Teaching Abroad: Could you do it?

Inspiring stories from global-roaming yogis. By Diana Timmins

teach yoga abroad
What's it like to teach yoga overseas?

If you dream of combining a passion for travel and yoga by teaching abroad, what’s preventing you from taking the plunge? Fear may conjure many reasons why right now is not the right time pretty much any time; but perhaps now is exactly the right time to set the wheels in motion. Whether it is paid work teaching at hotels or on cruise ships, assisting on retreats and trainings, energy exchange – for example, free yoga in exchange for accommodation – or volunteer work in underprivileged communities; opportunities are endless, and easily found on networking websites like Yoga Trade.

“Yoga Trade is a community board, so there are no standard requirements. However, common requirements for international work exchange include; completion of 200hr teacher training, ability to teach all levels, confidence and good social skills. It is great to be Yoga Alliance registered and have teaching insurance for personal protection, but not always required – depends on individual situations,” shares Yoga Trade founder, Erica Hartnick, who encourages checking in with a cheery disposition.

“Being open-minded, adaptable and positive is important. Teaching abroad can be a dream job, but also presents challenges; exhaustion, culture shock, rustic conditions. This is part of the excitement and adventure, but you must be able to handle it,” she says.

Reckon you can? Go for it – but ensure you obtain necessary visas and vaccinations to avoid denied access into different countries and contracting location-specific viruses. Only you can bring the dream to life; spread your wings, take flight and explore the universal language of Sanskrit!

 

Visit www.yogatrade.com/yoga-jobs/ for a listing of voluntary and professional paid international opportunities.

 

Looking for Teacher Training? Try Yogatt.com.au

 

 

Lucy Roberts, Byron Bay

Lucy Roberts is a traveller at heart; so combining this with serving others through yoga was a natural progression. Completing Yoga Arts’ teacher training in 2001, Lucy’s first international teaching opportunity came the following year when Yoga Arts’ director, Louisa Sear, invited her to assist on a retreat and teacher training in Bali. Love returned her home for three years, until Sear suggested she co-teach a six-week level one teacher training in Tokyo. This ultimately kick-started a 10-year venture for Lucy; also teaching in India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, China, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

“Teaching overseas has made me feel part of a global family – and taught me to be incredibly adaptable. It can be scary teaching when you have never seen the studio! I have often had sweaty palms whilst fumbling with the stereo and searching to light incense five minutes before a workshop starts, with that voice inside saying: I am so over my head – this is the last time I am doing this. Then another wiser voice says: This is not about you, but about being in service. Get out of the way and let love and light shine through in whatever ways they will,” inspires Lucy.

“There are many great things about teaching on the road, but also drawbacks; preparation and promotion, jetlag, shifting climates, dietary unpredictability, visas, insurance – even loneliness. When you are clear about why you do what you do, these can be overcome; but listen to your body and heart. There are times to fly and expand, and times to ground and land,” says Lucy, currently enjoying her first permanent address since 2005.

 

yoga teaching abroad
Lucy Roberts

Visit www.lucyrobertsyoga.com for information on classes and upcoming events.

* Photographer credit: Nora Wendel from Hey Yogi Media.

 

Sadu Fabian, Melbourne

Sadu Fabian lives up to the spiritual name bestowed to him upon completing his International Yoga Certificate under Swami Satchidananda in 2013; ‘Sadu’ meaning ‘spiritual wanderer’. On New Year’s Day 2015, Sadu began a one-month volunteer yoga teaching stint at a Buddhist monastery in Nepal under the Volunteering in Nepal (VIN) program. In exchange for yoga, Sadu was provided accommodation, food, study opportunities with Buddhist Monks, and exposure to Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

“VIN accommodated me in a modern monastery overlooking the domed stupa of Boudhanath. I had no specific clothing requirements, but was requested I clean myself up after volunteering on a farm in the Himalayan foothills. A local hairdresser removed my locks and shaved my face with a bare blade and no cream – a true test of trust!” recalls Sadu.

VIN yoga teachers help Nepali children, women and Buddhist Monks heal wounds and find a place of peace amid widespread poverty. Working with children presented the biggest challenges for Sadu, but also life-changing lessons about humility.

“We spoke good Nepali English together, and they always carried my bags and called me ‘teecha’ out of respect; but they tested my patience when attention went out the window. I had to dissolve as a teacher; reach them as a friend, a big brother. I had to teach from a place of sincerity to really impart yoga onto them,” shares Sadu.

At one point, Sadu fell ill due to complete diet and lifestyle overhaul; although such hurdles haven’t dampened future plans to volunteer with underprivileged communities in South America and Northern India. This humbling work, he testifies, gives life a golden hue.

 

 Check out Sadu’s Tantric Buddhism-inspired teachings; www.saduarts.tv .

 

VIN seeks certified yoga teachers and intermediate to advanced yoga students to partake in their volunteer program; www.volunteeringnepal.org/programs/yoga-teaching-volunteer/ .

 

 

Mark Robberds, Sydney

Mark Robberds began instructing yoga the ‘old-school’ way when registered teacher trainings were scarce; commencing a five-year informal apprenticeship at Sydney’s YogaMoves in 1999. During this time, Mark assisted senior teachers and taught under their supervision, before continuing studies with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in India. Mark is now a well-respected international teacher, having taught in more countries than not over the last decade. While he admits there may not be much money in teaching abroad until becoming well-established, life-changing revelations are the real riches.

“My first international workshop was around 2003 in Singapore. In 2005, I embarked on a journey of further study and teaching in Kuala Lumper, Singapore, Bangkok, New York and Costa Rica. That trip was scary; I sold mostly everything I had, gave up my apartment, turned down a promotion and quit my job, and hit the road. I felt that I needed to experience life on the road to really mature as a teacher,” says Mark.

“The best thing about teaching overseas is that I have realised humans are humans wherever you go. Of course, there are cultural differences; some will always arrive late, others more military-like. Some give you loads of hugs and kisses; others bow as a sign of respect. At the end of the day, they all have two arms and two legs and move the same way. They all have a heart and mind, and the same mental and emotional yearnings for love and connection,” adds Mark, who shows no sign of packing away his passport any time soon!

Visit www.markrobberds.com for details of upcoming workshops and retreats.

 

Visit Yogatt.com.au for teacher Training Courses