25 Aug What’s it Like to be a Traveling Yoga Teacher
Many of us have found solace through our own personal yoga practice. We cannot imagine early mornings without meditating and practicing our asanas. Yoga has helped us reevaluate how we nourish ourselves. It has enabled us to control the thoughts that we have in our minds to create our own reality. It has saved our lives.
Those who are passionate enough about it want to share yoga with the world. We believe that every soul will benefit from this ancient practice. With a tiny tinge of wanderlust in our veins, we leave our comfortable lives and fly off into the great unknown. Afterall, who hasn’t dreamt of teaching in idyllic tropical destinations? Does the glamour of traveling as a teacher live up to the reality?
What’s it really like to be a traveling yoga teacher?
Teaching classes at a yoga sanctuary called Blue Osa in Costa Rica
You will learn to live off a suitcase
And after a few months of traveling, you’ll learn how to fit your entire life in a 32-litre backpack. In my case, I travel with a 28-litre backpack and I always feel like I can live with less. You have no room for anything else other than the essentials: some yoga gear, a pair of bikinis, travel sized toiletries, a book or journal and of course, your millimeter-thin travel yoga mat. You will stop the mindless habit of buying unnecessary things. There’s not much space for buying souvenirs from every country you visit, so you’ll settle with cheap little trinkets to remember places that have been memorable to your spiritual growth.
You will stop obsessing about the salary
It’s no surprise that yoga will pay less than your old corporate position, but the job satisfaction is incomparable. Once you start life on the road, you will accept whatever salary or donations come your way and learn to live with it. There is no turning back, and you wont want to anyway. I once had a job offer from a popular travel company in Melbourne, Australia to work as a travel writer. The hourly pay was equivalent to a day’s work in Indonesia. But I simply had to decline as it was an office job and I was too focused on strengthening my yoga teaching skills at that time.
You wont think of it as a job
Bringing your students into a deep state of Savasana might just be one of the most rewarding parts of the job. When you see firsthand the physical, mental and spiritual benefits that yoga brings to your students, you’ll start feeling invaluable. Finally, you’re getting paid to do something that actually helps people and make them feel good about themselves! When I tell people I teach yoga, they want to try it out for themselves and ask me for a class. Even though they are willing to pay, I always tell them to just buy me a meal instead. I find that energy exchange is so much more rewarding than monetary gain.
Sharing my practice at my island home, my favorite place on earth
It will expand your world
You teach one, maybe two classes a day, then you have the rest of the day to do whatever you want! The whole world is your playground. You will have so much time to pursue your other passions, learn the local language or explore that whole new world around you. You will meet and attract the most interesting people too! You are only limited by your energy and imagination.
You will get creative
Being in a constant fulfilled state of bliss, combined with lots of time in our hands definitely brings out our creative juices. You might find yourself writing, drawing, taking photographs or engaging in new art forms that never even interested you before. Tune into these energies and just let yourself go with the flow. You’ll be surprised at what you can create out of limited resources.
There will be a lot of distractions
Because your students love you, you will get invited to every lunch date, dinner party and weekend workshop. Your itinerary will be filled from morning ‘till nighttime. Learn to conserve your precious energy. Don’t feel pressured to say yes to everything. Keep yourself healthy and make sure you don’t lose time for personal practice!
My yoga assistant Ginger at Rancho Margot, Costa Rica
So are you ready to take your yoga mat on the road? Here are some tips to get you started:
Write a yoga resume – Mention your educational background briefly but focus on your yoga credentials and what kind of yoga you are passionate about. Include relevant skills such as Reiki, massage, bodywork or acupuncture for instance. List down workshops and retreats that you have participated in or helped organize. Add at least 3 personal references that will reply immediately if they are contacted.
Create a yoga blog – Our yoga journey is such an interesting process. Sharing our story with others will leave people wanting to get to know us more as a person. Add some links to teachers, books or documentaries that have changed your perspective. Post your schedule so people know where to find you. Go crazy with photos of yourself striking poses around the world. Show off that Sirsasana!
Give out calling cards – It might be old school, but it works! Listing down your social media outlets will make it easier for others to contact you or get updates on your schedule. You never know when it’ll come in handy.
Get yourself out there – Let people know that you want to travel the world teaching yoga! Register with YogaTrade, Yoga Travel Jobs or Workaway to find opportunities abroad. Volunteering work usually requires one month commitment, while paid yoga jobs require six months to a year contract. And most importantly…
Expand your network – Yoga teachers always help other yoga teachers find new opportunities. There are so many styles and variations of yoga nowadays. We do not have to compete with each other as there is room for everyone to succeed.
So take your pick and hopefully see you on the road!