Accountability for results as Yoga Personal Trainer matters, but the metrics may not be the same our fitness counterparts.
Client retention is an essential part of building a meaningful income through private yoga sessions. Offering a private yoga session as a one-off opportunity might resemble teaching a yoga class for one person, but if you are going to build a long term relationship with a client you will better serve that individual if by building a program that meets their needs - and offers measurable results. This means - wait for it - keeping records.
I know paperwork is often the last thing that yoga teachers what to think about, but as a yoga professional having notes on your clients is essential! At a minimum you will want to take baseline notes about where your clients started, what they hope to accomplish through training, and a way to measure and track development.
Set a Baseline For Later Comparison
With a discipline like yoga, where the most profound benefits are not easily put into measureable numbers like say the number on a scale, or an improvement in the amount a client can bench press, it can be tricky to identify metrics that matter. One solution may be a Likert scale, which is a qualitative way to guage your client's perception of an area of focus. It may be something like this:
I feel confidence in my ability to use Yoga as a stress management tool?
You may list 10 questions like this during your initial client intake. After 5 - 10 sessions, have the client readdress the questions and compare their response.
Demonstrate Physical Improvement
When my clients have physical goals for practice I set benchmarks through postures, based on their level of comfort, perceived strength, and a picture of them in the pose that we can reference later. I also will have them perform a dynamic overhead squat test. I pull this technique from my personal training background, but it holds up in yoga personal training as well.
Retest after 5 - 10 session. And added bonues of retesting is that you can continue to develop their customized program so that you can progress their training, and demonstrate that your services are adaptable and remain relevant for your client's life.
Help Your Client Set Short-term and Long-term Goals
Goal setting for many people is difficult, not because they don't have desires for themselves but often because they feel personally inadequate to acheive them, or because the goal seems so large they aren't quite sure how to tackle it.
I'll start with the second issue - big goals. These aren't bad. They are GREAT! But big goals often take more time, and a lengthy period of time can be a motivation killer. Breaking out both short-term and long-term goals helps your client break up larger goals into more mangeable chunks. Achieiving smaller goals on their way to the larger dream can keep motivation high and help your client see their improvement. S.M.A.R.T (Specific - Measurable - Attainable - Relevant - Time-oriented) goal planning is a great way to take each smaller goal and develop a map for acheivement
Now the issue of inadequacy is tough. Everyone has felt this on some level. "Who am I to desire something so big?"
As a Yoga Personal Trainer, we have to be careful not to also take on the role of 'armchair psychologist', so it's best to go back to what we know well - yoga, it's philosophy and practice. Supporting your client's development through also the study of yoga philosophy, meditation and mantra can be a great way to support your client's ability to practice self-compassion. Incorporate meditation, stress-reduction techniques, and mantra into your session. Invite them to keep a journal of their own meditation experiences, and be a supportive partner on their journey. Remind your client that they have already taken a very meaningful step, investing in themselves! That alone is HUGE action towards feeling more empowered in life.