Why Every Yoga Teacher Should Teach Overseas

Why Every Yoga Teacher Should Teach Overseas
Mar 2017

Yogis love to travel. It's no surprise there. We love to expand our mind and challenge ourselves both physically and mentally.
You may have thought about becoming a traveling yoga teacher. Well what is stopping you? Perhaps the time hasn't been right or you've been too intimidated to apply for jobs.

Here are 7 reasons why every yoga teacher should teach overseas (at least once):
1. It's gets you out of your comfort zone.
There is nothing more uncomfortable than teaching yoga in another country. You can control many aspects, but at some point, you have to give up control and believe that things will work out.
?>You uproot your life during your move. Moving abroad promises that you will be an unfamiliar face in a sea of strangers. You won't know your co-workers. You'll have to access your vulnerability & muster up the courage to make new friends. Your neighborhood will be foreign. Simple aspects, like the location of your home or the city's bus schedule, may also be unclear.
For example, although you google-mapped the resort, you may not be sure how long it will take you to get to the grocery store... or how you'll get there.
2. You'll give up simple pleasures of home.
When packing, you'll have to evaluate every single item that you own. What type of shoes do you need? Does your yoga wheel make the trip?
Also, you may not have access to your favorite comfort foods or foods that agree with your stomach. You'll try new foods & spices, some that you'll like & others that you won't.
You may not have the ability to practice yoga with a teacher while you're abroad. You may be the only yoga teacher on-site. You'll have to learn other ways to access your yoga practice.
3. You will learn about cultures different than your own.
You'll meet people who are drastically different than you are. Your student's mannerisms and behaviors will vary. These differences will require you to have sensitivity & open mindedness towards others. You'll learn various ways to appropriately interact with different people & their cultures. Politics, money, and religion can all be awkward conversations that will come up.
You will have a lot of the same conversations over-and-over. You'll make lots of small talk. The questions that will come up often are "Where are you from?" or "What do you do for a living?" While this small talk is mundane, it helps you learn to make conversations with about anyone.
You'll also get to know an abundance of fascinating people with intriguing backgrounds. You'll also create friendships with students that have similar values as yours. Since they are traveling to practice yoga, chances are they have similar beliefs as do you.
4. You'll expand your teaching repertoire.
When you teach at home, you work with your regular students week-after-week. Teaching abroad means that you're going to have a whole new crew of yogis to teach. If you teach at a retreat center, you may see over 300 yogis & yoginis! You'll become more educated on the different ailments and injuries.
5. Teaching yoga abroad forces you to think creatively & quickly.
Your students may not speak your language. You'll have to adjust your teaching style to be more visual. Or you may have to change your cues depending on the culture. For example instead of cueing that your feet should be about three feet apart, you may need to use meters!
6. You're going to have to please your students.
Not only are you a yoga teacher, but you'll also become a concierge, a tour guide, a problem-solver, and so on. These various roles can be exhausting, but they teach you how to juggle many tasks and roles at once.
7. You'll learn to adjust.
You aren't 100% positive of what your studio or classes will consist of. They will most likely have their quirks that you'll learn to adjust to. Although your classes may overlook stunning mountains, unforeseeable circumstances could interfere (& elevate classes.) For example, you may be forced to scream yoga cues while a storm bangs on the tin roof of the studio. Or nothing says "relax" like hungry horse flies attacking your students during savasana. As an instructor, you'll practice aparigraha or non-attachment (of the perfect yoga class.) On the flip side, nature can also play a key role in a retreat's magic. The cool, gentle, wind may caress your student's skin at the perfect time. The birds chirping above may be the perfect unplanned detail during each class.
In conclusion, at first teaching yoga abroad can be overwhelming & daunting. Don't let the fear of the unknown or change stop you from living your dharma! Embrace these feelings, and allow your adventure & the rewards to present themselves! As you can see, there is so much to gain and so little to lose.
What is one action that you can take today to help you move toward teaching abroad? Perhaps it's researching how to teach yoga internationally. Find groups dedicated towards retreat planning or yoga jobs. Talk to a mentor & see if they know someone who needs help with a retreat. Whatever you do, pick one thing that will bring you a step closer to teaching overseas.
Happy teaching yoga internationally everyone!


Jenna is a wanderlusting nature-lover spreading light and inspiring you to explore through travel and yoga. Jenna is the writer and creator of https://www.jennalewins.com. It's the space for travel hacks, adventure planning, and yoga inspiration!

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