I’m coming into my tenth year (!!!) of teaching yoga, and also my tenth year of leading yoga retreats. That’s right, I jumped right into the yoga retreat industry immediately after graduating from my 200 hour yoga teacher training.
While I don’t necessarily recommend everyone to lead a yoga retreat right after finishing their first YTT, I share this as a way to illustrate that if I could teach a yoga retreat as a new teacher- you can certainly do it as a more seasoned one.
In the last decade of teaching and mentoring fellow yoga teachers, I’ve found that most people are afraid to lead a yoga retreat of their own, because they feel like they’re not good enough. Nothing like imposter syndrome to get in the way of our dreams, right? I know.
Today’s post will share why it’s important for yoga teachers to start hosting yoga retreats, the different options for hosting yoga retreats locally or internationally, and how to work through the fear and self-doubt that might pop up along the way.
For a total breakdown of how to plan your first retreat, make sure to check out my Masterclass for only $49!
Why Yoga Teachers Need To Host Yoga Retreats
Let’s be real, most yoga teachers are making anywhere from $20 – $50 per class that they teach. In most places, getting to that $50 point takes quite a few years, and hundreds of hours of training.
While one of the main benefits of leading retreats is the increase of your existing yoga teacher salary, there are many other benefits, as well.
Improves Your Teaching
When you teach a yoga retreat, you must be able to provide classes with a little extra *something* to them. This means that these classes will be deeper than any ‘ole drop in yoga studio class.
If you’ve gotten to the point in your yoga teaching journey that you feel like you can teach your studio classes with your eyes closed, then it’s time to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself by teaching a yoga retreat. Your class creation process will get a little more challenging. And help you to get back into student-mode through self study and self practice.
Provides A Creativity Boost
Most of us yoga teachers have got to the point of burn out when it comes to teaching the same classes over and over. It feels like the creativity well just kind of….dries up, right? I get it.
When you put yourself in a position to challenge your class creation process, and to teach in a space outside of your comfort zone- you’ll find an overall boost in your creativity. Assuming that you start working on your retreat classes in advance, this will also help you in creating your studio classes in the meantime. It’s a win-win.
Increases Your Salary
The big selling point for taking the leap into hosting your first yoga retreat is the increase of your salary that this experience will hopefully provide. There are a lot of risks, both financial and otherwise, that come along with teaching a yoga retreat. But there are a lot of financial rewards, as well.
Increases Longevity As A Yoga Teacher
If you’re able to fill the retreat, you’re likely to make more in one week than you would otherwise make in an entire month on a standard yoga teacher salary. Not only will you be exerting less energy, but you’ll also be making more money. Which helps you stay in working in this industry for as long as possible.
It’s really hard to teach five million studio classes a week just to make ends meet. Teaching yoga retreats is a great way to reduce your studio class load, without reducing your pay.
Improves Your Relationship With Your Students
When students come on a yoga retreat with you, they’re investing in you as a teacher. Their choice to spend thousands of dollars to travel with you to a new place is letting you know that they trust you. And this trust shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Building a deeper connection with your students is not only valuable on a human level, but it’s also meaningful from a business standpoint, too. Trust implies sales. And sales are what keep you going as a yoga teacher.
Allows You To Travel
One of the greatest benefits of teaching yoga retreats is that you get to travel wherever you want! Whether you’re interested in international yoga retreats like I am, or you’re more keen on local experiences- teaching the retreat will inevitably cover the cost of your travel and time away.
As a devout traveler and yogi, I always say that travel is my greatest teacher. Learning from the world at large is an excellent way to improve your teaching, cuing, and ability to work with all kinds of bodies and backgrounds.
How To Teach Your First Yoga Retreat
The good news is that there’s a few options of how you can teach your first yoga retreat. It’s really up to you on where you want to go, how long you want to go for, and what style of retreat best suits you and your students’ needs.
International Yoga Retreat
International yoga retreats are sort of the pinnacle of yoga retreats. They’re the ones you’re probably thinking of when you close your eyes and picture that perfect open air, beachfront yoga shala.
Teaching a yoga retreat abroad is the perfect way to tick all those places off your bucket list, and get paid while you’re doing it. While it’s exciting to travel alongside your students, I do recommend that you go to the place first yourself so that you have a firm understanding of the culture, the land, and overall experience.
Local Yoga Retreat
Perhaps you’re not as interested in international travel, or you have a student base that simply can’t take that much time off work. Don’t worry, you can always plan a more staycation style retreat locally, instead.
Many teachers really leaned into local yoga retreats during Covid, as international borders were closed, but people were still craving that retreat experience. Local retreats are a great way to tiptoe your way into the retreat world, as these retreats tend to be shorter, less expensive, lower risk.
You don’t have to teach your first yoga retreat alone. In fact, I highly encourage you not to. Sure, this comes with a pay cut, but it also helps to spread responsibilities more evenly. Trust me, it’s a lot to plan your own retreat, manage the bookings and students, and then also show up and teach daily for a week straight.
If you choose to work with another teacher, you can decide how you want to split the workload. Whatever you decide, make sure you have this written in a formal contract before you pay any deposits on a retreat venue.
I know many yoga teachers who love to teach, but hate the admin work that comes with organizing an event. Don’t worry, you can still teach yoga retreats…you’ll just do so as a hired teacher, instead!
Getting hired as a yoga teacher on a retreat usually happens organically. But if you want to be proactive, you can try to reach out to yoga retreat centers, yoga studios, and other hotels that offer yoga to see if they’d be interested in hiring you as a teacher.
Remember, an important component in pitching yourself is proving that you’d be able to fill this event. That might mean you need to work on growing your social media following (link to post on this), building your mailing list, or providing proof of in-person students who would want to join you.
How To Work Through Imposter Syndrome When Teaching A Yoga Retreat
- Diversify your yoga classes.
- Teach as much as possible.
- Step outside of your comfort zone.
- Increase your self practice.
- Increase your self study.
- Ask another teacher to collaborate with you.
- Delegate responsibilities.
- Opt to work as a hired teacher, rather than planning it yourself.
- Step up your meditation practice.
- Repeat positive affirmations.
Here’s the thing, imposter syndrome might continue to pop up even if you do all of the things listed above. And that’s okay! The only time imposter syndrome is really an issue is if you let it stop you from moving forward.
If you want to teach a yoga retreat, you can. It will just take time, energy, and work on understanding how it all works. My How To Plan A Yoga Retreat Masterclass is the perfect way to get started on planning your first retreat, providing a low investment for a big return.
Trust me when I say you can’t keep running on fumes teaching all those studio classes every week just to make ends meet. You deserve to get paid, and paid well, for the work that you do in this world. And offering retreats to your students is the best way to do just that.