Posts

An Inside Look at Yoga in Kenya with Kate DeLarue and Muthoni Njogu

Earlier this year, before any of us could have foreseen the magnitude of Covid-19 and the impact it would have on travel, my friends and fellow Yoga Teachers Kate DeLarue and Muthoni Njogu reached out for guidance on hosting retreats and evolving their offering of yoga in Kenya, where they both live and teach.

I first connected with Kate and Noni in Nairobi in 2018 while hosting a Seva Safari with the Africa Yoga Project, centered around Yoga for 12-Step Recovery Training led by Yoga Therapist and Addiction Recovery Expert, Nikki Myers.

The mission of Africa Yoga Project is to educate, empower and create employment opportunities for Africans, now reaching 21 countries across the continent. Kate and Noni are two of over 400 teachers who have been certified through AYP’s transformational Yoga Teacher training programs, and given the opportunity to earn a living wage teaching yoga. 

Inspired by Kate & Noni’s plans to start leading retreats in Kenya and their entrepreneurial spirit, I was eager to offer the lessons I’d learned in building my business to help mentor them through the process. But as the global pandemic continued to unfold in the months that would follow, our conversations quickly shifted from retreat planning (which was of course out of the question), to understanding the global crisis through a new perspective.

In the interest of sharing their insight and expanding the Yoga Trade global community by welcoming our first Kenyan members, it is an absolute privilege to introduce Kate & Noni for this spotlight interview. Be sure to check out the links below for how you can become involved with the Africa Yoga Project community and continue to support Kate & Noni’s work.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

Muthoni:  The first class I ever took, made me feel like I was awakening from a dead zone. I realized how much my body had shut down from the activities of the routine life I had been living. I felt so inspired to awaken and I took time, (2 years) to develop and immerse myself into my practice, then I was sure that that’s the life I wanted to live. I dropped what I was doing and took the step to become a yoga teacher for myself and others.

Kate:  Every time I went for our 2-hour community donation based class of about 300 people in one room, I felt at home. This class brought together the rich and poor, white and black, differently abled people, people of all ages and we all felt a sense of belonging with one another. I was not in a position to donate at the time because I was already struggling with transport to get me to the Saturday free class, but every time I attended a session, I looked forward to the next Saturday. I felt the need to share this inner happiness with others around me, especially those who were not content with what they were doing. With at least half of educated youths in Kenya being currently unemployed, I felt like this was something that was liberating to do and introduce to my other peers. Lack of good employment can get frustrating and Nairobi life is demanding not to have a good income. I therefore saw this practice as a passion and also a way to sustainable living. I am grateful I chose this path and I hope I can inspire other youths to do yoga or use yoga to find what they love.

What does “living yoga” mean to you?

Muthoni:  Living yoga to me means being able to transfer qualities that I learn in a yoga session and incorporate them in my life. For instance, before yoga, I was very impatient. Through the practice I have gradually learnt how be calm, patient and resilient. In my life when faced with challenges, I am now able to use the tools learnt to tackle the issues. I also struggled with anger issues but now from the practice, I have developed a stronger emotional maturity.

Kate:  When I look back to four years ago, when I just started doing yoga I don’t think I would have imagined I’d come this far. Today yoga is my main career and I am happy that I have been able to use this practice as a way to make a positive difference in people’s lives. It has been a journey where I have seen progressive growth in my body, my mental growth, networking and stepping into leadership roles I never thought I would.

Is yoga popular in Nairobi?

Muthoni:  I would say that yoga is popular in Nairobi but mainly among the middle and upper classes. The idea that yoga is foreign and for the rich is very present in the society here. However, through the efforts of Africa Yoga Project (AYP) and Yoga Heart Kenya, community outreaches and classes, yoga is steadily gaining more popularity. That said, there are several yoga studios and gyms that have incorporated yoga into their schedules.

Kate:  At this time however, yoga was not very popular within my community, and most people did not know what it was all about. Most of those who knew about it associated it with Hindu religion and worse, with demonism. Four years down the line, today yoga has gained popularity and mostly for all its good reasons such as to improve the mind body wellbeing for individuals among others.

What role does it play in your community?

Muthoni:  My observation is that yoga in Kenya has made people more aware of themselves, their bodies and their health. It is also a healthy form of release and expression for a lot of the youth who would otherwise end up in activities that would affect them negatively.


Kate:  Yoga in my community plays the role of bringing people together. It has created a space where people can pause on their busy lives and practice together, regardless of their backgrounds, and share their breath and positive energy. 

What would you like people who have never been to Kenya to know about your country and culture? 

Muthoni:  Kenya has a lot to offer and to experience. While there are the conventional tourist sites and attractions, I would suggest for them to get in touch with a local and have an unfiltered adventure of the country/city. This might be a big mistake because they might never want to leave after thisAlso, the local music and arts scene especially in Nairobi is definitely something they should check out, it is just amazing. Most importantly, do get in touch with me because I know some very awesome places, people, and experiences that I would love to share. Let me know when you are in Kenya:)

Kate:  That Kenya is a loving country with welcoming people. Our 42 tribes from different parts of the nation have taught us to live as one big community. When you come to Kenya, you will have a taste of diverse cultural foods made uniquely from each region, each community has its own traditional jewelry, dress code and way of living that you can experience. Moreover, as part of having unique expeditions, hiking is one of my best activities, we have Mt. Kenya which is the second highest mountain in Africa and this always feels like home number two every time I hike here or bring people to have their one in a lifetime experience. Come hike with me when you land on our soil.

What effect  has Covid-19 had on your community in Nairobi?

Muthoni:  Oh this is going to be a long response. I would say that Covid-19 has amplified the already existing issues that have been in Kenya. The issue of unemployment has become greater as more people have lost their jobs, increasing the rate of unemployment. Gender based violence, child abuse and human trafficking, have also been amplified and exposed as a result of people being idle, and made to stay at home. On the positive side, kids are at home full time and that has brought life back into the hood as they are all over playing, and their creativity levels are so evident which makes life more interesting. Covid-19 has also made people realize the effectiveness of technology in that, people can still work, conduct business, and connect virtually. During this time, people have also had more time to spend together with their families, and neighbors, thus coming up with creative ideas to grow the community.

Kate:  Initially, we had outreach yoga classes; this means that as a yoga teacher I take time to volunteer on free sessions on a weekly basis, for people who are not able to afford a paying class. Since Covid-19, all group classes had to cancel and maintain social distance. Everyone who was depending on these classes is currently now not able to practice. The situation led to the closure of studios, and cancellation of classes, thus negatively impacting most yoga teachers’ financial status. 

Are you still teaching yoga during the pandemic?

Muthoni:  Yes, I am grateful that I am still teaching during the pandemic, although I have had to adjust to virtual classes from one on one sessions. That means I have learnt the specifics of setting up and conducting a virtual session, which I am sure it would have taken me longer to learn were it not for the pandemic.

Kate:  I have to adjust from leading physical classes and switched to build an online Zoom community. This platform is a blessing in disguise, I have met people across the world I had not envisioned I would and created connections from there. I have practiced in sessions being led by teachers from places my feet have not stepped and this has enhanced my skills more diversely at this time. 

What made you decide to start teaching retreats?

Muthoni:  First of all, on a very basic level, I want to travel to many parts of the world. From being hooked in a routine lifestyle, I experienced the dangers of a fixed way of living. I want to heal people by taking them away to serenity, a place away from distraction so we can dive into wellness and be vulnerable to release the stress built up in our system.

Kate:  Unlike having a yoga routine at a studio or at home, retreats are a way to pause on the routine, create time for self-nourishment and rejuvenate. I attended my first retreat led by one of my teachers at the coastal Kenya. I woke up to beautiful beach meditations, my meals were prepared by Swahili people with a touch of their culture, I was on the mat and not the one teaching, I learned how to do Stand-Up Paddle yoga, and I learned so much about the way of life of our coastal brothers and sisters. I was taken care of the entire time and the experience made me feel worthy. That single experience made me decide that is what I want people to feel. To feel loved, to feel appreciation, feel young and vibrant and most importantly to feel whole.  

What has been your biggest challenge so far as a yoga teacher and retreat leader?

Muthoni:  My greatest challenge has been being able to reach a greater audience with my available resources and dealing with insecurities of whether people sign up or not for the retreats. Currently with the pandemic, my challenge has been to cancel the already planned retreats for 2020 and not being certain about a time when to reschedule the retreats.

Kate:  During this journey as a teacher my biggest challenge has been the feeling of limitation of not being good enough. I have had moments where I leave the class and felt like I did not give what the students really needed.  This has made me felt like I have not met the students’ expectations.

How did you overcome it?

Muthoni:  Honestly, I haven’t overcome my challenges yet.

Kate:  I am grateful that around me I have mentors and more experienced teachers who have consistently taken me through this journey of learning and unlearning. They are present in my teaching and have given me constructive feedback as assistance to build on my teaching skills. Additionally, I extend compassion for myself to understand that I am doing my best with the resources I have at the time and that to free myself from attaining the myth of perfection.

What is your biggest goal for the future?

Muthoni:  To achieve my biggest goal I want to first of all work on my short term goal which is to do more wellness trainings in areas like Ayurveda. I am curious about astrology and very passionate about feminine holistic coaching and wellness. If you have any links please reach out and share.

Kate:  When I look down the road in the future, my goal is to be a leader, to use this unique skill as a passion and a sustainable business, to advocate more yoga for hikers and to promote green environments regionally and globally. 

With Yoga Trade being born out of a vision to build a worldwide wellness community, we recognize there has never been a more important time than now to expand our global perspective and share resources and support one another. How can we support your work?

Muthoni:  We are getting a hang of the online classes. Schedule a one on one session with any of us and sign up for our yoga retreats! Also, follow our Instagram pages @nonitheyogini and @katedelarue, and look out for our upcoming website. Thank you!

Kate:  Muthoni and I are building ourselves in the retreats industry and we’d love if you joined us here for yoga in Kenya. It would also be great to partner with other yoga teachers around the world and on this platform and be able to grow a global connection through yoga. 

 

___

 

Interview by Mary Tilson:
Mary is an International Yoga Teacher, Retreat Leader and Mentor for the Yoga Trade Community. Visit her website and Instagram to learn more about her work.

 

Authenticity in Yoga Teaching

Before starting to talk about authenticity in teaching yoga, let’s look first at what is personal authenticity? Authentic, that is something genuine… Authenticity; being real, being true to yourself…

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”  ~Oscar Wilde

The root of the word “authenticity” in Latin language is “author”, so being “authentic” is mostly about being the “author” of your own personality.

Referring to Art (we all humans are a work of art eventually, no?), Tate Gallery shares that; ”Authenticity is a term used by philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin to describe the qualities of an original work of art as opposed to a reproduction.”

Which is, no room for copying…

To put it in an another way, authenticity is living your life in such a way that every one of your actions is aligned with your real purpose. Not changing things according to other people’s beliefs, or not wearing any other people’s authenticity on you. And it is not a question of whether you have it or not. We all do, we are all authentic. As I said, we are all already a piece of art. But it is a matter of how you practice your authenticity and how much of it you want to have. No one can be you, and you cannot be anyone. That is for sure. But how much are your actions aligned with ”your” purpose, not anyone else’s?

In Bhagavad Gita Verse 3.35, Krishna says that; ”It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though they may be faulty, than another’s duties. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous” (Bhagavad -gita As It Is, Swami Prabhupada).

We cannot separate yoga from life.

Actually, it is not really necessary to make a difference between being an authentic person and an authentic yoga teacher. We cannot separate the practice of teaching from the practice of being human, but we can at least try to narrow down the scope, special to yoga teachers.

I like to approach authenticity in teaching yoga in two different ways. First one is sticking to ”being yourself”, not stepping back from it and the second one is not trying to be ”anybody else”, or in another way, not using any other person’s voice. They may sound the same but let me explain.

How to define an authentic yoga teacher?

If we look back to the definition of authenticity, it says ”living a life in such a way that every one of the actions are aligned with one’s real purpose”. It brings us to the point of living a life with yogic understanding, and here, I do not mean a yogic life with only practicing yoga poses. Basically, integrating all 8 limbs of yoga into life.

And when you live in this way, it will make you a passionate, balanced and present yoga teacher, who is being her / himself and not trying to make everyone happy, with the risk of losing authenticity.
What is this ”voice”?

Let’s take a look at authenticity from the other perspective, from the perspective of having a ”voice”.

Finding your own voice as a yoga teacher is not easy, it takes years of teaching and this ”voice” is also something that is changing and evolving over time. And it is not something that you can bring from outside, it needs to arise from within you.
But yes for inspiration…

Let’s put first things first: None of the teachings belong to one yoga teacher and we are all just servers, to the goodness and happiness of all beings. We just transmit the teachings that we learn from our teachers. When we think like this, none of us are authentic, right?
But are we not really?

The key here is, being yourself, being authentic, while creating your own voice, with the same teachings we all share.

It is all in our mind-set. For example when we learn or hear something new, first of all we need to think about: Does it really make sense to me? Can I really feel that expression, that cue? Or do we just want to use it exactly as it is because it sounds nice…

So what about first fully understanding, feeling and digesting the new things and after expressing them with our own words and authentic voice? You can use it in such a way in your flow of teaching that it can be ”yours”. And then you will let it go and another authentic teacher will take it from you and express it with his or her own style. Beautiful, isn’t it? We are all students and teachers, at the same time.

 

 

 

Derya’s passion for lifelong learning and her curiosity about different cultures, different bodies and energy work brought her to Southeast Asia 3 years ago. She started her yoga and Thai yoga massage journey in Turkey and has been sharing her love for these two abroad in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. Once she found “home” within herself, all countries became her home. Derya’s passion is movement and her goal is to show the strength, gracefulness and beauty of being in a body when it is aligned inwardly and supported by a steady breath. She wants to inspire her students with the possibility of waking up every morning with an enthusiasm and thirst for learning new things.

Connect:

IG: @deryadenizyoga

Facebook: Derya Deniz Yoga

Buena Vibra GIVEAWAY!

***UPDATE December 18, 2019:

Big congrats to the winner of this giveaway: @lucia088 !!! Thank you to all who entered and all those who support this flourishing community. Much love!


We are excited to announce the Buena Vibra GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to each and every one of you for helping make our community what it is.

One lucky member will receive a $200 discount code to go toward the BUENA VIBRA gathering, March 14-21, 2020 at the Yoga Farm, Costa Rica + a 2 Year Yoga Trade PLUS membership ($96 value).

Join Erica HartnickAlex Lanau, and the Yoga Farm Family for 7 days and nights of Buena Vibra: nutrient dense living to nourish the soul and awaken the senses! Celebrate Flavors, Form, and Friends as we explore these realms as the foundations of wellness. The Yoga Farm is a rustic off-the-grid yoga center and sustainable living project located on Costa Rica’s southernmost Pacific coast. Set amidst beautiful tropical rainforest, overlooking open ocean, and one of the most biologically diverse places in the world, it is an ideal space for those looking to reconnect with mind, body, and nature. Passionate humans (including the Yoga Trade Founders) and incredible flora and fauna inhabit this magical land. Gather for a week of delicious good vibes! Let’s share our wisdom and grow together! Learn about more details HERE.

HOW TO ENTER:

(Please read directions carefully, it’s a 3 step process)

1. To enter, log into your Yoga Trade account and LEAVE A REPLY (post comment) below at the end of this BLOG post. In the comment, state why you are excited to attend the BUENA VIBRA gathering! You must be a Yoga Trade member to post a comment. (If you are not currently a member, you can sign up at yogatrade.com)

2. Visit the FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE and mark that you are GOING or INTERESTED.

3.  Finally, SHARE about this BLOG/EVENT GIVEAWAY post on at least one social platform of your choice (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Share this link:  https://yogatrade.com/buena-vibra-2020/

That’s it. You’re Entered!

Thank you for contributing to this flourishing community. We look forward to growing together!!!

The WINNER will be chosen at random (random.org) and will be announced on December 18th, 2019.

*Only ONE entry allowed per person. You must be a real human to enter. The giveaway is only valid for persons age 18 and above. The event discount code and Yoga Trade membership is transferable to another person if winner is unable to use or would like to gift it. This giveaway is not redeemable for cash. 

 

Yoga Journal: Live Be Yoga Tour

Just as Yoga continues to evolve itself, Yoga Journal has surely come a long way since it’s creation in 1975 by the California Yoga Teachers Association. In 2016, Yoga Journal created the Live Be Yoga Tour. The aim of the tour is to send out ambassadors to shine a light on the real talk, real issues, real work, and real fun taking place in yoga’s diverse communities, large and small, across the United States. In April of this year, Lauren Cohen and Brandon Spratt embarked on the cross-country journey together to forge new conversations in yoga. We had already connected with Brandon thru Yoga Trade and wanted to learn more about this inspiring journey! Here, we catch up with both Lauren and Brandon to get an insight to what life is really like on the road, to catch a glimpse of their experience, and to hear the modern day yoga wisdom they are learning along the way. May we all continue to show up for every part of the voyage with open hearts!

Can you briefly tell us about your yoga background?

Lauren: I started practicing yoga during college in Cleveland, Ohio during an extremely challenging time in my life. I grew up as a competitive figure skater and when I stopped skating I had a major identity crisis at the age of 17, wondering who I was without the sport. When I walked into the yoga studio that day, I was at an ultimate low – emotionally, mentally and physically. Over time, the mat became my savior and the practice brought me home to myself. To this day it continues to do that very thing.

Brandon: Yoga truly found me – in every way possible. When I was very young, my mom would take me to meditation gardens and yoga classes. Looking back on my life I can see that this seed that was planted would be paramount for my journey ahead. Yoga and meditation was always something I practiced here and there, until my entire life felt like it had an atom bomb dropped onto it. In the midst of incredible challenges, yoga found me again and asked for its deepening and devotion. Over the past couple years I have worked towards integrating a daily practice, which has now become my anchor and rock in this world. Incredible healing took place when I took on this commitment and as a result, all I cared about and wanted to do was share these tools to help repair people’s spirits and bring them back hOMe. Over the past couple years, I have lived nomadically sharing yoga wherever I may be. Most recently, I have become a brand ambassador, alongside Lauren Cohen, for Yoga Journal magazine and have embarked upon a 6 month yoga tour exploring the state of yoga in America today. 

How did you connect to the Live Be Yoga Tour and what is the mission?

Lauren: I had a friend that did the tour last year and got to hear about his experience. The idea of combining three of my greatest  loves – yoga, travel and writing – seemed like an amazing opportunity. My mission with the tour is to provide meaningful and inspiring content about how yoga is impacting various communities around the country.

Brandon: It had been a while since I was on Yoga Trade’s website and I went to go explore some opportunities. I had just gotten back traveling internationally for a while, was visiting my family and figuring out what was next for me. Also, after living with your parents for a while reminds you of how much you love them and then why you left home in the first place! I was starting to get antsy and ready to embark upon the next adventure. I saw an opportunity on Yoga Trade for the Live Be Yoga Tour by Yoga Journal Magazine and I immediately lit up inside and just knew that this was going to be that “next thing” for me. So, I went through the application process and after quite an extensive interview procedure, I got the gig! The mission of the tour is about building community and having important, relevant conversations within the yoga community today. It is a very general intention and mission, however, it gives us freedom to really explore a variety of topics as we travel from city to city. 

How do you define seva and why do you feel it is important on the path of yoga?

Lauren: I think of seva as selfless service and I view it as a huge component of yoga. The deeper we get into our personal practice the more we begin to care for and know ourselves, which then allows us to more readily and powerfully be there for others. In this way, yoga truly has a ripple effect. We are all connected and yoga is about union in every sense of the word.

Brandon: Seva is when you serve through the heart selflessly. You take such great care of your Self that your cup is overflowing. When that happens, your heart is open, without effort. You effortlessly want to just help, give and share whatever you can with others. It is a humble act of kindness and can be done in many ways – offering to clean a yoga studio for free, giving your lunch to a homeless person, just doing any kind of good deed without expecting any kind of reward or return. Simply doing it because it’s the right thing to do.

What have been some of the most inspirational tour experiences yet? 

Lauren: For me, so much of the tour has been about the relationships I’ve been able to cultivate. Meeting Brandon and finding a close friend and support system in him has been such a gift. As far as actual tour content goes, my favorite interview was our very first interview with Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor – they set the bar quite high in our conversation about what it means to really “live” yoga and to take the practice off the mat. 

Brandon: Getting to sit down with Santosh Manikur when we were in Salt Lake City was refreshing and helped Lauren and I to feel jovial again. The tour has its challenges and we were at a bit of a low point before meeting Santosh. I wrote an article here about our experience with why meeting him was so inspiring. 

What are some of the challenges you face while on the road?

Lauren: Being away from those I love and not teaching much!

Brandon: Being on the road sounds like a lot of fun – and it definitely is! But there is another side to the coin. Traveling constantly takes its toll on you, mentally, emotionally and physically. There are also new kinds of pressures having to be “on” all the time for events. Plus, being in a new city every week is very ungrounding. We have had to learn to simplify our lives as much as possible so when we pack and unpack every week it’s not completely overwhelming. While it has been challenging at times, it’s also taught us to compartmentalize our emotions in a way that is healthy. We’ve learned to put our own issues aside and focus of service and doing the best we can.

Who are the yoga teachers and what are the practices that spark you up right now?

Lauren: I have done quite a bit of training with Jason Crandell and Janet Stone. Right now, I am most excited about Tias Little and diving more into the subtle body and meditation.

What types of big and important conversations are you hearing currently from the U.S. yoga community? 

Lauren: 

*How to make yoga feel more inclusive and accessible to all. 

*What it means to take the practice off the mat and make it a life practice.

*How yoga brings people together in community and why that is such a powerful and important thing.

*Skepticism around where yoga is going; that it’s all about the physical practice and part of a trendy workout. 

What does ‘with great privilege comes great responsibility’ mean to you? 

Lauren: Know your impact, be in integrity and stay humble – we must take responsibility for ourselves and know that what we say and do has great impact, even if we can’t see it at first. And, the more we are in a leadership role, the more impact we can have.

If you could express one sentence to every new yoga teacher, what would it be?

Lauren: Remain a student above all else. Stay curious and humble and trust the teachings to guide you.

How can people get involved with y’all and the tour?

Feel free to follow us on social @livebeyoga or check it out online at: 

https://www.yogajournal.com/livebeyoga

To connect directly:

www.laurencohenyoga.com

@lc_yoga

www.brandonspratt.com

@brandonspratt

 

Entrepreneurship and Evolution of Yoga: Adi Shakti

At first thought, the mix of entrepreneurship and yoga may seem like a paradox. Mixing business and yoga!? But really, when we are able to free ourselves from duality, we see that all things, including entrepreneurship and yoga are deeply connected. How incredible is it to be able to weave threads of yoga into our businesses and everyday livelihood. Also, a current theme in yoga evolution today is that of leadership. Taking responsibility as a teacher of yoga to not only teach students how to keep calm in challenging physical postures, but also how to step off the mat, lead with the heart, and ignite positive change within community. We are fortunate to live in a time where there are many extraordinary teachers of yoga offering many amazing things. Here with catch up with with one of these extraordinary yoga warriors; Adi Shakti. This woman and teacher blends her journey to purpose, devotional service, and professional development in a beautiful way. Continue to read and be inspired by her story and actions:

Tell us about your yoga journey…

I am a philosopher by nature, and I have been obsessed with the big questions since I was a little girl. I lost a lot of people I loved early in my life – and it made me terribly curious about the WHY of our human experience. Why are we here? And what are we to do with this life? This led me to higher study of the great thinkers through my time at University, and eventually I stumbled across the yogic philosophy. I had never found a philosophy that also gave such a clear path to not only knowing God, but also to having a direct experience of God. Through lifestyle, the body, the breath, and the practice of meditation. I was fascinated.

This is what started my journey into the lifestyle and philosophy. I did my initial training with the Shambhavananda discipline in Chicago, and a couple of years later spent a few months in India where I studied with my master Yogrishi Vishvketu. Since then, I have continued my own studentship and have also started my own yoga school where I have educated other seekers at the 200 hour, 300 hour, Pre-Natal and Trauma Informed professional certification levels. I am now partnered with Yoga Journal teaching Trauma Sensitive Facilitator Skills Training certifications around the United States – to focus even more on the BIG question – How can the yoga community serve as a powerful vehicle for social change? And this is my passion and focus currently.

When did you start Passion Yoga School and how did it come about? Can you share some of the highs and lows of creating and operating a yoga school?

The school started in 2014, and I began the logistics of running the business shortly before I moved back to the small Caribbean town I call home in Costa Rica. I wanted to offer phenomenal education, and I wanted the quality and style of what we were offering to dance to a radically different drum. I wanted authenticity, shared intimacy, tears, jungle mud, sexual liberation education, conscious business growth mastermind, trauma sensitive discussion, and to start a MOVEMENT of passionate soulworkers – rather than just crank out more physical practice focused teachers more concerned with the brand on their back than the soul in their teachings (sorry not sorry). I wanted to offer pristine education on the bio-mechanics of the physical body – but I wanted my students to leave with a profound understanding that this is just the FIRST STEP, and that our job as teachers is to work with the body as a vessel for profound emotional, mental, and spiritual healing.

This was the vision, and we started at super small platforms where people would provide their own room and board in the town. And in 2017, we FINALLY manifested our own Experimental Yogic Living Center deep in the jungle. Permaculture baby. Dry toilets, beautiful recycled container housing – and all the jungle we need to chant, scream, cry, dance, sweat and do our primal work without complaints from the neighbors.

It’s NOT always easy. And sometimes the work that we do is misunderstood, and sometimes that is difficult to handle as a sensitive leader who carries so much. We talk sex, money, race, privilege, respect for the lineage, working with broken hearts, and there is a lot of CHARGE around all of these topics. Sometimes, I am the target of people’s frustration with the way things are in the world, and I am always always being invited to step up and do what I do better. Sometimes, it’s exhausting. And I am committed (radically) to the process of receiving feedback, doing the work I need to do to put my ego aside – and sort through my own inner truth system to see how, when and if I need to change the route of this ship based on others (sometimes very mean) invitations for growth. You can learn more about Passion Yoga School here.

What wisdom do you have to share with yoga teachers who want to start teaching Yoga Teacher Trainings?

Have accountability. Whatever it is that you are doing – you can do it with more awareness. You can create a more loving container. We all have blind spots to the triggers of our students, and it is our responsibility to dig deeper and deeper into what it means to truly hold SACRED, SAFE, INCLUSIVE space. Commit to studentship, even as you sit at the front of the room. Know that every student will be a different medicine FOR you, and will perhaps need a different medicine FROM you. Honor your boundaries, lead by example. HONOR YOUR LINEAGE, and surround yourself by other colleagues who will quickly call you on your bull shit when you aren’t showing up the way you need to be.

What is Soul Work and why is it important?

SoulWork is the journey from inner inquiry to purpose clarity. It is about excavating the deep and complicated layers of ancestral patterning, the trauma from this life and others, and committing to constantly renewing our connection to Earth, God, the Great Spirit (whatever you want to call it). Without a commitment to diving into the shadow, our limiting patterns of mind / behavior, or taking RADICAL responsibility for our inner condition – we remain puppets on a string. We go into default mode and continue to perpetuate the agenda of those outside of us. The revolution starts within. When we are connected to our own power and have a community of others who reflect that back to us – that’s when the purpose work TRULY starts. Then, we can get clear on how we are meant to live our lives, and do it with integrity, clarity, courage, and purpose.

We’ve collaborated with Yoga Journal on our new project – SoulWork. And we are coming to the United States this Fall 2019! We are hosting Trauma Sensitive Facilitator Skills Trainings across 4 cities (DC, Chicago, Denver + LA). These are 4 day intensives where we educate soul seekers on how to facilitate transformation with integrity + how to grow their conscious businesses with our SoulWork model + leading SoulWork circles. You can learn more about that here.

You can also subscribe to our SoulWork podcast here – to start learning a TON more about everything I am sharing here.

In what ways do you see the global yoga community evolving over the next 10 years?

We want to be a big part of shaping this direction. What I see trending, and what I intend to continue to advocate for – is the global yoga community being a POWERFUL vehicle for profound social change. Yoga teachers who are properly educated in the true power of the practice to transform people’s lives – hold an incredible platform, voice, and impact in their local communities. If this leadership is developed and their voices are amplified (and this is what we specialize in supporting through our professional development intensives) – I believe that we will continue to see the work come off of the mat and organize more into a socio-political movement. Diversity, accessibility, inclusivity. Bringing health of body, discipline of mind, and freedom of spirit tools and practices to the MASSES – not just the upper-middle class white woman. It’s time to TRULY take the teachings mainstream, and the time is now.

What qualities do you believe make an extraordinary yoga teacher?

A commitment to constantly fine tuning and expanding your own awareness. What’s that mean? YOU ARE WILLING TO CALL YOURSELF ON YOUR SHIT. You become more and more committed to living your life in alignment with your own values. How you shop, how you build your business, how you care for the Earth. It becomes about walking the talk – truly living your practice. Being nice to waiters. Giving back in your communities. Being an advocate for the things that are important to you.

I always tell my students – I could give a damn how you teach a down dog (even though you’ll leave our programs having that DOWN by like day 2). What is important to me is how students FEEL being in your class. Do they feel WELCOME? Do they feel SEEN? Do you create an environment where people can come and GRACE can do her work in allowing healing to unfold. Get out of your own way – hold space like a boss – and invite in a deep deep journey inside for your students.

You are also involved with several other projects including Selva Fitness and Shakti Seva. Tell us more…

Selva Fitness is my fitness company where we offer online education + global fitness retreats. I love to go deep deep deep, and I also found myself taking my life a little too seriously, so I wanted to start a company focused on FUN. That’s what Selva Fitness is about. Fitness, fun, and feeling sexy, strong + confident in your body. You can check out Selva Fitness here.

Shakti Seva is our non-profit extension. We started a community center for the indigenous community (upon their request after submitting a proposal) near our home here in Costa Rica. We host volunteers (mostly Costa Ricans) who dedicate 3 months to live in the tiny (tiny tiny) village and work with the community children. We also have built a classroom for my teacher’s school in India, are advocates for the work our partners are doing to support women transitioning out of human trafficking in Kolkata, and we are currently re-organizing with the help of Yoga Journal to give back to local urban organizations making yoga more accessible to a diverse audience.

How do you balance all of your work and projects with your own personal well being?

Fitness. I train like a freakin’ athlete, (pretty much) every day. And I eat well. And I have incredible relationships. And regular orgasms. And I freaking LOVE what I do. Work is work – but it’s also my hobby, my purpose, my passion, my baby. It’s not easy. I’m not always good at the life / work balance thing. But, I’m getting better at getting pickier about what gets my focus + energy every single day, and maybe someday I’ll be less crazy. (I kind of doubt it.)

What are you most curious about right now?

I’m curious if I’ll get to hold YOU (yes you – the one reading this right now) close to my heart one day. I share my story because I want to connect with you. I want to hear YOUR story, learn your fears, your desires. I want to know where you hurt, why you hurt. I want to grow with you, learn from you. I want to see if there are ways that my life experience can add more depth to your life, too. Come see me in the world? Please?

You can see my schedule of events here.

Follow Adi on Instagram – @adi_shakti_rising

 

Adi is a teacher’s teacher, philosopher + serial entrepreneur whose work and life is based out of an experimental yogic living permaculture center on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. She has trained hundreds of yoga teachers in the 200 hr, 300 hr, Lifestyle Social Entrepreneurship, Pre-Natal and Trauma Informed professional focus areas through her company, Passion Yoga School. She has also led international programs across the globe – including to Thailand, Cambodia, India, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. Adi is the founder of SoulWork and producer of SoulWork: the Film – focusing on the journey from deep inner inquiry to clarity around social purpose and responsibility. She is also the Executive Director of Shakti Seva Inc, a 501c3 organization focusing on uplifting the indigenous community near her home among other global projects.

 

10 Insights From the One Who Thought They’d Never Teach Yoga

I remember very vividly, standing on the beach with a couple of my girlfriends about to go surf. It was one of those complete cloud-free sunny mornings. Far off, the waves broke over the reef.

“It looks okay, but I’m so tired and sore,” one friend complained. “I still have noodle arms from surfing twice yesterday.”  Two-a-day sessions were the norm for these girls, and yesterday having been dragged around by their enthusiasm, I shrugged and half-agreed. My arms were pretty much toast too.

“We should probably stretch before we paddle out,” the other suggested. “Hey you do yoga, lets do that.” “Yeah, you teach us.”

“Ha .. . no way! I don’t teach yoga,” I blurted out. “Are you crazy, I would never be a yoga teacher.”

In the moment, what I said felt to be complete and utter truth.

Sure, I liked yoga. And sure, I practiced. But was I the beginnings of a teacher? Err, doubt it. Did I even like yoga that much? Uhh well . . .Let alone the talking? To groups of people? To tell them what to do? For at least an hour? Agrhh, no thank you!

Hmm. We stood there, staring at our toes buried in the sand, still hesitant to paddle out.

“Fine, we can do a few things,”  I said as I probably rolled my eyes. Then for the next few minutes I stumbled awkwardly  through leading a few stretches that, at times, resembled yoga asana. Soon after, we paddled out into the icy Pacific . . .

And while my words that morning, “I will never be a teacher”, left an impression deeply etched into my psyche, flash-forward a few years later, something else deeper within would beg very differently of me. Just after the New Year, I broke the news to my same surfer friends.

“Ladies, I’m out. . .I can’t do this anymore.  I’m quitting my job. . . ” I hesitated and then told them my plans, “I’m off to yoga teacher training in Mexico. I already turned in my notice, I leave next month!”  

With large eyes and disbelief, “you’re doing what?!” they asked. Sure they were open-minded, but they weren’t exactly the type to forgo the stability of a salary and leap completely into the unknown.  I wasn’t sure I was that type either, but here I was about to do it.

Eight years later and here I am, a yoga teacher. Mine isn’t a story of overnight success, but more of a bumpy road, ups and downs, twists and turns, periods of teaching, periods of hibernation, periods of discovery and re-inspiration. It hasn’t been clear cut or logically defined, but still, I lean into this journey of becoming a guide for our yoga practice.

So for the ones who thought they’d never teach yoga, but then listened to a different calling deep in their heart. . .

And for those who started this journey, but are now questioning why. . .  

Here are a few insights that I will tell my younger self when time travel becomes a reality. Until then, perhaps they will help you as you forge your unique path.

1. Begin

Start here, where you are. Start now. You don’t have to teach yoga everyday, but you must begin.

At this point, consider yourself a guide as you lead class. And let yourself think out of the box to find a comfortable space to teach in and gain experience.

Try getting out of the studio and teach in less intimidating locations for less intimidating audiences. Hold a class in nature – at a park or at the beach. Offer some lunchtime yoga at your work. Host an informal class during a weekend getaway with friends. Not all classes have to be 90 or 60 minutes. Maybe 30 minute practices are the perfect place for you to start.  

So begin, and little by little, you will become more comfortable with your voice, your instructions, your sequences, your knowing and your not knowing.

2. Get on the schedule

After you log those initial hours and sub some classes at your local studio, step up and get on the regular schedule. Teach.

But also know that sometimes plans, ideas, and goals change. And this is okay.

For example, during my early yoga years, I loved fast vinyasa classes. My favorite classes were led by talented teachers who moved us quickly through inspiring flows. They guided us effortlessly (it appeared) through well thought out sequences, each unique day in and day out.  

That’s the kind of yoga I knew.  That’s the kind of yoga I liked. That’s the kind of yoga I expected to flow out of me as I taught. But, reality check, that kind of yoga didn’t.

I kept at it for awhile, stumbling, refining, improving little by little. But eventually I decided to stop trying.

. . . for awhile (like more than a year awhile).

But guess what?

3. Interruptions and pauses are OKAY

Stepping away from what you were trying to be or trying to achieve is fine. These breaks can turn into periods of learning, refinement, re-dedication and growth. These breaks are a hibernation of sorts, where if you give yourself time and support, your inspiration to walk the teachers path will come back in the right way and in the right time.

For me it was while rediscovering yin yoga. During one such hiatus, a few years after my original yoga teacher ambitions, I last-minute enrolled in a yin yoga training and it shifted everything.

4. Be yourself. Find an aspect that you believe in, something that draws you in and be with that

In yin, I found a great balance of being able to teach slow and to talk less – a way of teaching that was very fitting for my natural introvert personality. In addition, I was able to more solidly grasp the main teachings and less complicated practice. So when I taught yin I kept it simple and my critical, perfectionist self was much more able to tolerate my teaching ability.

Additionally, in the yin practice, I admired how it gave students space. Lots and lots of space to feel your body, to observe your mind, and to go within slowly to be with what was. The practice pretty much forces you to slow down, and then naturally invites you to move deeper into the inner space.

Sometimes I feel this aspect of yoga is lost in western vinyasa flows, but is so needed in our fast-paced modern culture. So in my rediscovery of the yin approach, I was lured back into wanting to share this type of experience of yoga with others.

So when you’re re-inspired and reconnected to why you want to teach . . .

5. Get on the schedule (again)

That’s right, when the time feels right, get on the regular schedule again. Then, give yourself time to teach and evolve your craft. Teaching over time is how you gain experience.

6. Evolve

When you are ready, immerse yourself into your next level of teaching. Sometimes this takes initiative on your part. Sometimes it happens with a gentle push from those you work with.

For me, the next phase in my teaching came while living in Costa Rica.

Teaching abroad can be magic for a few reasons.

If you are not teaching frequently then these short term opportunities are a great way to immerse yourself and teach more consistently, perhaps even daily.

In addition, many of these opportunities are for teaching travelers. This means you will get to teach a wide variety of people, at many levels in their practice. And sure sometimes you will be thrown waaayyyy out of your comfort zone, but luckily you will figure out how to handle this. In fact, as you step into it, I bet you will surprise yourself.

Teaching abroad allows you to get out of your normal surroundings and step into teaching yoga in a whole new way. So yes, hello yoga trade opportunities!  

But that reminds me . . .

7. Don’t quit your day job (in the beginning)

If you are fresh out of a YTT, do yourself a favor and don’t create more stress than is necessary. Having multiple streams of income while you are gaining experience and refining your craft is key.  

For me, having remote web design work has allowed me the funds to cover expenses and to continue to invest in my yoga education. I have also been able to find a nice balance between creativity on and off a computer, while escaping burnout from either side.

Plus, in the beginning, it was very helpful to not have to force myself to teach before I felt ready.

And who knows, maybe those at your current job are great students for your first teaching gigs. I have many times been surprised by who is curious and interested to see what this yoga thing is all about. Could it be you to introduce them to yoga? Could it be your experience and view of yoga that inspires them into the practice?

So again, it’s key to know what  aspect of yoga you really want to share. What messages are you passionate to teach?

8. Know what excites you

If you more consciously know what excites you about the practice, and more consciously weave those messages through your teachings, then you will effortlessly stay within your realm of inspiration. When you are connected to your inspiration, others will resonate and be inspired too.

In the beginning, since I am not a huge talker and speaking in front of groups is out of my comfort zone, I struggled with understanding why I actually wanted to teach.

But eventually, I realized I was excited and wanted to talk to students about the energy healing benefits of yoga and the related practices of sound healing and Reiki.  

Sure, I enjoy yoga asana, but what lights me up is sharing my understanding of certain benefits, for example, how movement and breathwork prepare you for meditation, how your subtle energy body has time to balance and heal itself, how you can use sound for reaching deep states of peace, how you can be fully with your experience to transform it. . .  

These are the conversations that I get excited about. And these are the sparks of joy, that as a teacher, are so important to feel.

Not every student will be sparked on your idea of this or that. But you will resonate with some. And if you make a difference in only one life, wouldn’t that still be success?

So what lights you up?

9. Know and then be. Experience, evolve and expand

There’s no need to be rigid in claiming what you believe in and what you have to share through your teachings. Keep immersing in the practices. Keep learning. Keep growing. Let your message and depth evolve.

And whether you’re sure or not sure if you have truly discovered what lights you up, stay open to your next level of growth, as a person, as a yogi, as a teacher.

You don’t have to figure it out in one day, you probably will be unraveling this your entire life. This is a life practice with bits and pieces of delicious goodness to taste and savor along the way. Give yourself time to experience. To practice. To learn. To grow. To connect with community, to connect with spirit, to connect with your deepest part of self, your soul essence.

This will lead you to the true magic of your soul. And upon touching into this, you will understand, this is your gift to share with the world, through your teachings.

10. Start here. Start now. Go on, take your next step . . .

Here are a few upcoming opportunities for learning, growth and connection within the YT community:

1 – Deep Ecology of Wellness  

2 – Yoga Trade + Membership 

3 – Learn Reiki energy healing & surfing on Retreat w/ Neomi 

Cover Photo:  Shaka Costa Rica 

About Neomi:

 

Neomi simply wishes to help make the world a more beautiful place by helping others to discover the love that rests deep within their heart. Sometimes this love is hidden, very far out of sight and under many layers. But, with the practices of surf and soul – especially the energy healing practices of sound and Reiki – she believes all people can access and experience their soul essence, their soul power, their soul light and love.

 

 

Join Neomi for a SurfSoul Retreat this August in Costa Rica. Throughout the week you will journey into your next level of wholeness – a vibrant expression of feeling deep happiness, love and joy for life through yoga and surf adventures.

In this small group retreat, you will dive into both inner and outer adventures. You will learn to surf, practice yoga and meditation, experience crystal singing bowl sound healing and learn the sacred art of Reiki energy healing.

Check out her website for more information about this: Surf and Soul Adventure 

 

Diving In: The Yoga Trade Journey

I am not certain who introduced me to Yoga Trade, although I wish I knew so I could write them a thank you letter. It was shortly after my first 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in Montezuma, Costa Rica at Anamaya Resort. “OMG…a website filled with yoga teaching jobs all over the world, holy crap!” My mind was blown. Moving forward, I spent my evenings scrolling through hundreds of volunteer opportunities that awaited me.

I began my Yoga Trade journey in Ubud, Bali, without a plan. I was unhappy working back home and took the leap impulsively. I blame the Full Moon for my beginners luck since I literally got the first job I emailed. The job opportunity was at a retreat center in Bali, at one of the nicest resorts in Ubud. I spent the next two weeks living like a princess and getting paid to do it. It was one of the most magical two weeks of my life.

After the Bali retreat center gig, I was back on Yoga Trade. This is where my Yoga Trade journey gets interesting. The bar had been set for me with this first experience, so I had high standards to say the least. Future Yoga Traders: don’t be picky. There are pros and cons with every job opportunity and every opportunity will be much different from the one before. Considering I had my own private luxury room and bathroom, my standards were now at a certain level. Unfortunately, this held me back from potential opportunities. After the hundreds of dollars I spent on food and accommodation in Ubud while searching for my dream job, I finally realized, I needed to get a job asap and it didn’t matter if I had to share a room.

After a few weeks I finally found my next position theu Yoga Trade at H20 Yoga and Meditation on Gili Air, Lombok. It was such a relief to not pay for accommodation and was totally worth living in a dorm. The other yoga instructors and I would take turns taking photos of ourselves teaching our classes and I gained legit Instagram photos of me teaching. I used my free time to work on my website, projects, and social media.

After my time at H20 Yoga and Meditation, I stumbled upon an ad on Yoga Trade for a Reiki + Yoga retreat with Jaclyn Keoh on Gili Air and made another connection! The fact that I was already familiar with the island and just a boat ride away put me ahead of the game. Apply to jobs closest to you and show up. Ads on Yoga Trade receive emails shortly after an opportunity is posted. Making yourself stand out and showing up is the best way.

After the retreat, I flew into Phnom Penh, Cambodia and took another opportunity I found on Yoga Trade at Bohemiaz Resort and Spa. While teaching at Bohemiaz, I was able to check out the The Vine Retreat near Kampot, Cambodia, which ended up being another job opportunity I found on Yoga Trade. Keep your options open! Upon meeting the owner of the retreat center, I was able to apply my ever growing business skills, make a good impression and shake on a deal. The owner is allowing me to use his space to host a retreat without a down payment since the center is so new. So basically my situation is that I am teaching at Bohemiaz in exchange for food and accommodation and working on my Semi Silent Self Love Yoga Retreat + Organic Farm Feast at the same time. It really is the perfect setup for achieving my goals.

Now that my Yoga Trade life story is out of the way, here is some advice if you are ready to take the plunge:

Save enough money before you head out. I took my Yoga Trade journey when I was not financially prepared due to my mental state. Money simply didn’t matter to me at the time, pursuing my passion and gaining happiness was all that mattered. I encourage anyone who feels they desperately need to get out of a western cubicle to do it immediately. The Universe will provide. Otherwise, save money before you go.

Be sure to consider what part of the world you want to be in a while and research visa requirements. I chose southeast Asia and intend to stay in southeast Asian countries the remainder of my time. However, I did not research and consider visa requirements before I left and my lack of knowledge definitely threw me off track. Be sure to plan jobs and timing the best you can. If you want to work in one place for longer than a few months, you will need to purchase a working visa and working visas are not always cheap.

Keep in mind, you are basically running your own business. Typically, resorts and yoga studios are flexible and normally need your help, so be sure to talk yourself up with business, as business skills are just as important as yoga experience. At the same time, don’t skip out on your yoga experience and be sure to create a yoga business CV. Once you get going do not focus on the cons. Remember, use the space for your business, have fun, and if things don’t work out…move on! There are infinite other opportunities out there thanks to Yoga Trade.

Thank you Yoga Trade for playing such a significant role in my life. I will continue to use this service and grow as a human. Yoga Trade not only enabled my business skills but held me while I healed. May the light in my Yoga Trade journey shine light on your Yoga Trade journey.

Namaste Yoga Traders.

 

Kelsey Kosmala’s journey began in Southern California, where she studied Social and Behavioral Sciences and had a lot of fun…She spent about 4 years heavily participating in drugs and an unhealthy lifestyle. Eventually, she got involved in fitness, which lead to her interest in yoga. After a few months of yoga classes at the gym, she was hooked and decided to get her 200 hour YTT certificate in Montezuma, Costa Rica. This is when she “woke up” and her love for yoga and travel began. She spent 5 years studying yoga, holistic living and spirituality in India, Thailand, Mexico and Austin, Texas. She has over 850+ hours training and has taught over 1000 classes and workshops. Her style consists of interlacing her studies with her own style. She incorporates Ayurveda, Trauma Therapy, Mindful Dance and Reiki Energy Healing into her work. She feels blessed as her turbulent background gave her the motivation to help others. Her specialty, given her past experiences, is holding space for people to transform, heal and be themselves.

Connect with Kelsey:

FB: @kelseyjaneyoga

Join Kelsey on retreat:

Evolutionary & Educational Yoga Experiences 2019

At Yoga Trade, we love learning! We believe that one of the most important pillars for yoga teachers is to embrace the seat of the student as well as the teacher. Continuing Education enables us to learn, grow, and tends the inner fire! Check out these recommended educational yoga experiences in 2019. We wish we had superhuman powers and could attend all of them:)


Starting in January 2019, 300 HOUR ADVANCED YOGA STUDIES in the U.S.A.

with Vira Bhava Yoga

virabhavayoga.com

Have you been thinking about doing a 300 hour training but not sure of the right one or unable to take a month off to do so? Vira Bhava Yoga offers powerful and thorough trainings that are held over 5-6 weekends within one year’s time at cities across the states. Trainings starting in Sacramento, CA and Atlanta, GA this upcoming January! In this training you will learn practices and gain tools that you can: take with you for the rest of your life, implement in your day to day, and enhance your practice and purpose in the world.

https://www.virabhavayoga.com/300-hour-yoga-training/


January 27-February 7, 2019, SPANISH LANGUAGE COURSE FOR YOGA TEACHERS in COLOMBIA

with Yoga Internships

yogainternships.com

Comprising eight classes of 2.5 hours, plus free attendance to all our Spanish language asana classes, this language course will prepare you to communicate effectively in Spanish during a yoga class. It is estimated that over 400 million people in the world speak Spanish as a native language, putting it second behind Mandarin and ahead of English in the rankings. It can be a huge competitive advantage to be able to work bilingually. Not only can you cater to the Spanish speaking population in your own country, but you can travel and work in Latin America, where yoga is just beginning to explode, or in Spain – a wildly popular yoga-tourism destination, with many well-established studios. So join us for this fun, interactive and practical course to get you started with your career as a Spanish language Yoga teacher!

https://www.yogainternships.com/language-course/


February 18-28, 2019, KUNDALINI AND THE RADIANT BODY in INDIA

with Kia Miller

kiamiller.com

Step away from life as you know it and join Kia Miller for a special practice driven immersion in the foothills of the Himalayas, the birthplace of yoga. This is a unique opportunity to accelerate and stabilize your practice. Access deeper levels of connection and wisdom, facilitated by specific Kundalini kriyas, pranayama, and meditations.

https://www.kiamiller.com/product/kundalini-radiant-body/


February 21-March 2, 2019, SEVA SAFARI + Y12SR TRAINING in KENYA

with Mary Tilson

marytilsonyoga.com

“Look Forward, Give Back”. This 10-day journey to Kenya offers personal growth, opening the hearts and minds of participants while creating a sustainable impact on our local community in the process. Plus you will participate in and bring the powerful Y12SR (Yoga for 12 Step Recovery) training to 60 Africa Yoga Project teachers and experience this transformational program alongside them.

https://www.africayogaproject.org/blogs/service-trips/look-forward-give-back-seva-safari-feb-21st-mar-3rd-2019

Also, check out Mary’s MENTORSHIP program for yoga teachers by clicking HERE


February 23-March 11, 2019, PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE in COSTA RICA

with the Yoga Farm and Friends

yogafarmcostarica.org

Come as a student, leave as an ecological designer! A wonderful complimentary certification for all yoga teachers! We will be leading a small group of permaculture students on a whirlwind of experiential and lecture-based learning. You will take home a solid foundation in permaculture design, the building blocks of a regenerative lifestyle, and a deep appreciation for natural systems. Daily yoga classes. Upon completion of the course, all students will receive a Certificate of Permaculture Design.

https://www.yogafarmcostarica.org/permaculture-design-course-2019/


March 1-8, 2019, FREEDIVING LEVEL 1 COURSE + YOGA in BALI

with Blue Chitta and Come One Yoga

bluechitta.com // comeoneyoga.com

Freediving and Yoga! Discover your true potential in this unique 7 days all-inclusive Retreat by the Sea led by Gabrielle GQ & Natalie Rudman. You will be breathing a lot; exploring various pranayama that can be applied both in the practice of Yoga and Freediving, connecting your mind and body through Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Flows, eating delicious local vegan/vegetarian food and learn how to explore the ocean on a single breath! Participants will receive their Level 1 Freediving certification thru Apnea Total.

https://www.bluechitta.com/bali-retreat-2019/


March 22-30, 2019, SACRED EARTH in PERU

with Sarah Kadel

sarahkadelyoga.com

Deep in the Sacred Valley… High up in the Andean Mountains… Journey to the Sacred Inca Valley in Peru. Open up to the magic of the mountains. Walk through the Ancient Forest, feel the vibrations moving through your feet. Open up to the mysterious stories of the Ancient people. Absorb the incredible beauty and healing power of Nature. Restore harmony within yourself and with Mother Earth. Discover a deeper Love for yourself, nature and the divine. Recognize the sound of your heart calling you home to greet your highest self! Remember that everything is Sacred.

https://www.sarahkadelyoga.com/sacredearthretreat/


March 23-30, 2019, SURF COACHING, YOGA and SUSTAINABLE LIVING in COSTA RICA

with Rochelle Ballard and Yoga Trade

yogafarmcostarica.org

Refine your wave riding skills with former WSL Professional Surfer, Rochelle Ballard (also the founder of Surf Into Yoga) as she takes you through a week of understanding the flow of riding waves, tuning into your body and the parallel life lessons that surfing and yoga can teach us. Co-hosted by the founders of Yoga Trade and the Yoga Farm! Surf playful beach breaks and long left hand point breaks. Practice daily yoga designed for surfers to create strength, flexibility, and restore and regenerate the body and mind. Eat healthy all week, make new friends, and learn about sustainable living as we share living space off the grid in beautiful Southern Costa Rica.

https://www.yogafarmcostarica.org/surf-with-rochelle-ballard-and-yoga-trade/


 

April 9-14, 2019, DEEP ECOLOGY of WELLNESS in COSTA RICA

with Yoga Trade and Friends

yogatrade.com

A unique and special retreat gathering! Join the Yoga Trade family for six days and five nights at Punta Mona, Costa Rica: an off-the-grid botanical center where the rainforest meets the Caribbean sea. A space for Yoga Teachers, Wellness Professionals, Permaculturists, and those with a desire to learn from around the world to come together in an intimate and natural conference setting. Enjoy Movement, Yoga, Nature Connection, Community Building, Continuing Education, Storytelling, Permaculture, Regenerative Design, and Joy. An incredible line up of passionate teachers and magic in this land. Let’s share our wisdom and grow together!

https://yogatrade.com/deep-ecology-of-wellness-2019/


June 9-16, 2019, 75 HOUR ADVANCED TEACHER TRAINING in ITLAY

with Anton Brandt

thesacredfig.com

This 75 hour, 8 day module dives deep into The Katonah Method. Katonah incorporates classical Hatha yoga with Taoist theory, geometry, magic, mythology, metaphor, and imagination — in a practical framework designed to potentiate personal and communal well-being. Learning refined alignment + biomechanics is a given on our trainings, but we don’t stop there – be prepared to explore things like personal development, confidence, and speech. At the core of the The Sacred Fig philosophy is connection + community. Not only do our thoughts affect us in tangible ways, but we also have the extraordinary capacity to affect those around us, and the environment we live in. And so as yoga practitioners and teachers, we strive for the extraordinary, so that we may serve as a beacon of possibility for those around us. We see the divine in everything around us, but we also know that it lies within us. So before trying to shape & control everything outside of us, we first look deep within, and do the work ourselves.

https://www.thesacredfig.com/teacher_trainings/pantelleria/


September 7-28, 2019, FOUND EXPERIENCE in BALI

with Jake Paul White and Friends

letsbefound.com

It’s time to find a better way to live with more balance between work & your wellbeing. In this immersive 21 day experience we will guide you towards being the founder of your own life. If you have a vision for where you want to take your life, we can help you discover the right path. You can become the founder of your chosen life, by enrolling on this immersive 3-week experience, and learning by living the life you want rather than studying it in a book. Our mission is to help you take control of what your lifestyle looks like now, and for the future. We’ll guide you through setting the foundations of your own business, and building it around a lifestyle of wellbeing, community and travel, ultimately leaving you empowered to continue the journey alone.

https://www.letsbefound.com/


Do you know of additional evolutionary and educational experiences in 2019, you’d like to recommend to the Yoga Trade community!? Post about them in the comments below!

Deep Ecology of Wellness GIVEAWAY!

***UPDATE***

Today is December 18th, 2018 and we have picked the winner at random. Big CONGRATULATIONS to Yoga Trade member @bevinking !!! YOU WON! See you in the jungle! Big thanks to all who participated! A few more days to sign up with our earlybird pricing. Use the discount code AMIGOS at checkout to receive $200 off before December 20th!


Yoga Trade is excited to announce our Deep Ecology of Wellness GIVEAWAY!

One lucky member will receive free admission (5 nights shared glamping accommodation, three meals a day, all workshops and classes) to Deep Ecology of Wellness, April 9-14, 2019 at Punta Mona, Costa Rica. ($950 value)

Deep Ecology of Wellness is a unique and special retreat gathering (limited to 100 participants max). It is will be held at an off-the-grid botanical center where the rainforest meets the Caribbean sea. A space for Yoga Teachers, Wellness Professionals, Permaculturists, and those with a desire to learn from around the world to come together in an intimate and natural conference setting. Enjoy Movement, Yoga, Nature Connection, Community Building, Continuing Education, Storytelling, Permaculture, Regenerative Design, and Joy. Check out the incredible line up of passionate teachers HERE.

HOW TO ENTER:

(Please read directions carefully, it’s a 3 step process)

1. To enter, log into your Yoga Trade account and LEAVE A REPLY (post comment) below at the end of this BLOG post. In the comment, state why you are excited to attend the Deep Ecology of Wellness event! Within your comment, feel free to also share about your own experiences with Yoga Trade. You must be a Yoga Trade member to post a comment. (If you are not currently a member, you can sign up at yogatrade.com)

2. Visit the Facebook page for this event (https://www.facebook.com/events/329849784255275) and mark that you are either ‘GOING’ or ‘INTERESTED’.

3.  Finally, SHARE about this BLOG/EVENT GIVEAWAY post on at least one social media platform of your choice (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). You must share this link:  https://yogatrade.com/deep-ecology-wellness-giveaway/

That’s it. You’re Entered!

Thank you for contributing to this flourishing community. We look forward to growing together!!!

The WINNER will be chosen at random (random.org) and will be announced on December 18th, 2018.

*Only ONE entry allowed per person. You must be a real human to enter. The giveaway is only valid for persons age 18 and above. The event ticket is not transferable to another person if winner is unable to use. The event ticket includes full admission (shared accommodation, food, and classes), and does NOT include transportation to the event or other travel costs. The event ticket is not redeemable for cash. 

Wanderlust: Inspiration for Yoga Teachers

One of the worlds largest yoga and lifestyle gatherings returns to the Lake Tahoe area July 19-22, 2018!

Wanderlust Squaw Valley is a high-vibe place to unite with the international yoga community through asana and meditation classes, personal growth workshops, music, and outdoor adventure.

It is important as a yoga teacher to continue to learn, to diversify knowledge, and to stay inspired and curious. Get out of the comfort zone and take classes and workshops that you normally may not. Connect with the intelligence of the granite, the pines, and the fresh mountain air.

Evolve your practice as a teacher and a student.

Some of the teachers and presenters this year include: Elena Brower, Eoin Finn, Shiva Rea, Chelsey Korus, Light Watkins, Noah Levine, Garth Stevenson, and DJ Drez.

A wonderful experience as a YOGA TEACHER as the event is over-flowing with wisdom, creativity and inspiration. Meet new friends and reconnect with old ones in this magical setting in the Sierras. Share the spirit of WANDERLUST. See you there!

Article Photos By Pete Longworth for Wanderlust Festival

Learn more and buy tickets here:

WANDERLUST SQUAW VALLEY

Connect with other Wanderlust events and happenings around the world:

wanderlust.com

FB: @wanderlust

IG: @wanderlustfest