By Rishin Paonaskar, Yoga Teacher and Founder of Rish's Dishes
I recently spent 3 weeks travelling around Central America and teaching yoga which was a great way to do something I love, meet some amazing people and also fund part of my trip. Here are a few tips for those who might be interested in teaching yoga while travelling!
1. Contact as many places as possible.
I contacted a number of places (none of which offered yoga regularly) before I headed out to Guatemala. Don't limit your emails to dedicated retreats (unless of course you only want to teach at a retreat). Even places that traditionally don't offer yoga may be interested as it gives them the opportunity to enhance the experience of their guests. Only one lodge got back to me with a teaching opportunity but ultimately its a numbers game! The more hotels/lodges/retreats you contact the better chance you have of getting a chance to teach. When I contacted places in Tulum where yoga is very popular, I got so many replies offering me cover work that I ended up having to turn work down!
2. Consider what kind of exchange you are happy to make
To be completely honest, I love teaching so much I would almost have taught for free but work exchanges were a great way to keep the cost of my trip down!
Some places may pay you to teach, others might offer free food and board. Another option might be where they allow you to charge guests and then give you a discount on food and accommodation. In some instances, it maybe a combination of any of the above options! It is worth considering which of these would work best for you when negotiating teaching opportunities.
3. Understand the kind of guests/students you might be teaching
I taught in two great spots. One was a lodge in Guatemala where the guests were mostly backpackers and the other was a much pricier eco-resort in Mexico. When approaching each, I tailored my communication to highlight how I could add more to the experience of the guests.
In the case of the lodge in Guatemala which was an uncomfortable 8 hour partly offroad drive (in the back of a pickup truck!) from the nearest airport, I highlighted how I could do a restorative class in the evenings to help them recover from the trip. When contacting the resort in Mexico which was hosting a fitness bootcamp, I highlighted my credentials as a yoga sports coach and how I could tailor my sequence to complement the other activities on offer.
4. Build an online presence.
Its always good to ensure that you have a way of demonstrating some credibility and in this age of the world wide web and social media, theres no better way to do that then by having an online presence.
The first place to get back to me asked if I had a website which I didn't and neither did I have a Facebook or twitter page for my yoga teaching. Fortunately I had recently been featured on TV and was on the online schedule of a couple of studios so I was able to send them the relevant links to demonstrate that I was "real". I've set up Twitter and Facebook accounts now and am also working on a website for the next time I get asked!
Check out Rish's other blog "What If?" about his experience leaving bank to start a healthy bars business here
And for his bio, checkout OM Exchange contributors here