Would you like to know a dirty little secret? I love what I do. I teach yoga retreats around the globe – and although it’s ultimately very much about giving, it’s so rewarding I sometimes wonder if I have the best job in the whole world.
There are pitfalls of course, but leading a yoga retreat is a sickly sweet experience, filled with positive energy, raw emotion, and meaningful memories that deserve to be treasured.
The truth is there’s no better feeling than watching your students unplug, unravel, and give in to grace. It’s both expansive and beautiful seeing stressed faces soften, and tired eyes illuminate as something deep within awakens. There is a magic in the purity of it all that fills me to the brim, until I overflow with love for each and every person I meet on the mat.
If you’re new to teaching yoga and wondering what it’s like to teach a retreat, allow me to share some insight. Here are the seven wonders of teaching a yoga retreat.
On retreat people come together and meet one another in a space that is less defined by their life back home. With distance comes decompression, and without the usual distractions conversation becomes less superficial. Pretences are dropped, and people begin to connect from a deeper, more spiritual place. Perhaps for the first time people feel properly seen and accepted for who they are. In a very short space of time folks that arrive as strangers leave as life-long friends. As a yoga retreat teacher you will come to know an intimacy among peers and a sense of togetherness that is absolutely touching.
At the age of 87 Michelangelo said ‘I am still learning.’ On retreat, no-matter how much you think you know or how comfortable you are with what you do, there will always be the opportunity to learn and to grow.
Teaching yoga is a co-creative process that is a product of how you and your students respond to one another. Retreats are no exception. It’s impossible to know where you will end up when you begin. It is reflective, revealing journey – for guests as well as you.
You will be called upon to find fresh inspiration and come up with creative solutions to unanticipated challenges. Your students and guest will be just as much of a teacher to you than any guru.
There is a rawness to teaching a yoga retreat. It invites an openness that encourages people to share themselves more earnestly.
As a result of teaching yoga retreats, I’ve come to realise we all have our own stories, those things which have shaped, overjoyed, and almost destroyed us. It has showed me the true strength the human heart. We are all united in our vulnerability and resilience, our capacity to love, our determination to survive, and our desire to delight. It’s very inspiring.
Oh, the places you’ll go! As a retreat teacher, adventure will almost certainly call. Yoga is a constant invitation to embrace the unknown. It’s an inner odyssey that often grants passage to pilgrimage and global exploration. Opportunities to study, to travel and to teach, in locations ranging from the jungle to the beach, are likely to be part of your path if you choose.
As a yoga teacher it’s likely you’ll mix with an international crowd and frequent foreign shores often.
You’ll make friends from all over, and some students will come back year after year until they eventually feel like family.
Yoga teaches people to transform. As the gatekeeper of that knowledge, you get to share wisdom that triggers a chain reaction for change and stimulates shifts in perspective, which can be revolutionary for recipients.
It may sound cliche, but passion and positivity is infectious. Remember the ripple effect? Sharing good vibes with guests and helping make lives a little lighter will impact others positively, as all of those good intentions radiate outwards and amplify until, together, we make the world a better place.
The global image of yoga these days can be confusing, and even controversial at times. But beneath all the Instagram yogis, the lawsuits and the sometimes shiny, seemingly glamorous yoga ‘lifestyle’, there are people simply trying to find their way in the world and do right by themselves and one another.
The truth is teaching yoga retreats isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.