Yoga Teacher Travels: Shruti Shah

Yoga Teacher Travels: Shruti Shah

Here we catch up with Shruti Shah, a yoga instructor from Mumbai, India, currently working at Costa Dulce in Nicaragua. Shruti has been a Yoga Trade community member for 3 years, is exploring the world sharing her gifts, and is in the process of writing a story for a newspaper in Mumbai. Learn more about Shruti and her life as a travelling yoga teacher…

How long have you been practicing yoga? And what made you want to become a yoga teacher?
Growing up in India, I was lucky to have yoga in my life at a young age. I religiously started practising at the age of 23 at a local Iyengar Yoga studio. What started off as a purely physical practice, slowly turned into a more holistic practice, changing the way I interact with the rest of the world. My experience of physical, mental and emotional healing through yoga made me very curious about the mind-body connection. After years of dedicated practice, I decided to quit my job in Mumbai and committed myself to an 800Hr YTT at Byron Yoga Centre in Australia. Yoga ended up transforming every aspect of my life and I wanted to share my learnings with the world. Teaching yoga fulfilled me in a way that sitting in front of a computer screen 9-5 never would!

What type of yoga do you teach?

I practised Iyengar Yoga for about 7 years before I got certified in Purna Yoga and I enjoy a dynamic Vinyasa flow too. I feel like my classes are a combination of them all, they are flow-oriented, alignment-focused and relaxing. When I am travelling and teaching yoga, I have a simple beginner friendly flow that is accessible for all. When I am at a surf retreat, I usually teach a challenging class that is tailored for surfers. I also enjoy teaching a very slow Restorative yoga class for days when the students are obviously tired and just need to take it easy. I have recently started facilitating cacao ceremonies and ecstatic dances, something I learned when I was in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

How do you find international yoga teaching jobs?

Yoga Trade has been super helpful in finding work exchange + volunteer jobs in Central America. I spent 2 months in Costa Rica last year and 3 months in Nicaragua this year teaching yoga at surf and yoga retreat spaces.  Some places only require an hour or two of daily work in exchange for accommodation and three healthy meals per day. Connecting with people while travelling is definitely helpful in finding different yoga gigs. So put yourself out there, connect with like minded individuals and let everyone know that you are open to opportunities.

What are some of the challenges you’ve had to face in your journey as a yoga teacher?

Being a 30 something year old single girl from India, with societal expectations and parental pressure to ‘settle down’ it was definitely challenging to go against all odds and pursue my passion. It took 3 years for my parents to respect what I do and be supportive of my choices. Travelling and teaching yoga comes with its own set of challenges and isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. Sometimes I wake up disoriented not knowing what day it is, or what time zone I’m in or where my next meal is coming from. Other times, you’re living in this constant state of uncertainty and I don’t know how I’m going to pay my bills and most times things don’t go as planned – teaching gigs fall through, flights get cancelled, visas get denied. One thing I have learned from travelling is – there’s no place like home!

Besides yoga, how do you support your lifestyle?

Before I quit my job to study yoga, I was a Social Media Consultant for different start-ups for over 7 years. I take up freelance social media projects, photography and content writing while I am travelling and when I am back home in India as well. And anytime I run out of money on my travels I come back home, work and save up for the next adventure!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I honestly don’t even know where I will be tomorrow, for someone who lives pretty spontaneously, 5 years is quite far ahead. I hope it’s somewhere nice though, where I can continue teaching yoga, surf on a regular basis and have lots of good people around me. However, the end goal is to build my own yoga shala and health food cafe somewhere overlooking the ocean.

Inspiring mind-body connection, encouraging mindfulness and building community is where Shruti finds meaning and purpose in her life. Shruti Shah , an 800hr RYT from Byron Yoga Centre, Australia has been travelling and teaching yoga for almost 3 years. She has had the honor of exploring this practice with gifted teachers in many corners of the world from Australia to Bali and India. Now with a home base in India, she travels to surf and yoga retreats across the globe to share this beautiful practice. She enjoys combining gentle flow asana practice with meditation and breath-work in a creative and playful way, making yoga accessible to all.

Instagram: @flowithshruti
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