I moved to another country to teach yoga

7 min read

Not too many years ago, I was sitting in my corporate office in Europe, dreaming of a different kind of life. In general, I wanted my life to have more meaning, and I wanted it to feel exciting. In the last years, I have transitioned from Europe to the Philippines, from an office to teaching yoga outdoors, and eventually to also hosting other traveling yoga teachers.

Read on if you dream of teaching yoga abroad! What I learned from my decision to move overseas to teach yoga and how these three years have been.

Get Started with Your Options

You may already be teaching yoga in your country, or you might dream of starting a yoga career. There are many options to choose from, no matter what your motivation.

You will first need to decide on how long you wish to travel and which continent or country you would like to visit. Also, consider what you intend to do with the home base you have while you are away. You don’t need to sell everything and leave for years. Start with a working holiday of one to two months and see if you enjoy it.

There’s a myth that only teachers with high profiles can organize retreats or teach in dream locations.

You can become a yoga instructor in a resort or hotel that offers yoga to its guests if you’re a newbie. It is a good way to develop your teaching skills without feeling intimidated by large groups.

In-house yoga teachers live in resorts and teach one or two classes per day. These are usually small (private to 6-8 students) and cater to beginners to intermediate students.

In this situation, the people in your class are likely to be on vacation, and their goal is to relax and have fun. This allows you, as a yoga teacher, to create a few basic class structures. The guests will come and go so that you can practice these classes with a new group.

Where to find a location

It can take a while to complete this step. Don’t hesitate to offer your service to places that you enjoy if you already travel. You might find that even businesses that don’t offer yoga are interested in starting one. They need someone to lead the way in creating a regular class schedule.

You can start by researching yoga spots in your chosen country or city. Email them and ask if there are any openings for new teachers or if they plan to hire in the near term.

Online, there are many other good resources. YogaTrade has a lot of great help. Retreat organizers and resorts regularly post teaching opportunities. The site charges a small annual fee to give you access to all the job postings.

Take a moment to learn about the organization and the area where you will be working before responding to the post. Not only should you describe what makes you super special but also why you want to work with this particular organization. Many retreat hosts look for this important information.

Many Facebook groups like “Yoga Jobs All Over the World” (yes, with three Ls) post many job opportunities regularly.

Want to learn more about yoga teaching?

It might be of more interest to experienced yoga teachers to find large retreat centers that attract people who come there specifically for yoga. They are places where people can learn new skills, develop their practice, and dedicate their holidays to yoga. In popular hubs, the classes tend to be larger and more focused.

You could package your special skills as a workshop and offer them to retreat centers and yoga studios to gain more freedom. You may be a yoga expert in inversions or arm balances.

You can sell a 2-hour workshop on your talent or special skill to studios overseas. You can travel and still earn money while doing so.

Use the other skills you have that are not yoga-related

Other skills are important to resorts and retreat centers. How many languages do you speak? Are you a good cook? Do you have any experience with (Thai-) massages, acupuncture, or other wellness services, and can you also speak another language? Tell us about your skills in the application.

Consider doing customer service work at resorts between yoga classes if you are an outgoing person who loves to talk with people. Your skills as an accountant, web designer, or graphic artist can be used to promote smaller hotels and resorts.

The key point is that the more you do to improve your experience, the more likely you will be to get noticed.

After that, set your boundaries and refuse to accept anything you feel is off or does not fit with your goals. Ask for a meeting over the phone to check out your host’s personality. You can also ask previous yoga instructors to provide references. No matter how short or simple your stay is, you should always make a contract that outlines your obligations.

What is the importance of money?

Money is obviously important, but how important is money in your situation? This depends on both your experience and where you want to go.

In a work exchange, your host will provide you with food and accommodation, but in most cases, there is no money exchanged. You may be able to negotiate VISA fees or other costs as part of the deal. However, it is primarily about exchanging services.

Yoga classes are limited per day. This can be an excellent way to travel on a budget and gain experience. Plan your flights so you can stay in one area and minimize your travel costs by choosing locations close together.

If you’re looking for a salary that is fixed, then look at larger retreat centers or yoga studios where there are a lot of yogis. They can offer a fixed salary, plus other benefits. Some even cover your flight.

Learn about the VISA requirements for different countries

Unfortunately, pursuing the dream of yoga travel is not without its legal pitfalls. You should always check the VISA requirements of any country where you intend to teach yoga. The VISA that you have can dictate not only the length of time you are allowed to stay in the country but also what you can do professionally.

In some countries, for example, if you work as a yoga instructor in an office for only food and lodging, immigration laws will consider that you are doing volunteer work. You may not have to apply for a permit.

My tip, putting aside legal and immigration concerns, is to stay in one place for a minimum of 3-4 weeks in order to become familiar with the new location and its new routines and to learn about the culture.

Prepare Your Expectations Before You Fly

La Vida Yoga on a tropical Island is a lifelong dream for me. It’s not just about sunset flows and coconut drinks. It’s important to consider what you will “put up” with to achieve your dream.

There can be a lot of insects, no private facilities, and even the basic things like water and electricity can be erratic. Some locations are very remote, leaving you with little to do between yoga classes.

Traveling and teaching can provide experiences that are unlike anything you will find at home. There is nothing like the thrill of meeting new people, having fun learning, learning valuable lessons, and sharing yoga with different cultures. Teaching abroad is a great experience that will change your practice, your teaching style, and yourself in ways that you can’t imagine.

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