Being a yoga teacher offers you many opportunities, especially for travel! People always assume that you need to have a lot of money to travel all the time – Wrong 🙂 There are many ways that you can sleep for free while you travel, which will save you a lot of money too – and maybe even earn you some money as you teach.
Here are some ideas for you travel loving yogis out here…
Host a yoga retreat in a place you want to visit
Q: If you could travel anywhere right now, where would it be? And how would your dream yoga retreat look/feel like?
As a yoga teacher, hosting a retreat is a great way to travel and get paid at the same time. Pick a place that you want to visit and do some research for retreat centres in this area – The hardest part is probably the planning stage:
- Finding a retreat centre and getting to know their host policies for teachers
- Look out for reviews of the centre online and see what others say – Or even better, get recommendations from friends who already know the centre
- Planning your retreat (how many days, prices to offer students, what the theme is, daily plan, ways to attract students etc)
- Getting a budget for your own travel there (flights, visas etc are usually not included)
Although this may take some time for the planning, it is well worth it! Once you have done the initial stage, all that’s left to do is book your students in.
Every retreat centre will have their own policies – Here are some that you can look out for which will save you money for accommodation and make life easier:
- Check if your accommodation is part of the host package
- Some retreat centres don’t charge teachers anything upfront, they get their share of the payments only from student bookings
- Check if they also do the marketing/sharing/bookings of your retreat to their own students
- Check if they offer other services (like therapies, tour walks etc) – sometimes these are included as free with the host package so you can also enjoy this as part of your trip
These are just some general things to consider – The good news is, once you find a retreat centre that is right for you, you will probably find your Self going back again.
I see this option as a real investment – You gain experience teaching (while growing your student base world-wide), it’s a place where you can return to for both your travels and your work. Plus, if you’re practical and smart about this… you can earn a lot of money doing what you love! 🙂
Find Karma yoga/Seva & volunteer programs
Karma Yoga & Seva: The discipline of selfless action as a way to perfection.
Many yoga retreat centres offer people a chance to live in their yoga community for free, with accommodation and food included – in exchange for work.
The type of work varies and may change according to their needs – but usually it means getting involved with the running of the centre. For example: Food preparation, gardening and cleaning are probably involved. In return, you get to live in a beautiful place, meet some amazing yogis, learn what running a retreat centre or ashram is really like (maybe you might want to run your own one day!) and travel to a place of your choice.
OK, the work may not be exciting and glamorous – There may not be space or time to teach either. But in return, you usually get a lot more than you may expect! Sometimes, karma yogis can also take part in the yoga programs too for free and part of the work exchange package. It also offers a good resting space between other travel destinations for free.
Just like the last tip, research and getting a clear idea of what this involves is important. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – For example: Find out what the daily schedule involves, how your accommodation is (shared sleeping areas are common) and what you will get in return.
Stay at Vipassana Meditation Ashrams
Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. This form of meditation runs as a 10 day silent ashram experience, following a long period meditation routine each day.
It is intense and may not be for everyone – 10 days of silence, no talking or communication and a long meditation routine of waking up in the early hours of the morning. But it is a wonderful experience and I recommend all yogis to try it at least once. During those 10 days, you will have free accommodation (usually shared dorms) and basic vegetarian food – It is run by donation, so you pay what you can and if you can. There are ashrams all around the world, working with the same principles. It’s a space for some serious time out (no phones, no technology etc) and being in your own space.
If you have done this already, you can stay as an old student where you will also get free accommodation and food, in exchange for helping to run the day-to-day work (food preparations, cleaning etc).
Applications are done online – Be very quick to apply on the exact date that it opens as places fill up fast!
This is one of my favourite options for free accommodation – It gives you the opportunity to meet, share and explore with locals. If you really want to get to know more about a place, this is a wonderful way… a real insider’s look at a location 🙂
I think for anyone to open their home to someone is a special thing. It is a great opportunity to exchange and learn – Naturally, the hosts will want to know more about you right from the start. So, take the time to be honest and share who you are in your full profile first. Potential hosts will enjoy learning about your experiences, your philosophies on life and the person who they will sharing their personal home with.
There are many hosts who love yoga and meditation out there – This is usually part of my search criteria so I have something to offer them and it’s easy to have a similar interest.
Remember that this person is offering their home to you – Take time to get to know them, be polite, treat their home, their rules and their schedule with respect. Also, offer to share with them… It may be a free place to sleep but it is good to offer some form of energy exchange too – For example: Offer to cook them a meal, teach a yoga class, exchange languages, share tips on travelling to where you live etc. Don’t just take from your host, be part of beautiful exchange.
Couchdurfing has come a long way and is popular now – But as with everything, keep safety in mind. Read the reviews, leave reviews (both good and bad) for others to know about and go with your instincts on things. I’m a huge believer that our gut instincts are never wrong, especially as a traveller. There are many times when we will be called to tune in – and finding the right host is one of those times for me.
Yoga Trade: Find a job teaching yoga
An online directory to find job opportunities around the world – This is a great site to find potential work, to travel and see what is out there.
To join is free – “The Free membership allows you to create a profile and resume, post job opportunities, and article contributions, read and comment on blog articles, and message with other members”.
However, if you really want to get involved in job searches and making connections, there is a small annual fee for their Passport Memberships – “By registering for a Yoga Trade Passport annual subscription you can connect with Yoga Trade job and volunteer opportunities around the world as well as promote unlimited events to our growing community of 15,000+ yogis. All free community account capabilities are of course included.”
I have not used this but I have heard good reviews from yogi friends who swear by it. This is definitely something I hope to look into very soon!
Yoga teacher jobs in cruise ships and spas
As a yoga teacher, you can find work in many different settings that will involve travel. Think about approaching and researching large cruise ship and spa companies for possible jobs. Many of them will have yoga classes and therapies – Depending on their location, this may include free accommodation and meals too.
Become a festival volunteer
Most of my yogi friends are festival lovers – And many festivals are looking for volunteers to run the show. It’s a good way of getting involved, making connections and maybe having free (or reduce cost) accommodation and entry too (especially for festivals that have camping grounds).
It helps if you are already familiar with a festival – Maybe approach them and see if they need an extra hand in the next event. Tell them your experiences of the festival and what you can offer. You might be surprised that some will be happy for you to teach yoga too.
Nature Reserve Volunteers
This is another open area to explore – Some places may include accommodation too if it is a remote place.
As with volunteer work, the needs of each place will be different so take the time to find out what is involved, what is included and how you can offer to help.
Speaking of animals and nature, if you don’t mind taking care of someone’s pet and home while they are away, this could be the perfect way to travel and have time for your Self to relax! This will give you space to plan your work/travel ideas, do your online stuff, maybe teach a few times if you have something nearby and doesn’t take up much time away from your house sitting duties. I know many friends who take this quiet time to get back into their personal yoga practice too – and even teach in the local parks or beach with their free time.
All you would usually have to do is feed the pets, maintain the house and garden, plus to keep everything clean and tidy… ready for when the owners get back.
Some websites you can explore: