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7 Mindful Reasons to Live #VanLife

#VanLife. This catchy phrase has become a worldwide sensation, and for good reason. Perfectly placed Instagram photos of cozy quarters overlooking landscapes seemingly made by the gods. The thought of whisking away on a whim at any given day to whatever location is calling, alluring, and sexy. Who wouldn’t want to live that nomadic lifestyle? It certainly drew me in, which is why I quit my 9-5 cubicle job in the city and moved to New Zealand for a year in 2017.

Why van life? There are so many reasons to quit the monotonous everyday life to live and work remotely in steel on wheels, but I’m here to tell you living in a van isn’t easy. And it usually isn’t a perfectly tricked out space with power and a water heater and storage and a kitchen (unless you have a lot of time and money). Converted vans are high cost, so sometimes it’s a half hazard attempt. My story included converting a 1997 Honda CRV that cost $2,000 with a $200 additional budget into a ‘camper van’ and made it work for myself and my somewhat spacious partner.

Van dwelling is not about taking impeccable photos and showing everyone how enlightened you’ve become. It’s about letting go and allowing yourself to fall back in love with everything inside of you. It’s about knowing the discomfort of wet shoes, wet socks, wet blankets, one foot of headroom, little storage space and never knowing when it’s going to stop raining. Yet, still finding love at that moment. It’s about forgetting to change the oil and breaking down in the middle of a mountain pass, 20 kilometers from the next village only to find out the village has no mechanic.

There are pros and cons. Sometimes it’s impressive cliffs jutting from the ocean and night skies so clear you feel like part of the stardust. And other times it’s stealth camping in a gas station parking lot with your lawn chair and bunsen burner, while people getting gas stare at you. Because the area mechanic won’t be in until the next morning to give you a tow. Do not decide to leave your life to live this so called “dream” because of the hashtag and to follow a modern-day trend.

Live in a van because…

You’re sick of wasting so much…

Wasting water, wasting food, wasting electricity, and wasting time. All of these things are so precious, but we waste them every day. How many times have you gone to the grocery store hungry and bought so much food that some of it goes bad? Do you shower every day or leave the water running down the sink when you brush your teeth? How many hours a month do you spend sitting in front of the television, use a blow dryer, a microwave, or forget to turn off a light? We’re all guilty on occasion, but the best way to learn is just to do. You know you’ve done away with wastefulness when you look in your food box or mini cooler and see a pack of Spicy Thai Noodles, a carrot, some oatmeal, and raisins and feel you’re living a gourmet lifestyle. Or when you and your friend casually wash each other’s hair with your water bottles at campsites. When you have less you waste less and this is a principle I’ll take with me through the rest my travels.

You want to foster personal growth beyond the span you ever thought possible…

When you give up luxurious things for a minimalist lifestyle, knowing they’re just one job application away but choose to stay in your current state of discomfort, that is growth. When a wet, smelly, cramped car becomes cozy and safe compared to a kingsize bed and apartment, that is change. You begin to look at the world, your self, and your relationship with the things that surround you differently. Van life essentials are food, water, sleep, a good book, and a warm beverage. You don’t need a shower every day, wearing a pair of leggings for two weeks is okay, and it’s uncanny the number of meals you can cook with one pan and one pot.

You want to feel so uncomfortable that you can’t remember what it’s like to put on a pair of dry socks…

Eventually, you’ll grow to find so much love in so many varieties of discomfort. Experience the pains of loneliness, the craving for more than one sharp knife, the inability to sit up straight in bed. Unfortunately, the discomfort heightens in inclement weather. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced a week straight of New Zealand rain in the Southland…but it doesn’t stop. Everything is wet, hiking becomes dangerous and many times you can’t even see the road in front of you. You can only do so many activities from the comforts of your passenger seat, which fosters immense amounts of creativity. Finding gyms with a pool and sauna, going to see a movie, or checking out a book at a library. When’s the last time you even went to a library? You learn many ways to keep all the essential parts of your body clean and how to do laundry in bathrooms. Sometimes you pull up to a McDonald’s and buy a coffee and use their bathroom. Sometimes you use gym locker rooms, and sometimes you get lucky and find cheap campgrounds with coin showers. And occasionally you break down and stay in a hostel.

Because you’re tired of wanting MORE…

We live in a world of constant mores. More money, more clothes, more amenities. More space in cars, apartments, shopping centers. You get the point. Are you tired of always feeling the need for more? Well, let me tell you. Living in a small space with limited amenities gives you the ability to understand what you actually need to survive and be completely content. Clothing? I survived out of a 50-liter backpack and actually gave a lot of things away as I was traveling. A fancy kitchen? A fold-out table with a propane burner, one pot, one pan, a few cheap knives and utensils, and cutlery will do. And to be honest, cooking out of my SUV was a challenge. It took major trial and error to figure out how long I could actually keep fresh food and the most viable way to cook a full meal with one burner. People living and loving van life may not have fancy things, but what they do have is freedom, stories, extra money, and time for travel.

Because you’re missing connection…

I’m talking about real connection. With nature, with people, and with yourself. We are so enveloped within our day to day hectic lifestyle that often times we don’t take a minute to stare at the blooming hydrangea outside of our office. Or admire the perseverance of a baby goose learning from her mother. Hell, a lot of times we don’t even have time to give our grandmother a call. But between the push notifications, emails, alarms, and constant immersion into the land of modern humans, we need a release. Seriously, or you’ll burn out. Connecting with nature is good for us, science says so. There are these things called positive and negative ions that are in everything we see. Positive ions come from things like cell phones and microwaves, negative ions are in nature, especially moving water and forests. We need the energy from negative ions to keep our circadian rhythms intact, to release stressors, and to have a healthy relationship with ourselves and those around us.

To find love and gratitude for the little things…

If you’re looking to be so moved and so challenged and so uncomfortable that you can’t possibly muster up any other emotion than raw love, #VanLife is for you. There was this time I was traveling alone around Wanaka and Queenstown and was having the best time of my life. The sun was shining, I made a kick-ass dinner and reconnected with friends from earlier travels. Then, something felt a little off, a little funky in my tummy, and as you can imagine I was nowhere near a pharmacy. By midnight I’d already taken several trips to the one campsite bathroom, which was a good 30 meters away. Things were coming out of both ends, not nice things and this persisted all night long. Then this sweet woman was washing her hands around five in the morning, she must have either heard me or noticed I looked like the walking dead and offered me peppermint tablets for my stomach, electrolyte packets, and crackers. She was a godsend. After I was able to muster up enough energy to drive another 10 kilometers from the campground to Wanaka and check myself into a hostel for a night. I don’t think I have ever appreciated a private bathroom with a flushing toilet so much in my entire life.

But mostly, do it for yourself…

You are ultimately the one affected most by this paradoxical shift. Not your parents, not your friends, not your Instagram followers…you. This decision will undoubtedly shift your way of looking at yourself and society as a whole. I wrote my first published article while living in a van. I decided I wanted to become a yoga instructor, I realized living in a big city no longer suited me and neither did a cubicle. I reflected on attachment issues, selfish tendencies, and stubborn habits. I fought introverted loneliness and sand flies and a stomach virus. But I emerged myself. My real self. The self I’d been searching for 25 years to find.

The concept behind a van life of doing whatever you want when you want while traveling is a myth. Factors like weather, vehicle break downs, and money are real things. Van life is about growth and connection and learning to live with simple things, like tiny sleeping quarters. Adventure is being open to the road and the Earth and the people you meet along the way. It’s a lot of free campsites and rolling with the punches and learning to allow control to be a thing of the past. Tapping into the ebb and flow of the world around you changes you, it molds you. Van life brings about what you need over what you want.

In all honesty, I prefer it that way.

 

 

Nicole Sheree grew up surrounded by forest and Michigan’s Great Lakes, so it’s no wonder she ran away from her marketing career in the city for New Zealand with just a backpack and yoga mat in 2017. She rediscovered herself, her love of writing, and passion for yoga while living in a 1997 Honda CRV on the South Island. She is now a 200-hour RYT, photographer and content writer for Book Retreats as well as a contributor to publications such as The Thought Catalog. Her art features the human experience through a yogic lens. When she’s not striking a pose in a country far far away you can find her munching on mangos or sipping a strong cup of coffee while lost in a forest or swimming in the nearest body of water. 

IG: @nnicolesheree

A Yoga and Surfing Adventure Story

I have always shared a sentiment with close friends about how yoga and surfing simultaneously saved and ruined my ‘life’. A shift in perspective changes it all into a grand adventure story.

Back in 2014, I had every ‘thing’. Great job, beautiful house and loving relationship. At the age of 25, I was set…..Well, so, that’s what everyone thought. Living in the big city, I would find myself craving to be out in nature and next to the sea. As I talked with friends and family they said, “Jodi, C’mon, you need to be realistic.” – As a dreamer, this word killed me. – I believe people telling me to be realistic pushed me further to listen to that little voice inside. My intuition was telling me to search for something real. With no clue what I was looking for, I knew I had to follow that feeling. At the time I kept contemplating, do I give up my love for my dream, or give up my dream for love?

I opted for the first one.

To say it was easy would be a lie. With many tears shed and a heavy heart, I was on my way, soon realising that less was more. I was struggling with my health at the time due to irregular eating, sleeping and flying patterns. A trusted friend had approached me and told me a surf camp in Sri Lanka was looking for a yoga instructor. Having already trained as a yoga teacher the previous year, I decided to take the next step. After some serious soul searching and contemplation, I quit my air hostessing job of five years and jumped on the opportunity. My next chapter began.

Guiding yoga classes in the mornings and having all day to surf in the tropical waters of Sri Lanka made me realise that I was on the right track. I found a peace and serenity, which further fuelled my desire to follow this new lifestyle. After five months, the season was coming to an end and I was not sure what was in store next…The security of my old life had given way to something far more unpredictable. Scary yes, but what would an adventure be without such feelings?

One thing was for sure. I knew I wanted to continue this path of sharing my love for yoga. The UK was calling as I had a magical crew of friends down in Cornwall that I had met many moons ago in Costa Rica, so over the pond I hopped. Sharing my yoga classes on the golden sands of the Atlantic coast was nothing but fresh and invigorating. This is where I met my current partner who shares my passion for surfing, camping, nature and adventure.

We planned a ‘trip of a lifetime’.

Travelling down the coast of Central America. Starting in LA and making our way down to Costa Rica over four months on a shoestring budget. Always remembering less was more. My dream had become my reality, with meeting so many authentic characters and sharing it all with my partner in crime.

Having spent another lush summer in the UK, fast forward to where I am now – the in-house yoga instructor at Surf Star Morocco – A surf camp that embodies their love for the surf, nature and life. It’s The enchanting Morrocan land of the right-hand point breaks. My daily routine consists of guiding a morning flow to wake the surfers up to hit the waves all day then taking them through a yin/restorative class in the evenings to rejuvenate their bodies & minds for the following day. I am currently in sync with mama nature, rising with the sun and tucked in by 8 pm most nights. Fuelling my body with the fresh food made with love that the camp prepares daily. So, the moral of my story is create your own reality and don’t listen to others when they tell you that you need to be “realistic”. As for me, there is nothing more real than feeling the wind on my face and the waves on my toes. Listen to your intuition and follow your dharma & remember that the best ‘things’ in life are not ‘things’.

Knowing that the path of Yoga has brought me around the world, from teaching on an eco-farm in Costa Rica to the sublime Moroccan coastline. It has physically opened me up and mentally allowed me to overcome insecurities & vulnerabilities of being open to love as it’s all around us and within each and everyone one of us. I am forever grateful to be shredding the radical!!!

 

 

 

Jodi is a yogini from Canada that started her adventures into this trade from Yandara, Mexico. She is currently travelling the globe in the pursuit of waves and sharing her path of yoga. You can find her here on FB here:

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The Fit Traveller

One of the greatest things I have learned from yoga and life itself is the power of CONNECTION. I am so grateful for all of the connections in the world and blessed with the connectivity that the path of yoga presents. One of these connections has been with Skye Gilkeson, aka The Fit Traveller. Although as of now we only know each other via the ‘virtual world’, it is amazing to share our passions for being Connection Catalysts within the global wellness community. The Fit Traveller is an inspiring portal for anyone interested in exploration, retreats, nourishment, and a lifetime of wellness. We are grateful to catch up with Skye and learn about her story here:

What inspired the idea for the Fit Traveller?

Many factors played a part in the creation of The Fit Traveller; my personal passion for wellness and travel and my love of journalism and visual storytelling were all key. I knew I wanted to combine all of that experience to create a space that was both inspirational and informative; that helped people better their lives through health and wellness and broaden their horizons and life experience through travel. I’m very proud of the way The Fit Traveller does just that and continues to evolve, guided by that ethos.

Can you tell us a bit how travel and wellness has shaped your life?

Travel has been a constant in my life from a very young age. I grew up in country Australia so I was always on the road, travelling with family or playing away for representative sport and music. Those early adventures had a profound effect on me. I was very independent and very curious. Travel fed both of those traits in abundance. I loved exploring new places and meeting new people. My first significant international trip was at the age of 15. I went on a sports tour to the US and Europe. I made a decision on that trip that as soon as I finished school, I was going to leave Australia to see the world. When I was 18, I went backpacking around the globe for a year with a friend. I then lived in Spain for a year while at university and I have travelled consistently for most of my life in between those big trips and ever since. Travel is a huge part of who I am. I genuinely believe it makes me a better person. So it makes sense that I have shaped that passion into a business. 

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Wellness has always been an integral part of my life. My mother was a very big influence growing up when it came to healthy eating. We didn’t have junk food in our house – just simple, nourishing food. Even at school, I was always very conscious of eating in a healthy way. Being involved so intensely in sports at school also meant staying fit and being active was just part of my everyday life. I ran a personal training business while completing my post-graduate studies and I loved helping people make small and bigger changes to the way they lived their lives. It is something I’m still very proud of. I have had some personal health struggles too, so I really value my health and hope to encourage others to do that same in any way I can. 

How did you connect with Yoga Trade Travel Rep, Mary Tilson? 

Mary was our yoga instructor during our stay at the Hariharalaya Retreat Centre in Cambodia. There really was something about Mary. I got to know her as an instructor during that time and as a friend and colleague after leaving the retreat center. We were in regular contact and very supportive of each other’s similar paths. That connection grew organically into a business relationship. She is now our Yoga and Wellness Editor and shares her active adventures with our readers when she is on the road. I am very grateful our paths crossed in such a wonderful way. 

What is one of your favorite places you have traveled to this year?

It would be so difficult to narrow down one place to be honest. I have been travelling almost full time for the last year and a half. Most recently, I visited to the Canadian Rockies with The Hubby. I loved that trip as we got to spend so much time being active out in nature. The more time I spend in the mountains, the more I fall in love with it. I have always been a beach girl but the mountains are wooing me more with each trip. There’s really nothing like hiking a mountain with your partner with no one else around. It’s the ultimate indulgence in many ways. 

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What is your advice to people that want to start a business that will enable them to live a life of wellness travel?

Start small. While it can look like a glamorous life from the outside, it can be very tough. I always say, don’t give up your day job just yet. It’s important to know how you really want to live your life; what your non-negotiables are, what exactly your business and your particular niche is and what you are willing to sacrifice to make it happen. Focus on your personal skill-set, formulate a business plan and start with weekends away or short trips and get a feel for how that life would be. It’s an extraordinary way to live, but it’s not for everyone. 

How do you create community while traveling?

I have found social media to be really helpful with connecting with likeminded people while travelling. Going to retreats, group exercise or yoga classes or chatting to people who own small businesses like healthy cafes around the world is a great way to connect with someone you may never have otherwise crossed paths with. I have met some really interesting and inspiring people that way. You have to put yourself out there but the rewards are incredible.

Where do you see yourself and the Fit Traveller in 10 years?

I would love for The Fit Traveller to be a household name in 10 years – a one-stop-shop for wellness, travel, conscious eating, style advice and general healthy living information and inspiration. That’s what we are working towards. 

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Favorite mantra?

“Start where you are”.

Anything else you would like to share?

The Fit Traveller is always looking for new voices so if there are any writers, teachers, photographers or creatives who have a story to tell or some wisdom to share by contributing with content, I would love to hear from them. 

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Skye is a journalist, a former personal trainer, a freelance writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a passionate advocate for helping others reach optimal health and wellness. Skye created The Fit Traveller as both a beautiful online space where readers can feel uplifted but also a place that will inspire them to think differently, move differently and perhaps look at their lives a little differently. After launching The Fit Traveller in November 2014, Skye decided she needed to launch herself fully into building The Fit Traveller community and creating the best quality content for readers. Skye and The Hubby hit the road in March 2015 to travel full time. The Fit Traveller hopes to help you create a life you love by showcasing content that is both informative and inspiring – crafted from in-depth storytelling, beautiful imagery and authentic personal experiences. 

CONNECT:

The Fit Traveller | @thefittraveller

You Are Ready Now

“If not now, when?”

This is a question that has stayed with me ever since my 200-hour teacher training back in 2013. When I was applying for the training I remember experiencing constant flashes of doubt and fear. I had only been practicing yoga for a few years and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to become a teacher. I mean, my handstand was almost nonexistent, and I have never in my life considered myself to be flexible, and standing in front of a classroom full of people expecting me to tell them what to do?? Yeah, right. Teacher? Me? No Way.

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But my teacher, she told me something different. With a smile she asked me the question: “If not now, when?” I’m sure I had a look of confusion, and shock, painted across my face, but then she said the words, “Caitlin, you are ready now.”

It’s easy for us to come up with excuses for why we aren’t ready now… It’s even easier to sit back and wait until we think the timing is juuuust right… Basically, it’s easy to stay confined within the walls of our perfectly constructed comfort zone.

But easy is not what makes us grow.

The harsh reality is: we may never think we are ready. And if we stay trapped in that mindset, waiting until the perfectly ripe moment, life will surely pass us by. Fast. The chances will have expired and we will have to live with regret, thinking about all the things that could have been if we were just willing to go for it.

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You are ready now. You are ready for whatever it is that you have been putting off: a new job, a yoga teacher training, traveling to a new country, meeting new people, or stepping into a whole new way of being. Drop the limiting beliefs and transform the feelings of self doubt into compassion, curiosity and motivation to experience something new.

Give it a go, and let yourself be open to what’s possible. Sure, new things can be scary, challenging, and even awkward, but it’s the scary, the challenges, the awkwardness that will eventually lead us to growth. Because when we allow ourselves to stay with those feelings and learn to not run away from them, they lose their ferocity and they become a little less intimidating.

And we realize that deep down inside, we knew we were ready all along.

 

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Cait Lawson is a 26-year-old yogi, surfer and entrepreneur currently living in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Her goal as a yoga/SUP yoga/surf instructor is to empower others to drop their doubts, to discover their own strength, to let their true light shine.

Connect:

http://www.sunburntandsalty.com/

Inspiring Change: Misadventures

The Yoga Trade community has been talking a lot lately about living yoga, taking action, and inspiring change. There is a lot of exciting stuff going on in the world today and we take pride in celebrating people who follow their purpose by leading something worth changing. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Zoe Balaconis, one of the trailblazing women who created Misadventures; an outdoor adventure magazine for women. They are igniting a print revival by sharing refreshing photography, illustrations, and stories by adventurous women. Movers and shakers they are, and here Zoe’s words inspirit us on how to follow our gut, share our passion, and be the change…

How was Misadventures Mag born?

Back in 2013 we realized that there was a real dearth of women being represented in outdoors, adventure, and travel media (or being misrepresented). Not only that, but there was a lack of women writers and photographers in outdoor magazine mastheads. At first, we thought maybe it was a fluke or an exaggeration on our parts, but after some research we found that there was a glaring gap in the publishing landscape between traditional women’s magazines and outdoors and adventure magazines. We thought we’d try and do something about that. We figured that if we’re feeling this way surely other people are, too.
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Why do you think so many adventurous women practice yoga?

I think part of it is that yoga goes everywhere with you. No matter where you are, or in what situation, you can find an opportunity to practice, even just by focusing on your breathing. Yoga also provides an opportunity to slow down and reflect, which is a rare thing — and all while engaging your body. It’s meditative in the way it challenges your whole self. That body-mind confluence is something I definitely aspire to.

How do you balance your time between exploring outdoors and creating inspiring stories indoors?

That’s a tough one. I try to be very strict about my hours. I get right to work in the morning and stop when it’s time for dinner. I also try to stay away from computers on the weekends. Away!

What makes a good story?

Good characters make good stories (but, of course, a landscape can be a kind of character). There has to be some sort of relationship and movement toward something. Humor is always good. It reveals an author’s sophistication and voice; it elevates the level of narrative in a way that introspection and gravity rarely can for me.
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How can we use our creativity for social change?

Any way we’re able to! Working on a creative project is, in itself, a kind of socio/political statement. And social change is a broad term. It can mean spreading awareness about something, telling a new kind of story, bringing people together, creating a bond that wasn’t there before, exciting a community, challenging a belief or image, asking a question, proposing a solution, protesting the status quo, and so many other things. I think creative thinking is absolutely necessary to inspire change, big and small. It’s all a matter of applying yourself, believing in yourself, starting small, and thinking bigger. Inequality is rampant in this country, and all over the world; some voices are heard so much more than others. The arts have the ability to amplify voices.

 

Why do you think community is important and how have you created community?

Community, in all its forms, provides support. It’s nice to know that you’re not alone, especially when it comes to taking risks. It can also be incredibly motivating to know that you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. You’ve got people to work for; you’ve got things to do. I think we’ve created community by carving out this space for women who have chosen a less well-trod path to share their stories, inspire others, and connect, wherever in the world they may be. So many stories of women pioneers get glossed over or left out — we’ve created a place for them to get their due.
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Any thoughts on the phrase, ‘follow your heart’?

For me it’s always been more ‘follow your stomach.’ I make a lot of decisions based on intuition, and I’m fairly certain that is located somewhere in my guts. At any rate, it’s served me well so far. But, whether you’re following your heart or your gut, I think it’s always good to plumb your feelings now and again. Being in-tune with what gives you malaise or bliss or contentment provides a kind of wisdom…and freedom.

What is your definition of adventure?

The word adventure, for me, recalls something of chance, fortune, happenstance, and a voyage. It means welcoming the unknown and the unexpected, come what may, by taking a risk, taking a journey (of any sort), keeping yourself open to feeling wonder, or just keeping your eyes open.

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Zoe Balaconis is one of the co-founders of Misadventures, the adventure magazine for women, online and in print. Visit their site here and subscribe to get print issues straight to your door here. Their Summer 2016 issue will be out in mid-June and available in Barnes&Noble stores all over the country starting mid-July. Find a copy near you

Movement, Evolution and the Unveiling of Dharma

When I first stepped up to the mat upon my mother’s request five years ago, I never ever expected my life to drastically change the way it did. That room full of 30 women and no men, scared the hell out of me, but with my mother by my side I fought with my body for the next 90 minutes until my ego was battered and bruised, until finally Savasana came and saved my soul. For the first time in my 18 years of existence I started to breathe, and with that the first stillness I had ever really experienced washed over me, I was both fascinated and hooked. It took me 3 years of practice to understand how much of an impact yoga was having on my evolution. My whole perspective upon existence was both simplified and enhanced by the healing yoga brought me, my Dharma began to be unveiled. Every time I lived outside my truth it brought me friction whereas when I was openly expressing and enjoying my expression, my life would flow freely and synchronicities would be more frequent. Yoga continues to ripen my existence and has unveiled purpose within my life. It has re-gifted me my profound connection with nature, not to mention to my higher self. Best of all, I have unveiled that my duty here is to share this beautiful tool of consciousness with the world.

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Fast forward five years and I am living in Guatemala, teaching my own open air yoga class in the mountains above Antigua. Yoga has helped me in the manifestation of a living paradise both internally and externally. It has taken me from the deepest depths of my consciousness to the most spiritually saturated pockets of India. The reason I feel so drawn to helping people find the true essence of the path of yoga is that it gifts me the opportunity to change people’s lives and helps in adding rungs to the ladder of a positive evolution. I praise people encouraging any sort of movement and connection with the human body out there in the world, as I believe they are going to be the pioneers of the new world.

Quantum physics theorizes that your external world is a projection of your inner world. This means that when we look at things collectively, the world is a reflection of the majority’s state of consciousness and to me that signifies an immense amount of suffering eminent within the human race. That means that every time I get the opportunity to connect somebody to themselves or something higher during a yoga practice, I do it as though the survival of the planet depends on it. If we humans continue our fascination with external sensory stimuli and the over-indulgence in the Muladhara chakra our future looks bleak. That is why being able to give someone tools for the cultivation of peace and the alleviation of suffering within themselves is so incredibly satisfying for the soul not to mention crucial for our evolution.

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I am quite new to teaching, having graduated Yoga school in early 2015, yet already I am beginning to look at yoga from a new perspective. I now see yoga as a stepping stone onto the path back to the unconditioned self, call it a tool for awakening. I am able to lift my head and peer beyond the structured and sometimes monotonous western Asana practice, shifting my focus more to the emphasis of movement as a whole. Bringing the deeply suppressed primitive energy into expression and converting darkness into light. I am looking to bring yoga out of the studio and into the world. This is why I feel such gratitude and burning Tapas towards the Yoga project here in Antigua. Practicing up on the mountain amid the clouds, active volcanoes, and old growth forests offers me something more than a regular structured studio practice. We are able to offer our energy straight back into nature for interconversion, we establish an entheogenic bond with the earth that just cannot be felt within anything other than nature. My Dharma is to assist in humanities cohesion with nature and I feel like more and more people are being called forward for this duty.

This is one of the most exciting times in history to have incarnated onto the earthly plain, and those being called forward to assist with the reconnection of man with himself and nature have a vital role to play in our evolution as a species. I thank everybody doing the work both on themselves and within the world from the bottom of my heart. May the path of Yoga guide us forward and shine light upon your Dharma. I implore you to begin practicing in Nature and to assist in breaking down the barriers of segregation between what is fundamentally movement. We all have our divine path awaiting us and I have Yoga to thank for unveiling mine. Keep moving, breathing, and connecting on all planes of existence.

Om Namah Shivaya

 

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Lewis is a Travelling Yogi and Entrepreneur from the Margaret River region of Western Australia. He teaches an organic infusion of Hatha Flow and Power Vinyasa at the Hobbitenango Community in Antigua, Guatemala.

Find him on FACEBOOK ~ or Email ~ yogawithlewis@gmail.com

The Nomadic Yogi Lifestyle

I first became aware of The Yoga Nomads when I read this super resourceful article for yoga teachers. It is no secret that the nomadic yogi lifestyle is continuing to gain momentum and it is inspiration from people like this that make it just a little bit easier for some of us to take the first step toward following a dream. What is super unique about The Yoga Nomads is that they are able to live this lifestyle together. They have found a balanced flow in a way that compliments each other. Soak up this knowledge, wisdom, and brilliance. Meet Anne and Brandon:

How did you two meet?

 

We met in corporate sales selling software for Oracle just over 5 years ago! We started our jobs at the same time and ended up in the same training team. One of our very first conversations was about traveling.

 

What was the catalyst that made you quit your jobs to create a life of travel?

 

It’s safe to say not ONE thing, but many, helped us to make the shift to a location independent lifestyle. A big catalyst certainly was yoga teacher training. We both OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcompleted 9-week programs (not at the same time) that undoubtedly helped us understand more about ourselves and what we were capable of as individuals. Just shortly after Anne graduated from her teacher training program, she lost her job for the third time in a row. Rather than settling for another unfulfilling career in corporate America, we began the conversation of traveling the world. The Yoga Nomads was born one night over pizza and beer and we bought our 1-way tickets to India soon after feeling hopeful and fearless.

 

How do you practice yoga off the mat?

 

The beauty of yoga is the ability to practice anywhere, anytime! In the last week I noticed a few great opportunities… staying calm during hour traffic, being fully present while on the phone with our parents, and even mindfully walking the dogs. Staying present and acting with intention is the goal of yoga off the mat.

 

Can you give us some tips on how to maintain healthy eating habits, sustainability, and personal practice while traveling?

 

Drinking enough water (with lemon!) is a top priority in maintaining a healthy lifestyle OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhile traveling. If we aren’t hydrated properly, everything else doesn’t function at it’s maximum potential. On that note, we always travel with our own water bottles so we aren’t contributing to more waste. It’s incredibly easy (and cheap!) to eat local because markets are everywhere you go. This helps us to eat healthy because we fill up on fruits and vegetables for snacks.

 

Thankfully, all the space we need for a personal practice is our travel yoga mat! Even in crowded accommodations, we are easily able to roll out our mat and practice some asanas. We hold each other accountable to practicing regularly, and always seek out studios in new cities.

 

 

Do you have a home base? Or are you always on the road?

 

Our home base is Minneapolis, MN. It is where we both grew up and where our families still reside. Currently, we are in the process of launching a new venture, Shift_Space, so we are home for the meantime, but will be traveling again soon.

 

Shift_Space creates temporary communities of remote workers and entrepreneurs who live, work, and play together in exotic places. Essentially we rent out an entire resort, turn it into a modern workspace, and then fill it with like minded people.

 

When you come back to the U.S. after traveling, do you ever experience challenges integrating back into “regular” life? How do you embrace this?

 

Absolutely. Reverse culture shock is a very real thing after spending significant time away. We are comforted in knowing we have gained a wider perspective on the greaternomads2 picture and find solace in having each other for support. Together, we try to maintain habits we’ve adopted from the road and continue to connect with others who have experienced something similar.

 

Do you think you will be traveling like this 10 years from now?

 

No doubt in our minds. Travel will always be a part of our lifestyles, however the frequency will ebb and flow depending on life circumstances. But it will always be a priority.

 

What are you most passionate about right now?

 

Creating a lifestyle that allows us the flexibility and freedom to live exactly how we want to each and every day. This will come from a place of authenticity and living our highest truth.

 

 

 

 

nomads5

 

Anne and Brandon are an American couple who left their corporate jobs to travel and teach/practice yoga around the world. They run TheYogaNomads.com to help others do the same. They also create temporary communities of entrepreneurs and remote workers who live, work, and play together in exotic locations around the world at Shift_Space.

 

 

Follow The Yoga Nomads on:

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How to Begin Your Journey as a Traveling Yoga Teacher

I’ve been a yoga teacher for two and a half years, and a traveling yoga teacher for about a year now. I regularly get questions about my adventures, and how I made the shift from living a relatively typical lifestyle in the States to teaching in other countries and living out of a suitcase. Many times the questions are about how to get started in travel teaching for those who aren’t sure where to begin.

First, know that there are several ways to be a traveling yoga teacher: You can travel and teach as a type of vacation (or get-away) by offering yoga-oriented retreats in beautiful locations, and make a nice little chunk of money to do so. You can also travel-teach as a lifestyle by offering specialized workshops like more well-known teachers (think Meghan Currie, Patrick Beach, and many others). Both of these sort of require that you already have a small following of local and/or international students.

If, however, you (1) are a newer teacher; (2) don’t yet have a solid following of students; or (3) aren’t sure what your unique offering is at this stage in your teaching career, but you want to begin travel teaching, then fear not.

Here are a few steps and tips to get you started on your own unique path into travel teaching.

13 Tips to Begin Your Journey as a Traveling Yoga Teacher

1. Create the Vision. Meditate on, dream, and imagine this experience so you can manifest the heck of out it. But get clear on what you want, and where you want (and are willing) to go.

2. Know that getting paid might not be an option as working in another country typically requires a work visa, which can be a lengthy and expensive process. So refer to #1, and know what you want. If you want to move to another country for a year or more, then maybe applying for a work visa is the way to go.

3. If, however, you want to spend only a few months in a country before moving on, then mari3_playa-cocleswork-trade or volunteer teaching might be the best option for you. This is what I’ve done for all of my teaching opportunities. Almost all places offer room and board in exchange for teaching, and some places even offer meals. Do your research and know exactly what the exchange is before you apply.

4. You will probably be sharing your living space in some capacity with other people. You might have a private room with shared bathroom and kitchen. You might have to share the bedroom as well. Determine what you can live with before you apply.

5. Do your research, and know the area of the world you’re going into. Is it a developed country? Or is it still categorized as ‘developing’? This matters because your living situation will likely reflect the economic state of the country you’re traveling to.

6. Get on a work-trade websites specific to yoga (Yoga Trade). Join Facebook groups specific to yoga and traveling (e.g., ‘Yoga jobs all over the world’), and even groups specific to yoga in the city, town, or country you want to go to (e.g., ‘Yoga Santa Teresa’). This is how you’ll find out about available opportunities to apply for.

7. Create profiles for non-yoga specific work trade websites as well (e.g., WWOOF, Workaway) because they might end up leading you to the teaching opportunity you 2015-5want. My second teaching placement was volunteering as a receptionist at a hostel that happened to be connected to a yoga studio. Once I arrived, it turned out that the studio needed a teacher to fill in some classes and I ended up teaching four classes a week, in an open air studio, across from the Caribbean Ocean – which was the original vision I’d hoped for.

8. Put yourself out there. Have a professional CV, make a website, and get your social medias running and active.

9. The Universe is on your side, but you’ve got to help her out, so apply to as many positions which meet your criteria from #1.

10. Know that volunteer travel teaching is surprisingly competitive. Despite how strong my teaching resume is, I only get emailed back from about 20% of the applications I send, and only 10% of those ask to schedule interviews.

11. Be diligent and don’t lose heart. If this is your dream, then give it time. Although if you do lose heart, then perhaps this isn’t your path right now. Be okay with that.

12. If an opportunity opens up, and is the next step on your journey as a teacher, then things will effortlessly click into place. But if you find yourself trying too hard, then take a step back to reassess your vision.

13. If things don’t click into place, then trust that the Universe is using this disappointment to guide you. Be okay with this too.

The Universe IS on your side, so set your vision, and then just allow, allow, allow.

 

Headshot

 

Sarah Cavrak, PhD, is an international yoga teacher, reiki healer, and wild woman. She hopes to empower others to discover their own Wild Soul. Find her on Facebook and Instagram @sarahcavrakyoga, as well as her website www.sarahcavrak.com.

The original posting of this article can be found here:

http://www.sarahcavrak.com/blog/13-tips-to-begin-your-journey-as-a-traveling-yoga-teacher/

Yoga Work Exchange in Panama

How Did I Get Here? The Unexpected Fruits I Found After Giving Up the Reins

A Yoga Work Exchange Story

It was my last night at Palmar Tent Lodge and the sky was painted with an array of burnt oranges, pinks, and deep blues. I stood close enough to the water so I could feel it on my toes, and as I watched the sun set I felt my heart so full of love and happiness that it seemed like it would overflow. I inhaled a deep, salty-aired breath and tried not to think about saying goodbye to a place that was now home. A place that felt like I’d forever be returning to in my mind.

I looked over at Palmar’s sleepy little lodge a few yards away and watched as the guests Screen-Shot-2015-09-01-at-3.15.19-PMbegan to trickle in for cocktails and cheap rum shots. So many late nights had been spent there in the past three months. The booze, the laughter, the celebration of new friends, life, and the thrill of travel, all the memories I tried to run through one by one so I could hold on to them tight. After a few moments my boyfriend walked out from behind the bar and made his way down the beach to join me. We stood there together, silently watching the waves, the island, and the setting sun, and I felt completely whole. My life was different. I was different.


My expectations for what I would find on Bastimentos Island were hilariously square. When I got news that I had been hired as the resident yoga teacher at Palmar Tent Lodge in Panama, I thought I had a pretty clear idea of how my trip was going to go. To ensure this, I immediately told myself the stipulations and expectations of my journey. Six weeks. Work. Live. Make friends. NO BOYS. Practice every day. Meditate. Relax. Be a model teacher. And when it was all over, go home. It would be a well-deserved graduation gift to myself before beginning my next chapter into adulthood.


The trip, however, had its own plans. Apart from only doing a few of the aforementioned things, my six-week-turned-three-month journey became a long strange trip, weaving itself into an experience that was something much greater than I could’ve conceived. While at first I fought to fit my experience into the box I thought it should be in, I slowly began to do something I wasn’t fully comfortable with and just let go.


I pushed myself to do away with how I thought I should and shouldn’t act in my role as “the yoga teacher” and the things I should and shouldn’t do to get the most out of my travel time. Rather, I just tried to be. Much to my surprise, the more I let go of the reins, the more the good stuff began to flow.


Allowing myself the freedom to explore and let go of my parameters helped my quirks IMG_4775and offbeat humor shine through my day to day life at Palmar no matter if I was teaching, serving tables, or having a friendly conversation with someone on the beach. By letting go of some of these deep-seated perceptions of what defines me and what I need to be happy I began to experience deeper and more fulfilling connections with others and myself. I fell in love. I made lifelong friends. I taught good classes and bad. I partied, practiced, cried, skinny-dipped, stayed up all night and slept in too late. I ate horrible junk food and ridiculously fresh fish. I celebrated birthdays, the arrival of friends, the departure of friends, and everything in between.


Many nights I’d wake up with a spider scurrying across my skin or a bat hanging above my head in the bathroom. The bug bites were out of this world and at times the heat could be unbearably stifling. And none of it really seemed to matter because I can say, without the slightest bit of hesitation, that it was the time of my life.


Before I knew it three months had gone by. I was laying in bed at the volunteer house, watching a small boa constrictor moving its way about the rafters, and it hit me; this was me living that weird, crazy, and exotic life that I had always read about cooler, more Instagram/blog savvy yoga teachers doing. This was the life that I was wholeheartedly seeking but was too afraid to let go, be myself, and receive.


Now, stateside for a solid five months, I wake up every day and think about traveling again. My old life and my old self don’t quite fit anymore. I feel like the world has opened my door and is constantly beckoning me to come outside and play.


Next up is Southeast Asia and I’m trying to not set such rigid guidelines for myself or the journey like I did before. All I know is this: my best friend (the boy from the beach) will be by my side, I’ll be carrying my life in a backpack, and I will be holding on to the unbridled belief that something amazing is out there waiting for me to let go and welcome it in.

 

Bren-2-of-15

Bren is a is a lighthearted, happy-go-lucky yogini that has reaped the many joys of teaching abroad and at home for the past four years. A sort of “jane of all trades,” she can be found twirling fire, cooking, or hula hooping at any given moment.

http://www.brenharperyoga.com

IG: @br3nnnn

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Breathe. Yoga retreat with Elizabeth Dunne in Guadeloupe

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Soulful Wandering, Annapurna Sanctuary, Nepal

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