Probably one of the most sought after and over-glamorized professions out there is that of the traveling yoga teacher. Online, it looks easy, effortless, stunning. It seems that for some select elite yoga teachers they get the opportunity to travel the world and make a living at it, fine dining, high fashion and some stretching in between.
However, the life of a traveling yoga teacher is not necessarily all that it seems. Behind the hashtags are a ton of hustle.
1. It’s Mostly Work and Not So Much Play
Sure on Instagram and Facebook it might look like your favorite yoga teachers are living a glamorous near-celebrity lifestyle, but in reality a weekend away of teaching is a ton of work.
In addition to a huge teaching schedule, yoga teachers on the go also have to cover their regular workload. In addition, these weekends are usually packed with meetings, photoshoots, and other work collaborations. Don’t be so envious of that amazing Insta or Snap you saw of a handstand in front of the Eiffel Tower; it probably happened between cab rides.
2. Be Gracious and Grateful
It takes a tremendous amount of effort for a studio to host an outside teacher. From coordinating the stay, to marketing, to filling workshops, there are hours and hours of behind the scenes happenings before the yoga teacher even touches ground.
So when you arrive, acknowledge that. Be grateful. Be gracious. Say thank you. Make sure the studio knows that you recognize and appreciate their efforts.
3. Allow Time for Jetlag and Delays
Flights get cancelled, weather happens, allow for a day or two on the front and back end between gigs so that if something goes wrong you actually still make it to where you’re supposed to.
In general, stress happens because of time crunches. Allow for more time, and stress lessons tremendously.
4. Don’t Be So Attached to Asana
On the road, there is so much less time for a physical yoga practice. It is an amazing opportunity to explore the other limbs of yoga — meditation on long bus/plane/train rides, Santosha — being content in the moment, Pranayama — breath work to help with sleeping or getting energized at off hours.
5. Say Yes!
Go for it. Be open and excited about each new place.
One thing I’ve learned from traveling as a yoga teacher is that the people you encounter have wonderful intentions. Just by saying yes, more opportunities will arise: dinners, speaking engagements, who knows? Say yes!
Traveling and teaching are not for everyone. Among these five listed, other things any traveling yoga teacher must learn are how not to be picky about sleeping and eating, and how to go with the flow.
It's extremely hard to travel when one has dietary restrictions. In addition, it can be difficult to maintain relationships or start new ones. Have a family? A life on the road is not easy; missing birthday parties or first steps can be heart breaking. Just started dating someone great? Try maintaining it when changing time zones every week.
Just because something looks incredible, beautiful, and inspiring on social media does not mean it is everyone’s happy ending. This is perhaps the greatest lesson of traveling and teaching yoga.