How to Travel the World by Teaching Yoga

            The nomadic yogi lifestyle is gaining momentum. Working as a yoga instructor and travelling abroad for the same cause has never been so appealing. We have lots of examples of some yoga teachers who have managed to find ways of following their heart and pursuing their passions while travelling and working abroad as a yoga teacher. Many of them have shared their experiences as well and have inspired others that pursuing your dreams while travelling the world is possible.

If you have similar goals of teaching yoga while travelling need not to worry. This lifestyle is about surrendering to the universe, going with the flow and with a bit of research and planning it is very possible. We will tell you some of the easiest ways regarding how to start teaching yoga abroad. Going abroad for teaching yoga is an incredible experience and thus, is among the most enriching life experiences you will ever have. Before getting it all started, all you need to do is to find good yoga instructor jobs abroad through work away sites for instance and arrange something before arrival. You will find a number of opportunities in different countries, as the market for teaching yoga has started becoming more in demand especially in Bali, India and Portugal. These sites are where I started my search when I wanted to work in Portugal as a yoga teacher abroad and eventually opened my own school, Bend it like Buddha. You can find a number of jobs through different websites such as:

http://www.yogatrade.com

https://www.workaway.info/

https://www.helpx.net/

 Once you decide the country you would like to travel in as a yoga teacher, search for different options where you can apply for your teaching job or work away position. The growing popularity of yoga has grabbed the attention of different hostels, glamp and camp sites, hotels and 5 star famous resorts. These hotels have started offering daily yoga classes to their guests and usually they have higher margins of salary.  While working there, you will have an awesome opportunity of exchange available to you. If you agreed for exchange, you will be provided with a nice room to stay and good food to eat.

 In the area that you have decided to travel to, if there is a yoga retreat or 200 hour or 300 hour teacher training happening, make the most of the available opportunity and reach out to them and let them know that you will be in the area and can help teach classes for their TTC. These positions often pay well. Networking with the leaders may help you discover some future opportunities while assisting them and will help you learn more about the industry. If you have planned to stay at a hostel while travelling, let the owners of the hostel know that you are a yoga instructor and ask them to encourage arranging yoga classes for their guests.

Besides this, you will have several other options too. You can offer classes on a donation basis in a community space such as a recreation centre, music festival or vegetarian restaurant or cafe. Either you can help out from the work exchange option or you can arrange donation classes for a local charity either on the beach or a nearby park.

Erica Hartnick is among one of these yoga travellers who combined her dream of travelling all around the world. She has travelled to different countries and has connected with the people through donation-based classes and work exchange as well (Hartnick, 2013). Nikki Scott is another such yoga teacher who has completed 200-hour yoga teacher training in Goa, India and has discovered some amazing opportunities in Thailand. Bali is also among one of the best places in the world to enjoy a yoga retreat, one of the most popular places to teach and learn the art of yoga (Scott, 2017).

Travel and yoga make a perfect combination especially for the wonderful yogis that love exploring this magical vast world. A number of female yoga teachers are travelling the world and are self-sufficient by teaching yoga or/and the other body-energy work such as Reiki, Ayurveda and Thai Yoga massage and other healing modalities.We also teach these healing arts in our yoga teacher trainings in India, Bali and Portugal.

Among these yoga instructors include Caitlin Turner, Honza and Claudine Lafond and Kino MacGregor who travelled to India to pursue her dream. Another internationally known yoga girl is Rachel Brathen who also travelled far and wide to teach yoga (Sugerman, 2019). All of these female yogi-nomads are my mentors and inspiration and you too can also pursue your dreams and the nomad-yogi lifestyle.

 Social media will also be a great source of meeting others working on a similar path and industries that are looking for yoga teachers. Follow what you love! Follow your heart! Please share with us what your nomad dreams are and what you are up to in this wide wide world.

References

Hartnick, E. (2013). 10 Tips for Teaching Yoga Abroad – Yoga Trade. [online] Yoga Trade. Available at: https://yogatrade.com/10-tips-teaching-yoga-abroad/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2019].

Rova, A. (2017). Lessons Learned From My Yoga Teacher Training in Bali. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/girlskill/lessons-learned-from-my-yoga-teacher-training-in-bali-35ad87a474c1 [Accessed 16 Jan. 2019].

Scott, N. (2017). Search Job and Volunteer Opportunities For Yoga Teachers & Yogis Across The World.. [online] South East Asia Backpacker. Available at: https://southeastasiabackpacker.com/search-jobs-travel-yoga-teacher/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2019].

Sugerman, L. (2019). 8 Yoga Teachers Who Travel Around the World. [online] DOYOUYOGA.COM. Available at: https://www.doyouyoga.com/8-yoga-teachers-who-travel-around-the-world-38352/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2019].

 

Ayurveda Massage

What is it and the Benefits?

Ayurveda Massage course at Bend it like Buddha Yoga-Portugal

A variety of research studies have highlighted that Ayurveda massage helps in locating and removing the ailments related to muscles, joints and ligaments. It has further been proved through scientific studies that the massage further contributes to the improvement in blood circulation and initiation of detoxification. The stimulation is often very strong, however, the effects of the massage at the very end are not only relaxing but rejuvenating. With this powerful bodywork taking place, the practice of deep yogic breathing further provides the necessary integration and amplifies the benefits. Besides this, the passive yoga stretching during the massage contributes to increasing the mobility of joints together with the flexibility of the ligaments serving as an excellent tool for rehabilitation. (Sinha, Lohith and Ashvini, 2017).  

Look who wants a massage too;-) from our 200 hour course in Goa.

Ayurveda massage is an effective and unique form of yoga based bodywork originating in India. Some scholars assert that Ayurveda originated in prehistoric times and that some of the concepts of Ayurveda have existed from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization or even earlier. Ayurveda developed significantly during the Vedic period and later some of the non-Vedic systems such as Buddhism and Jainism also developed medical concepts and practices that appear in the classical Ayurveda texts. The Ayurveda massage is considered as a combination of deep tissue massage and that is assisted by the yoga stretches and energy work. At our studio, Bend it like Buddha we incorporate the Ayurveda massage, energy work and breath work into all of our 200 hour yoga teacher trainings. This helps activate and cleanse the nadis which are energy channels and the mind and body become more balanced.  Our body is a storehouse of tensions and issues that are sometimes originating from unresolved emotional trauma. Ayurveda massage also helps in the relieving fatigue and awakening of the entire body and then each of the areas of the body are cleansed and refreshed through massage combined with the power of breath and stretches.

As the Ayurvedic medicine tradition consider the interaction and balance of mind, body and spirit from the internal power of the individual, in a similar manner, Ayurveda massage serves to relieve the pain as a preventive medicine through an increase in the circulation, stimulation and strengthening of the lymphatic system. Symptomatic relieve of stress and generation of positive emotions are also among the other benefits of Ayurveda massage. Ayurvedic massage practitioners may also suggest a variety of lifestyle changes based on the particular imbalances in a person and Dosha type. The Ayurveda massage further helps the individual to stay healthy, improving the nervous system and strengthening the immune response thus increasing the longevity together with facilitating long-term weight loss. Healthier skin together with better vision and eye health have also been proved to be the scientific benefits of Ayurveda massage (Kothainayagi and Gupta, 2018).

Stress and other toxins are accumulated in our body on regular basis and a good massage has the ability to remove these toxins. Ayurveda massage is recharging the body, making the mind soothed and relaxed. The overall sensation, in this way, is improved with the internal organs stimulated and efficiency of them is improved. Lubrication of joints, releasing muscles and calmed nerves, as a result of the massage further contributes to the mental alertness and brings an increase in the overall physical stamina of a person (Kulkarni et al., 2010).

Learning 45+ massage techniques at our yoga studio in Praia da Rocha beach, Portimao Portugal

There are certain similarities between Ayurvedic massage and Ayurvedic yoga massage, however, Ayurvedic yoga massage provides additional benefits. Our yoga school is committed to delivering the highest standard of Ayurvedic yoga massage training to our students, both beginners, people with injuries and seniors are warmy welcomed to join any of our Ayurveda massage courses in Portugal, Bali or India. All our courses are suitable for beginner students.

The release of chronic stress and tension is tangible and during the Ayurveda massage the natural energy flow is restored into the body making it feel light, calm and aligned. There are practitioners that may schedule a regular Ayurveda massage treatment as a form of physical maintenance of your body thus helping you maintain good physical and mental health in a stressful world.

Ayurveda massage relaxes the body both physically and mentally while the overall result can be observed in the form of a deeper and refreshing sleep pattern, with the aging effects reduced and the emergence of a rejuvenated appearance and inner well-being.

References

Kothainayagi, B. and Gupta, S., (2018). CONCEPTUAL AND APPLIED STUDY ON ABHYANGA (AYURVEDIC MASSAGE). PARIPEX-INDIAN JOURNAL OF RESEARCH6(7).

Kulkarni, A., Kaushik, J.S., Gupta, P., Sharma, H. and Agrawal, R.K., (2010). Massage and touch therapy in neonates: the current evidence. Indian pediatrics47(9), pp.771-776.

Sinha, K.K., Lohith, B.A. and Ashvini, M.K., (2017). Abhyanga: Different contemporary massage technique and its importance in Ayurveda. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences (ISSN 2456-3110)2(3), pp.245-251.

FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness is associated with letting things go. Not necessarily removing or forgetting about a past hurt but for an ideal life and good health it is generally better to forgive and forgetrather than holding grudges and resentment. Forgiveness is not only linked with others rather, often it is not being able to forgive yourself for a past mistake. Sometimes it is not possible for one to forgive one’s self. One can apply the Patanjali Sutras and the 8 limbs of yoga that is, let go and surrender.  You might not believe this but practicing yoga makes you a master in forgiveness either consciously or unconsciously. At our yoga studio, at Bend it like Buddha we teach people the gesture of forgiveness through the act of exhaling for example. We consider that when you let the things go through exhalation, there is an inspiration waiting for you. That moment in the present moment, pulling in relief and practicing forgiveness through the breath.


A question here can be raised; how can you forgive someone who has hurt you? Consider not confusing forgiveness with acceptance. Different scientific studies have been conducted that have proved that forgiveness is an act that is linked with our brain; however, it is also important to act with all your heart. Yoga helps you to establish ourselves making a contact with the peace and harmony thus strengthening the quality and power of lives. The power of forgiveness will let you move through different circumstances of your life more peacefully. 

The researchers have explained forgiveness being associated with both internal and external elements. These internal and external elements are the behavioural and emotional elements and have further emphasised that forgiveness often involve both public and private aspects of forgiveness. There, however, are only a few types of research that have studied the public and private aspects of forgiveness. McCullough, Worthington and Rachal (1997) have stated that people deal with injustice in many different ways; they might not decide to forgive or to change their emotions. Not forgiving or responding in resentment, bitterness or retaliation leads towards affecting the physical, mental, social as well as physical health in a negative manner. The researches, in this regard, have suggested that forgiveness can benefit the health in more positive ways.

Another study was conducted by a psychologist, Charlotte van Oyen Witvliet. The people were asked to think about someone who has either mistreated or hurt them in any way after which their blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension is monitored. An increase in heart rate and blood pressure has been observed while the research participants recall these unpleasant incidents. These participants were then asked to imagine forgiving their offenders and while practicing forgiveness, their stress level is observed to be decreased (Witvliet et al., 2001). 

There are some people who have considered forgiveness as emotions while the others as behaviour. Forgiveness does not require exposing oneself to the same situation again and again and most often the people also see a link between forgiveness and forgetting. Usually, when yoga is taught, an intention to let go is put into the process. It is definitely not an easy process to let something go. While practicing yoga asana, meditation and pranayama are most commonly preferred, however, it does require a reasonable time and daily practice to see and feel the results. 

Forgiveness is a decision; it is a daily practice much like yoga and meditation. This practice helps with releasing emotions thus shifting the mind towards a more pure, positive state. For some people, forgiveness is emotional not logical as it does not always make sense and not an orderly process.

How to Forgive?

The first stage is simply becoming aware of the need to forgive. Allow you to feel free and experience the full force of emotions. Express the emotions through journaling, counselling or even punching a pillow and screaming without bothering others. This may be difficult but once you go through this stage, you will definitely feel more relaxed as you will accept the situation by letting go the resistance and difficult emotions. Acceptance is the first step to improvement and when you accept how you feel about a situation and how it has impacted your life, you will find yourself releasing the grudge. On this path of forgiveness, meditation will be your invaluable aid. The stages of forgiveness, as stated above, will guide you while practicing forgiveness during meditation, pranayama and yoga. Asking for wisdom and guidance from your higher self will also provide patience and strength of going through the phase. Forgiveness will help create more space in the body to bring in more positive experiences and experience life with more ease.

References

  • McCullough, M.E., Worthington, E.L., Jr., and Rachal, K.C. (1997). Interpersonal forgiving in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 321-336.

  • Witvliet, C.V.O., Ludwig, T. E., and Vander Laan, K. L. (2001). Granting forgiveness of harboring grudges: Implications for emotion, physiology, and health. Psychological Science,12, 117-123.

The Benefits of seated Meditation

You certainly have heard that meditation is good for you but perhaps you have questioned the validity? There are hundreds of scientific studies that show meditation has a plethora of benefits some of the recent studies are quite incredible such that it can alter deep-seated traits in our brain patterns and character.

Neuroscientists have tested if these effects of meditation are just momentary and they have brought something very surprising for us! There are some scientific studies that have proved that mindfulness practices such as yoga decreased the level of depression, high blood pressure and anxiety. A scientific study has been conducted in Belgium involving around 400 students. Through the study, it was concluded that the students that have participated in the mindfulness program reported a reduction in the level of stress, depression and anxiety (Filip et al.,2013). Another incredible study conducted in the University of California has further indicated that the meditation is not only effective in treating patients with emotion regulation and social anxiety disorder but at the same time, it further decreases dysfunctional beliefs and ruminative thinking (Ramel et al., 2004).

Gamma brainwaves play an important role in day to day functioning of the brain and thus meditation.

We were very excited to explore this and very soon we will share this discovery regarding Gamma waves in our upcoming documentary which L. Farrah Furtado produced and Scott Weatherall directed in Mysore, India.

Gamma rays not only assist with improving and maintaining memory, they further function in such a manner that they help a person stop feeling stressed and depressed. Our brain is made up of millions of cells and the brain waves with the highest frequency are called the gamma waves and hence are critical to understanding the functioning of the human brain during different emotional states. Moreover, it has been observed associated with a feeling of greater well-being and improved cognition. The researchers have indicated the meditative students-group displayed high-levels of gamma brain wave activity concluding that meditation has some astonishing effects on altering an individual’s mood, cognition and functioning of the brain. It has been demonstrated that yogis have also elevated gamma oscillations for meditation practice. A rare gamma pattern in yogis has been observed as the standard feature of their everyday brain wave activity. In yogis the gamma oscillations are far more prominent of their brain activity make up. Ordinarily gamma waves from, say, a creative insight, last no longer than a fifth of a second—not the full minute seen in the yogis. Yogis are people who practice regular yoga, meditation, breathwork and pranayama.

Our Bend it like Buddha yoga studio in Portugal holds sessions for daily meditation during our retreats and programs and plays a significant part in helping people feel relieved after their everyday tensed activities and situations. In our 200-hour teacher training, we meditate at least 2x a day for two weeks during the Vinyasa and Ashtanga teacher training program and students of our yoga school often feel these wonderful benefits after the first meditation class. People do not need to be experts to apply. We warmly welcome beginners and seniors to come learn how to stretch themind and body with us! Soon we will be offering online meditation training for beginners-stay tuned

Those who have studied the benefits of Gamma waves claim that meditation practices enable better processing of information and have further supported the healthy functioning of memory.

In our upcoming documentary to be released spring 2019; several experts and scientists discuss Gamma and the incredible benefits of meditation. Gamma waves are considered as providing a significant role in unlocking the information about brain health including individuals suffering from head traumas.

Richie and Antoine while studying the gamma brain state have discussed that, considering the electrifying data in EEG frequency, deficiency in gamma waves could host a number of issues (Goleman et al., 2018). A decrease in the number of gamma waves is an indication that the individual is increasingly prone to depression, impulse, stress or lack of focus.

Fascinatingly meditation practices help to regulate mood and anxiety disorders and considered to be effective enough to treat anxiety and depression much like antidepressant drug therapy. A study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has indicated the practice of open monitoring meditation explaining that the meditators are more likely to attend a moment to moment – stream of stimuli and meditation, in this way, has helped in reducing their stress level and anxiety. Seated meditation increased grey concentration in the brain, especially in those areas that involve learning and memory, regulations of emotions, sense of self and having a perspective.

In a nutshell, meditation provides at least a short-term performance improvement. Long-term meditation, on the other hand, enhances the ability to generate gamma waves in the brain, improves focus, attention and ability to work in stressful conditions.

At the Bend it like Buddha Yoga school we recommend beginners to start with seated meditation 5 minutes daily and working up to longer lengths (60minutes).

You can sit on a bolster or have your back against the wall, set your device-timer. Close your eyes, hands interlaced below your belly and focus your attention on each inhale and exhale. Some students find it useful to bring focus to a mantra, color or symbol if they find concentrating on only the breath is too challenging. Avoid the temptation in engaging with daydreams or random thoughts.

Meditation is a wonderful mini holiday that you can do whenever you feel tired, for a “pick me up” or about to do an anxious activity or meditate anywhere and anytime.

You can also try guided meditations on YouTube.

Here is a meditation for forgiveness I created and just posted on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd4Lv4llMi0&t=32s

Enjoy!

Please remember to sign up for our newsletter for updates on new blog posts, online yoga courses and free meditations:

www.benditlikebuddhayoga.com

References

Filip, R., James, G., Gucht, K., J. Williams, G.,(2013). School-Based Prevention and Reduction of Depression in Adolescents: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness Group Program. Mindfulness.

Goleman, D., Davidson, R., Goleman, A., Davidson, A. and Staff, L. (2018). How Meditation Changes Your Brain — and Your Life. [online] Lion’s Roar. Available at: https://www.lionsroar.com/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-and-your-life/ [Accessed 14 Dec. 2018].

Ramel, W., Goldin, P.R., Carmona, P.E. and McQuaid, J.R., 2004. The effects of mindfulness meditation on cognitive processes and affect in patients with past depression. Cognitive therapy and research28(4), pp.433-455.