every student who buys the class.
  • We talked about some tricks for teaching/cueing chataranga (see video – coming soon)
  • And of course there was the camel pose discussion and the unforgettable cue that won’t be mentioned here so as not to risk censorship of the blog. I liked the analogy that the pelvic girdle is like a bowl of soup and when you over-tuck the tail bone, the soup spills out the back and when you over extend the tail, the soup spills out the front. The goal is to find equilibrium.
  • Is it best to do teach from your mat and do the asanas with the class, or to get off the mat? The consensus was – as we mature as teachers, we’ll want to get off the mat more and see what’s going on in the class.  Sometimes for beginner it’s helpful to demo or do parts of the class.
  • It’s okay to stop the flow of class to demo and clarify a pose that students are struggling with. Keep the demo to 1-2 mins, and depending on the length of class, keep the demos to a minimum.  Consider using a student to demo the pose.

Kelly Moore’s follow-up email

Hi Everyone,
As a follow-up to our conversation on giving feedback, I want to share the framework I was given feedback during my certification process. Below are the categories that I received feedback on, first from myself as I watched my video and then from the certification team of several teachers. I found it really helpful to be able to observe and understand my teaching on these different levels. I’m happy to share more, should you have any questions.

• Connection to students
• Technical presentation, demonstration, assisting
• Sequencing & tempo
• Delivery: voice, articulation, emphasis & essential languaging
• Body Language (how the instructor presents)
• Ambience & set-up of room/studio
• Ability to speak to mind, body, spirit

See you Wednesday.

Week 6 – April 3, Music – What did you learn?


This week’s blog starts with the reading Rebecca shared at the end of class by composer John Cage.  I think it captures the essence of what we’re all seeking to accomplish in Teachers’ Conversation (and beyond).

“10 Rules for Students, Teachers, and Life” by John Cage

  1. RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while.
  2. RULE TWO: General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.
  3. RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students.
  4. RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.
  5. RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
  6. RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.
  7. RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
  8. RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
  9. RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
  10. RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything — it might come in handy later.

This week’s theme was music. In advance of class, Geri sent the following links to articles about music for yoga:

Class started with Tracy Stonaker leading a kapalbhati breathing exercise.  Some highlights from Tracy’s teachings:

  • Focus is on exhale, very energizing.
  • Intercostal muscles around ribs should stay somewhat contracted to stabilize rib cage.
  • Keep mouth closed.
  • If you’re teaching kapalaphati for the first time in class, suggest that students start by breathing through the mouth (as in childbirth breathes), then advance to practice with mouth closed.
  • Don’t eat before kapalabhati.
  • Kapalabhati is invigorating breath, moves your internal organs, builds internal heat.

Leading into the discussion about music, Geri offered the following:

  • When she first started yoga, people didn’t consider using music, now it’s more the norm.
  • Geri admitted she has a love/hate relationship with music, both as a teach and student.
  • Consider if you spend more time on the playlist than you spend planning the class.
  • Do we want students to enjoy yoga our our playlists? Are we yoga teachers of DJs?
  • Sometimes music can really help, sometimes it can be too loud, or too soft; it’s a very personal choice.
  • It can trigger emotions that have nothing to do with what’s going on in the yoga class.
  • Having music in classes with older students can be challenging for them to hear the teacher over the music.
  • Many students prefer music during class.
  • Music and yoga are a very personal choice – do what feels right to you.

Jill Mokaitis led a discussion about Spotify.

  • Jill creates a playlist everyday – she admitted – she is a playlist addict!
  • Spotify is an app that users have to pay a $10 monthly fee, you download the app to your iPhone, iPad of whatever device you use.
  • Jill posts her Spotify playlists on
  • She uses Spotify because iTunes was too expensive for the quantity of songs she needs.
  • When considering how to construct her playlist – she starts off with songs that have slower tempos and builds, middle of class includes more up tempo, and then slows before backbends, more invigorating during backbends and slows at end of class.
  • Jill finds music on Spotify by connecting with Facebook friends and if they are on Spotify, their playlists will display.
  • In Jill’s opinion, Erica Merrill has wonderful playlists and posts them on Spotify through Facebook: Jill gets lots of ideas from her.
  • Downside of Spotify, it does not have a “Genius” feature.
  • It does have “” and you can download other peoples playlists.
  • Another downside is, if you stop paying your monthly fee, you lose all your playlists.
  • Spotify also has a radio station, like Pandora, which does have a “Genius-like” function.
  • offers free music from live shows.
  • TV shows have great music and you can Shazam the songs you like.
  • Be mindful of transitioning between music styles, like your practice, the playlist has to flow, think about adding instrumental pieces between songs that have a stark contrast in terms of musical style.
  • If there is a song you like, consider looking for other bands that cover that same song.

Stacy talked about using iTunes and creating categories for certain parts of class, i.e, songs for back bends, class opening, inversions, standing pose, etc.  And then she has a library of some she can just pull from to build her playlist.

Email from Kelly Moore:

When I got into my car after our gathering, NPR was talking about a musician from Mali, Bassekou Kouyate and soon after played his music. It was delicious to hear, especially coming from our dynamic conversation about music. I found it to be very uplifting and for the love of all music, wanted to share it with you all. Hope you enjoy it.

Here’s a link to iTunes: