Group yoga classes are great, but a private teacher deepens your practice in surprising ways. Whether new to the yoga game, needing rehabilitation from an injury, or just wanting to take your practice deeper, three top-rated private yoga instructors are here to open your mind to the beauty of one-on-one or private group yoga instruction. Kandis Tagliabue serving the Westside of Los Angeles, Randi Cerini of Randi Cerini Yoga in New York, and Mindy Krasner of Move with Mindy in Pasadena, California flex their yoga prowess.
What types of yoga are available?
All kinds of yoga! Kandis practices ashtanga, kundalini, and hatha yoga, and teaches hatha and yin yoga. Randi teaches power vinyasa with some yin yoga (restorative) mixed in—which is a mirror to the type of yoga she practices herself. Mindy teaches hatha yoga that’s infused with her diverse movement-based background.
What are your most common requests from Thumbtack yogis?
Rehabilitation from injuries is a common request Kandis receives, along with people who either don’t have time to travel to a studio, or are intimidated by taking a class with lots of other people.
Getting in shape is big for Randi’s clients. She shares that motivation, stress reduction, and fitness are the reason Thumbtack yogis reach out to her.
Mature adults looking to increase flexibility, improve general toning, or increase relaxation are Mindy’s main clients. She especially enjoys working with mature adults with injuries. She has a lot of experience with dance injury as well as a lot of recovery so she brings her personal background to the table as well.
What happens at someone’s first private lesson?
The first time is usually a getting to know you session mixed in with learning the client’s body and physical needs.
We talk about injuries, tightness, and lifestyle, says Mindy. There’s an open dialogue, shares Kandis, where she learns the client’s goal. Her focus is giving the client what they want (terrific abs) mixed in with what they need (better life balance). The sessions start with slow movement to ascertain where you’re at in your fitness and yoga practice. Randi often uses modified forms of the Sun Salutation to give her clients a feel for the basic movements of yoga and teach them about alignment and connecting the breath with movement. By the end of the first session, shares Mindy, the path is clear for their practice and what they need.
What do you recommend for beginners?
Kandis typically works with beginners, not people who are doing advanced moves like handstand scorpion pose, etc. She shares that the foundation of yoga is the most important thing for those starting out. For beginners, she says, you can only be beginner once, so don’t be discouraged if it takes time. Enjoy the process as you’ll only be new to yoga one time in your life.
Randi is a strong advocate for learning proper alignment. For beginners, it’s so important to have the right foundation. The great thing about private instruction is she can help down to the smallest bit, even moving her client’s toes to make sure they’re in perfect alignment. Private classes mean lots of hands on and starting people off on the right path.
Mindy loves working with beginners. She’s patient and compassionate and that helps when someone is new or injured. If you’re starting yoga for the first time, she says, start slow with the foundations in a gentle class. It’s best to do a private class, but if you’re opting for a group, choose a beginner’s basics class.
What are the benefits of taking a private class?
All the attention is on you! It’s like the benefits a student receives from a tutor versus classroom learning, says Kandis. She teaches students the English and Sanskrit terms for yoga poses. Her goal is to prepare them to take group classes at studios “out in the wild” and be comfortable and confident, while continuing to fine tune their practice with private sessions.
There’s safety in private yoga instruction, says Randi. All your injuries and special needs are addressed in each pose. You can also build a new practice much faster than in a group setting, she says, due to the focused training you’re receiving. You develop a relationship with the teacher, and each class is fine-tuned to your needs. It’s pretty wonderful.
Oh so many benefits, says Mindy! First of all, is the one-on-one assistance. She’s catering everything she does to the client’s specific body and needs. As a client, it feels good and it feels successful, because it’s happening at their skill level. Mindy agrees that progress happens much quicker in private sessions than within a group setting. A private instructor helps you gain confidence, and progress rapidly and safely.
What’s one of the biggest private yoga class successes you’ve had?
An attorney who started working with Kandis led a very stressful lifestyle. At times he was up for 3-4 days straight, preparing and reading briefs. He knew he wanted to do yoga, but only for the physical relief it might provide. He didn’t even consider the mental components—what Kandis calls off-the mat tools—like breathing, stress relief, and caring for a maxed out nervous system. Just over the course of 7 sessions, he’s reported that his physical symptoms have improved, but mainly his stress and ability to have work boundaries have improved. He’s happier overall and sees more life balance.
An extremely tall man began working with Randi because he literally didn’t fit in yoga classes due to his height. He also wanted to be motivated. At first he could barely manage a hunched downward dog. He’s been taking classes 2-3 times/week and now he’s self-motivated, constantly working on new poses, and has gone from a total newcomer to doing flying crow (an arm balance pose) all within five months.
A gentleman with a chronic spasm in his gluteus muscle came to Mindy for relief. He’d tried group yoga and chiropractors—nothing helped. She tailored specific postures and movements to address his pain, and after one private session he reported that 60% of the pain was relieved. After his second session 80% removed, and after his third session his spasm was almost completely gone. He shared in his Thumbtack review that he may have gotten stronger with just yoga classes, but his chronic pain was addressed with his private sessions.
What are typical rates for classes?
Kandis has a sliding scale from $60-$120, while Randi charges $100 for a 65-70 minute session (depending on travel), and Mindy charges $85/hour.
How do you recommend finding the right private yoga instructor?
Thumbtack does a good job of allowing teachers to upload all their info, shares Kandis, so you can find out a lot about their practice. Make sure the teacher is responsive to you. If they’re too busy, find someone else. If you have a special need—such as pregnancy—make sure your teacher has the proper training for it.
Research where the teacher did their yoga training, recommends Randi. Make sure they have a reputable program. Check out their website, and read reviews. She strongly recommends gravitating towards teachers who talk about anatomy, alignment, and safe yoga in their profile.
Be as specific as possible about what you need, shares Mindy. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to get what you need. When I read requests, I’m looking for specific things I know I’m good at, says Mindy. For example if they are an older adult, beginner, unsure, injured, or need flexibility, those are areas I shine in and love to help people grow in.
Are you ready to start your private yoga practice?