Work Trade, Travel and Yoga

Work Trade is an incredible way to experience the world. Whether you head off to an exotic destination, or simply make a new connection in place closer to home, you are opening up to growth. It can be a chance to get a little (or a lot) out of your comfort zone and explore your edges both externally and internally, especially through the lens of a yoga practitioner.

There are really practical reasons to explore volunteering, work trade and paid positions to extend the length of a trip as well as open access to a variety of destinations. Plus work trade is also an incredible opportunity to delve deep into your yoga practice, to gain new lessons and reflections through selfless service, karma yoga and mindfulness. It’s one thing to visit a place as a traveler, tourist, an outsider of some sort; and it is very different to actually slow down, spend time and actually “be” in a place.

Expand your horizons

Meet people from different parts of the world, different countries, and a variety of cultures. This exposure leads to improving your social skills, and the ability to speak and connect with strangers. You’ll grow as an individual, learn many new things as well as form some very genuine bonds with these new friends.

Acquire experience in the field

Taking advantage of opportunities to do work trade can really boost your confidence and ease the performance pressure if you’re newer, or brand new, to your field. Learning and growing while actually doing the work is incredibly valuable, it equates to on-the-job-training. This adds a great deal to your career and life path with expertise and a great set of skills.

Get out of your bubble

Make new contacts. See what else is out there, network and mingle with new faces and places. It is a wonderful thing to feel supported and connected in a community, and it is equally fantastic to go out into the world and discover community everywhere. You will be inspired by the people you meet, and that stimulates genuine energy and creativity in your life. You might find yourself surprised at the new interests, skill sets and influences that are discovered along the way, and you will no doubt meet people that will become part of your lifelong story.

Better sense of accomplishment

One thing about volunteering is you often find yourself liberated to do the best that you can, and not to overthink, or add anxiety to your work. There is a great sense of contributing, and that is one of the greatest motivators. It leads to job satisfaction and pride in your work in a way that allows the work to flow through you, unencumbered.

Only way to do it is in person

When you stay somewhere long enough to get to know your surroundings, and can tap into a sense of actually living there, your perspective changes. You begin to see some of the same people daily and form relationships, as well as have the opportunity to get to know the local food, culture and landscapes. It feels more intimate to be a part of a place rather than to only pass through. And you’ll often find yourself having actual free time to live life, rather than feeling caught in the intensity of busy-ness and daily grind of your normal routines and stressors.

As you take advantage of evolving, growing and receiving wisdom from opening up it shapes your yoga practice. Being immersed in the present moment, fostering the ability to pay attention, concentrate and develop more awareness all add incredible fuel for igniting your yoga fires! This can manifest in witnessing both the challenge, and liberation, of shedding old layers of thought, habits, and patterns – which is priceless. What an incredible call to practice yoga on the daily? Plus you get to give back a little piece of your heart and soul in the exchange, and receive direct experience in the art of karma yoga. Karma yoga is living your life as your path. Open up to your life as a spiritual being having a human experience – ALL OVER THE WORLD!

Photography by: Lanny Headrick



Aimee Joy Nitzberg has been an avid lover of yoga since her first classes back in Boulder, CO in 2000. She knew she had a problem when she was skipping out of work to go to yoga class. She decided to plunge in, quit her job and set off on an incredible adventure which has included daily practice and working full-time in the yoga field for almost 20 years.  This opened up great opportunities to study with extraordinary, masterful teachers and to travel around the world.  She loves sharing yoga as a way of serving and honoring the grace of all the gifts that she has received, and as one of her favorite ways to connect and share with others. Currently, she resides in South Lake Tahoe with her mountain man and spends as much time outdoors as possible with their yogi doggie.

10 Ways Volunteering Abroad Will Change Your Life

Have you ever asked yourself, “Is this it? Is this all there is?” There’s a big world out there, and it’s easy to feel like a tiny, insignificant cog in the world’s giant machine. If you’ve been feeling less than yourself, or like the universe is calling you to do something bigger, consider volunteering abroad. Aside from the immediate impact you’ll make on the communities you work for, your outlook on life will change – in a good way – forever.

Clean Fresh Water Scarcity Symbol: Black Girl Drinking from Tap


You’ll appreciate what you have


It’s a pretty privileged life out there for many of us. We have air conditioning and regular cable and don’t really worry about taking a long shower. When all of the comforts of your cushy life are gone, you’ll realize that billions of people around the world live with much less – and are sometimes happier for it. You don’t have to sell everything you own and become a hermit, but volunteering abroad will show you that you’re pretty lucky to have what you do.


You’ll savor small pleasures

When you get home, even the smallest convenience will feel like a luxury. It could be plentiful hot water for a shower, or being able to drive or take reliable transportation to another destination. Being abroad shows you that life is about really small moments that ignite happiness, and you’ll learn to savor each of those moments as they come.


You’ll learn you’re not a slave to technology


Group Of Friends Relaxing Outside Tents On Camping Holiday

It’s true. Your iPhone is not an extension of your body. Your volunteering experience will teach you that technology is a luxury, and that plenty of people live without it. While your friends and family will love seeing your pics and videos when you come home, taking some time away from all the screens will reshape how you look at your life. Connectedness doesn’t come from social media; it comes from being social.



You’ll love trying new things

When you’re forced out of your comfort zone, you have to try something new. New foods, a new culture and new ways of doing daily tasks will instill in you an insatiable curiosity for learning something different. You may not like everything you try, but the thrill of the unknown will keep you wanting more.


You’ll become comfortable in your own skin

Figuring out who you are is a lifelong journey. An experience abroad and doing something for others will help you carve out a little more clearly the essence of your true self. You’ll realize that you’re a pretty awesome person, just the way you were created. Allowing yourself the time to recognize, utilize and appreciate your unique skills and talents will give you confidence to face anything.


You’ll become a better listener

It can be easy to assume that your ways are the best ways. I mean, you’re going abroad to help them, right? Learning to actively listen to another point of view and actually making an effort to empathize with that view will change your life. Even if you meditate like nobody’s business and you’ve got Deepak Chopra on speed dial, you can always improve. In the end, you don’t have to agree with another’s opinion, but you’ll return a much more open-minded person if you take the time to really listen.


Your resume looks bomb

Employers like to see a well-rounded set of skills and experiences when searching for new staff. A volunteering experience – especially abroad – shows your willingness to step out of your comfort zone and an ability to think outside the box. Exposure to other cultures shows your ability to adapt and a level of tolerance that will be appreciated wherever your career takes you.


You’ll experience difficulty, and come out on the other side


Volunteering abroad won’t be a cakewalk. It will be hard. There will be doubt, and times when you want to throw in the towel and go home. But going through adversity and realizing that everything is temporary will give you a well of strength to draw on in future hard times. Plus, you’ll feel like a badass.

You’ll make lifelong friends and make a difference

handsome teen volunteer cleaning streets with friends

Your efforts will make a difference in the lives of the people you meet. Not only within the program you volunteer, but in the friendships you’ll make along the way. The work you do will forever leave a positive impact Volunteers make up a unique community of do-gooders that take on challenging things and do their best to make it better. Once you join that community, you’ll form friendships that will last the rest of your life.


You’ll come home changed, and nobody else will get it

Experiences like volunteering abroad can’t be replicated or explained. Your friends and family will want to hear all about your trip, but they’ll never truly understand what you’ve been through. And that’s ok. A life-changing event is one that you alone can have and cherish. Being able to learn from your experiences and then share the positive light that comes from it will begin a ripple effect in your life. You’ve been changed by volunteering abroad. Now it’s your turn to be a change in your world.




Sara Sherman is a freelance writer, yogi and accidental island girl living on the island of St. Thomas. Learn more and contact Sara via her website at, and read more about her island adventures at

Enchanted Yoga Trade Experience

This article is shared by Yoga Trade community member, Jenna Devi about her Costa Rica yoga trade experience. Connect with Jenna here:


Enchanted Yoga Trade Experience in Paradise. Surfing it too.

I wanted to spend some time surfing and teaching yoga in the tropics but had no idea how to make it happen. It seemed like an impossible dream until I found Yoga Trade. On jenna4their website I found Encanta la Vida, an eco lodge in Costa Rica. In exchange for teaching yoga and working the front desk a few hours a week I would get a room, food and 50% earnings of the classes I taught.

I remember I had a five minute Skype interview with the Lodge’s Manager, Kate. She asked “Can you get here in two months?” and I said “Yes” before I could get in my head and make up reasons why I couldn’t. It happened so fast, I couldn’t believe it!

Two months later I boarded a plane and headed down to Costa Rica for my Yoga residency. I did as much research as I could but because it was so off the beaten path, there was not much of an internet presence so I really had no idea what I was getting into. And I truly could not have been more lucky. I literally walked into paradise.

I taught yoga on the second story of an enormous open air deck canopied by jungle and a view of Pan Dulce surf break. It wasn’t uncommon to see monkeys swing by as I walkedjenna2 down a gorgeous jungle path to get to the yoga deck, scarlet macaws were always hanging out during class, every so often I would hear a happy holler from a surfer who had just dropped in on a wave… speaking of surfing – WOW. I almost don’t want to write about it to give it away! Pan Dulce gets huge and has the slowest and most forgiving waves in the area allowing you a ton of trial and error practice without getting pounded. Be prepared to lose count on how many turns you do on a single ride and stretch out your calf muscles to prevent them from fatiguing – seriously! Backwash, another break in this area is one of my favorite right point breaks I have ever surfed. It’s faster and steeper than Pan Dulce making it more of an intermediate wave. It’s the most beautiful beach, the surf gets big and in my opinion the crowds that surfed there had the best vibe. Matapalo, the break the sits at the very end of the road, is gorgeous but challenging. Beware of the rocks during low tide. If hit you could easily say goodbye to your board – or your face. This break is dominated by locals but if you know how to play your etiquette cards right and you want to see some groms rip it better than the best surfer you know – go there.

The Encanta la Vida Lodge was such a magical place. Even though I was ‘working’ for them, I felt like a guest. Brian, the owner, is hilarious and tells some of the best stories during dinner, you meet people from all over the world and you are living on eye candy jenna5property in the middle of the jungle. And the food! I really didn’t know what to expect but I went there thinking I was going to lose a ton of weight because of all the surfing and yoga I’d be doing. Wrong! The food was so delicious and plentiful I actually gained weight and a ton of muscle.  I felt so lucky to be drinking water out of wine glasses and feasting on 3 course dinners. Chef Fabian is amazing. Every night was different and everything made from scratching, including desert.

Living in another country is the best way to experience personal growth and life learning, especially when traveling alone. Your life is put into perspective and you discover what’s really important to you. You’ll have the best and worst days and you’ll learn why which helps you get a better understand of who you are underneath it all. I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to do a Yoga Trade to take it. I learned another language, found my yoga practice and teaching, met amazing people from all over the world, met one of my now best friends, some of my questions about life were answered replaced by more intriguing ones… I can go on and on.

It really was because of Yoga Trade that allowed me this life changing experience. My life has been forever changed!

jenna7Jenna is a performing artist, writer, and athlete. She has a degree in Music Performance and has been seen on numerous stage and film productions. She loves to travel, surf and meet people from all over the world. Jenna is Yoga Alliance and Thai Yoga Massage Certified and enjoys teaching Yoga to her community – wherever that is… depends on where her travels take her! Be Curious. Live, Learn, Inspire.
IG: JennasAdventures