Group Yoga Classes vs. Private Yoga Classes
Updated: Jan 18
There are two main in-person options when wanting to be guided in yoga: private, or group classes. As both a teacher and student of each of these types, I feel I am qualified to share their pros and cons.
Group Yoga Classes
A group yoga class is where you go to a yoga studio or fitness centre and join a scheduled class. There will often be options in time of class, length, style, and teacher.
The size of a group class varies a lot - there could be one or two other students besides yourself, or you may be in a room full of 40+ other students. There is generally only one teacher regardless of class size. (Sometimes a teacher will have an assistant who demonstrates poses or helps align students in a larger class.)
Cost for a group yoga class will be $10-30, with of course a wide variety of membership deals and options depending on the venue.
Private Yoga Classes
A private yoga class is where you personally schedule in with a teacher to have one-on-one instruction.
The practice will be personalized for the student's abilities, needs, and goals. This could take place in the student's home, the teacher's studio, or another yoga studio/fitness centre space in the area.
Cost for a private yoga class will be $50-150 depending on the teacher and their experience and qualifications.
Now that we know exactly what we're comparing, let's dive into my take of pros and cons of each.
Group Yoga Classes
Price - its undeniable that a group class will be easier on your wallet
Social - if you are wanting to meet new people, do an activity with friends, or feel some group energy, going to a group yoga class could be a good fit for you
Teacher Attention is Divided - the teacher is splitting their attention between you and all the other students present in class
Availability - student will need to attend types of classes and time of classes that are available in their area
Generalized - the theme of the class will be decided without student input, and the sequences will be medium difficulty, with modifications given to make it easier or harder (if it is a good teacher). So unless you are a completely average student (you're not) you may find the class to easy or too difficult
Private Yoga Classes
Individual Attention - student has the teacher's complete attention
Student Chooses Theme - the student requests the area of focus, from easing back pain to increasing flexibility to challenging balance, you get to choose what you work on
Student's Abilities - the class will be designed around your individual goals and current abilities (no need to modify to make it easier or harder)
Privacy - as the name suggests, private classes will be without student peers. Sometimes folks that are new to yoga asana will like some private sessions to get comfortable before joining group classes
Schedule - the student and teacher work together to find a time of day and week that is ideal for both parties
Consistency - having a 1:1 relationship with the teacher allows you to work towards long term goals and allows the teacher to plan sequential classes for you
Cost - all those pros come at a higher cost to the student
Overall, I would recommend hiring a teacher for private yoga classes if you can afford it. You might try some group classes to get exposure to different teachers first, and then hire a teacher you know you feel comfortable with. Or you might hire a private yoga teacher to get comfortable practicing yoga before joining a yoga studio.
If attending group classes I would highly recommend signing up for a series, rather than drop in classes. In a pre-registered series, the teacher will plan each class to build on the last which really allows the students to grow and make progress in that area, rather than drop in classes, spending an hour or so having an introduction to many different topics.