Private Yoga Classes: a teacher’s point of view (Juli)

Since I have started working with English Yoga Berlin, I have been in an enquiry about private yoga classes and what they have to offer, and how the teachers themselves experience them. Here is Juli’s experience:

pirvate yoga classes: Juli

I have never had a private lesson myself, although I have given them. I have received private sessions with osteopaths, naturopaths, physiotherapists and psychotherapists, and while I do not want to draw parallels with these professions (I am not a therapist), I do find that when I give private lessons it feels something like that: it’s private, it’s personal, focusing specifically on whatever people share, be it about how they are feeling or what is going on with their body. Over regular sessions, trust develops a more directed and personalised approach.

As a teacher I help a client learn how to pay attention to their own body, breath and mind, and how those sensations are connected through thought patterns, emotions, and daily activities. I really like to look at ADLs (activities of daily living), and how to unwrap repetitive patterns. When I give a first-time private lesson, I will communicate through email to prepare what a client might need for the first session, and then develop a program for home yoga practice until the next time we see each other. The program usually includes 15-20 minutes of yoga three times a week and some ADLs.

private yoga classes: Juli

the benefits of a private session with a teacher need to be nurtured in our home practice

Yes there is homework, because as my Svastha yoga teacher says; “once a week is nice, twice a week is maintenance, but three times a week is progress.” What he means by progress can be any goal, whether it be to recover from an injury or to feel more lightheartedness.

The mentor/student relationship is essential to the Yoga experience – where you are learning from someone who knows more than you (an expert? but who is an expert in Yoga, we are all learning).  In the ancient tradition, a guru would decide if a student is ready and a student would decide whether this guru was the right fit for them – and I really believe that you can’t learn yoga from just anybody, any teacher – it has to be someone you connect and resonate with. I imagine how the experience of a series of one to ones would magnify the opportunity of that connection and resonance. This is why it’s important to find the right fit.

At English Yoga Berlin we offer small classes for more personalised practice and private yoga lessons. Juli‘s yoga classes in English are a slow Vinyasa Flow yoga / Svastha yoga mix. Contact us here to learn more and book a private session, or check our classes schedule to participate in a group class at our Kreuzberg yoga studio.


So you want to be a yoga teacher?

Making yoga in Berlin more accessible

Small yoga classes in Berlin

At English Yoga Berlin, we get several email requests a day from brand newly-trained yoga teachers to join our team. Unfortunately, we can’t accommodate all of their requests. We pride ourselves on remaining small and community-based, because we believe small classes are especially beneficial to people who are new to yoga or those who want to advance their practice in a safer environment. At larger studios, there may be more opportunities for new teachers, but also more competition.

So you’ve got a 200 hour teacher certificate. What do you do next? How do you start?

Put yourself out there. Get to know the studios in your city. Attend classes to find out if it’s a right fit for you. Try out different studios, maybe the atmosphere is different? Once you find one you like, become part of their community. Do a work exchange, like cleaning or working the front desk. Get to know the other teachers, perhaps they need assistants some time. What does not work is writing unsolicited emails. No matter how amazing your youtube videos or your previous work experience is, nothing beats face-to-face contact. Your email will just get a standard response, if any at all, and be forgotten. This process can take some time, so be prepared to have another job to pull you through until your yoga career takes off.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

While you’re trying out different studios, keep up your training and practice teaching. Some newly certified teachers have already had years of teaching practice before they started their teacher training, and some are just brand new to yoga. And of course, many are in-between. Not only does this help you gain more confidence as a teacher, but it also helps you to build up your clientele. A yoga studio looking to hire new teachers will ask how many students they can bring to the studio. Start by teaching friends in your living room, and they will tell their friends, and that’s how your student-base grows. By-donation outdoor classes in the warmer months help to gather interest by passers-by. Once you’ve built a small following, you can begin to rent space for weekly classes or workshops.


Most people don’t equate becoming a yoga teacher with requiring marketing skills. But these days, almost any job field does. Being a yoga teacher most often means being self-employed. The work is precarious. It ebbs and flows with the popularity of yoga in your area, how many yoga studios there are, and how well you can promote your classes. Some months will leave you dry, others will be overflowing with abundance. If marketing feels overwhelming, you can start small. Make your own flyers or business cards to pass around. Start a website. If you can’t afford it, there are many free options available, even a simple blog or Facebook page does that extra bit.

Will I earn enough to make a living?

That depends. If your lifestyle has a lot of expenses, you may not be able to do it. If you are happy living a modest lifestyle and saving when you need to, it’s more possible. If you move to a small town that has no yoga studio, and people have been waiting for you, you could be very lucky. Mostly though, and especially in bigger cities with tonnes of yoga studios and budding teachers, the chances are slim. Most teachers have other jobs on the side or a partner’s support. One way that a lot of studios and established teachers earn money is through offering yoga teacher trainings. And eventually, established teachers do guest appearances and special workshops, and can get more renowned in the yoga world. Being a yoga teacher is more than simply teaching yoga.

English Yoga Berlin offers different types of Yoga in Kreuzberg. We have small yoga classes that encourage an intimate environment and increased awareness. Check out our schedule to attend a class of Vinyasa Yoga, Tantra Yoga and Hatha Yoga in Berlin.

DIY & Community Yoga

What is DIY?

Photo by Fern

Photo by Fern

I call myself a DIY-practitioner, but the term “DIY” means different things to different people. The term is an acronym for “Do-It-Yourself” and can encompass many different tasks or fields in an approach of taking matters into one’s own hands. My dad is a DIY home repair kinda guy. This came from his rural immigrant background of a hard-working interconnected community without resources or proximity to hire professionals. If you needed your roof fixed, everyone in the community came together to help you do it and shared their skills. As an artist who grew up in a globalized metropolis, DIY means something different to me. I am influenced by self-published ‘zines, punk music and handmade films. More so than just because of economic necessity (but also that), this DIY approach is about autonomy – having my voice heard in a world that privileges the perspectives of white men and their so-called ‘universal truths.’ If I was to wait to produce films after gaining approval from the status quo, I’d be holding my breath until I die. I take matters into my own hands, and use what I have at hand, to create my own films on a significantly reduced budget, saying what I want and how I want. My films will not likely get screened at big festivals, as my production budgets are low, but getting my perspective out into the world can have an emancipatory effect on me and other people in similar situations. And like my father’s, my approach to DIY is also dependent on an interconnected community. I trade resources and skills within the various queer and film communities I am connected to, and organize screenings of others’ work as they do for mine, as well as often working collectively. I could not do what I do without a community. In this way, I think the term “DIY” is a misnomer, and others have felt this too, coming up with “DIO” (Do-It-Ourselves) and “DIT” (Do-It-Together). I stick with the term “DIY,” as it’s been with me for a long time.

Why Community Yoga in Berlin?

photo by Fern

photo by Fern

My approach to yoga feels similar to me. I began practicing yoga about 18 years ago now at bigger studios, but then eventually found that more ‘community-based’ yoga centres suited me better, like Open Door Yoga in Vancouver. I learned a lot there, and really thrived in the community feeling – cleaning and washing blankets in exchange for unlimited yoga classes. I joined the English Yoga Berlin collective in 2013. I enjoy the autonomy of running a collective consensus-based business with other like-minded yoga teachers. We offer small yoga classes (up to about 10 people) so that we can give more individualized attention, which reduces the likelihood of injuries from happening, and helps to support yoga students with chronic pain or other difficulties that might not get addressed in larger groups. We aim to create a community around our yoga classes, though each of us teachers are individuals and have different approaches to yoga – we come together with this concept. We also aim to keep our prices affordable, though even these might be out of range for some people, and during periods in my life I have definitely been in the same situation – and could be again. I would love to offer free yoga classes, and if I were independently wealthy I would. Teaching and sharing what we know about yoga to others takes our time, rent, administration costs, and expensive education, and though I have strong views about it and fight against it when I can, we live within a capitalist system where we are required to earn money to survive. My approach to counter capitalism and make yoga classes more accessible to people with low/no income is to offer sliding scale classes. Some of us earn less or have less/no savings, and this is a way to recognize that and support those who can’t afford to attend a regularly-priced yoga class. If you earn more or have savings, you can pay a bit more to help subsidize someone who pays less. These ‘community classes’ are offered with the same quality and attention as all of our classes, each ending with a guided relaxation using yoga nidra techniques. Because of my personal commitment to a DIY approach and creating interconnected communities, as of this month all of my English yoga classes in Kreuzberg will be offered as community classes. You are welcome to pay the regular prices if you choose – become a registered monthly student, use a 5er card, etc., but the sliding scale option is always open to anyone who attends.

Juli teaches Vinyasa Yoga and Hatha Flow Yoga in Kreuzberg, Berlin.