This week’s post is submitted by Michelle Taffe, creator of The Global Yogi website. Here is an excerpt of her new Ebook, Becoming a Global Yogi. Michelle interviewed me as one of 5 yoga teachers in the book, to offer advice on how to develop an international teaching career.
Since I launched the global yogi website, many people – both yogis and non yogis – have asked me ‘So, what is a global yogi, exactly?’
A global yogi is someone who makes their living as a yoga teacher, but who is also passionate about travel, so they have decided to take their yoga teaching on the road and combine their passion for yoga with their passion for connecting with other cultures and people worldwide.
Why would you want to combine yoga and travel?
Yoga is an inward journey. Through regular asana practice, you slowly get to know your body on a whole different level. You learn where there are energy blockages through recognising that some postures are much more challenging than others: these are usually the ones you need to work on most in order to release energy blockages and tension in that part of your body. Combining a regular asana practice with meditation and breath work (pranayama), the student of yoga goes deeper and deeper inside themselves on a fascinating journey: one that leads to balance and union of mind, body and soul.
Travel, on the other hand, is usually more of an outward journey. We travel in order to discover other places, other people and other cultures. Encounters with people who think differently, act differently and express themselves differently from us open our mind. We are forced to reassess our beliefs and ideas about life almost constantly when we travel – especially in countries that are very foreign to us, and where perhaps we don’t speak the native language.
Combining the inward journey of yoga with the outward journey of travel is a very enriching and rewarding life path. And teaching yoga in other countries to students with different cultures and languages means you have to draw on different resources – perhaps to communicate postures in a different way – thus making you a more well rounded and capable teacher along the way.
If you love to travel, you long to live a life unrestrained by geographical and cultural boundaries, and you have found your passion in teaching yoga, then the global yogi life could suit you well. Obviously though, it is not without its challenges, and it takes a certain type of personality to be able to run an inter-continental yoga teaching business.
Below are some of the personality traits you’d need to have or to develop to become a successful global yogi.
An Entrepreneurial Spirit
A yoga teacher (even one without their own studio) is effectively running a small business. Running any sort of business takes an entrepreneurial spirit: a positive ‘can do’ attitude, a determination to succeed combined with self-motivation and a strong belief in oneself.
Taking your yoga teaching around the world requires all of these skills but also keen organisational skills, excellent planning capabilities, as well as a solid understanding of how to connect initially with prospective students and then build relationships with them.
In order to program your events for the year ahead – you need to be very organised, especially because you might have to be planning things while on the road. Retreats and trainings take some time to fill up, so they need to be organised and programmed well in advance.
Situation: Imagine you have planned a retreat in Indonesia on a remote island. You are very excited about it but there is only a month to go and the retreat is only half full. You have already booked and paid for the accommodation and food, and if you don’t manage to fill up your remaining spaces you won’t be able to cover your costs, let alone be paid by your work.
To teach yoga in your local studio, you need to believe that you have something worthwhile to impart to your students. But to teach students in a number of different countries, to run retreats and teacher trainings, you need to have a very strong belief in yourself and what you have to offer. Without this level of self belief it will be difficult to get through the challenging times – when perhaps an event doesn’t fill up and you have to cancel, or a class of students don’t really respond to your teaching in the way you hoped.
As a yoga teacher who travels the globe bringing yoga to all kinds of different people – you are effectively running a international business – even if on a micro scale. Getting enough work to sustain your travelling lifestyle during your initial years as a global yogi can be a challenge, so determination is a must. If your determination comes from a strong resolve to help people around the world benefit from yoga as you have, and is supported by a healthy self-belief, you are much more likely to succeed.
An independent spirit is an essential personality trait for any aspiring global yogi. Given you will likely be away from your home base for long periods of time, and travelling alone (unless you have a global yogi partner!) – you need to be comfortable in your own company and self reliant enough to know that you can overcome any curve ball that the travelling life may throw at you. And as any seasoned traveller knows, the curve balls will be thrown…how you receive them is up to you.
Sometimes things will go wrong. You may be stuck in traffic and miss your flight and not be able to make it to your next event on time. Someone in your retreat or training may fall and have to be rushed to hospital – interrupting the event for everyone else. Maybe you will have to cancel an event because of not enough sign-ups and loose your deposit on the retreat centre as a result. These are just some of the mishaps that could befall a global yogi. You’ll need to be resilient enough to recover from them all stronger than before, having learnt that that they are just little hurdles on the road, that you can easily jump over rather than roadblocks which force you to stop and turn back the other way.
Does the world need more global yogis?
Do inversions improve blood circulation? Absolutely! Does the world need more global yogis? Most definitely! It is my firm belief that the revolution must come from within. If humans are to progress beyond their current paradigm – where aggression and destruction are more often than not the chosen ways to settle differences – there needs to be a worldwide consciousness shift. And this starts with each person finding peace and harmony within themselves.
Yoga is a powerful practice, which promotes the flowering of peace, harmony and love within the individual. And yoga teachers traveling the world sharing their knowledge and the teachings of their gurus are like bees cross pollinating the global consciousness. The students that they teach in one country are then energetically connected to those in another. And the teachings are slowly enriched and developed through contact with many different ideas, cultures and peoples.
Like to find out more? Read further details about the guide here.
Michelle is offering a free copy of the Guide to the first 10 subscribers from this blog who sign up to the Global Yogi News Digest. And she will send a discount code for 20% off the guide price for all subsequent subscribers. Just enter the code: TFR in the Special Offer box when you sign up.