We are Adzenture Retreats! Together with our internationally renowned yoga teachers, we host yoga and wellness retreats in magical destinations around the world like Sri Lanka, Bali, Iceland, Nicaragua and Peru. With yoga principles at the heart of what we do, our yoga retreats are designed to reinvigorate your mind
Introducing the perfect starter guide for everyone that wants to learn to meditate but doesn’t know how to go about starting by Yoga For You Online Founder - Kelly Smith.
MYTH: People think you can magically shut your brain off.
FACT: Instead of switching off - you are doing a single pointed concentration which is taking all of your mental power and focusing it on one thing.
MYTH: You always have to sit, cross legged.
FACT: You can do whatever feels comfortable for you. You can stand, sit in a chair or sit cross-legged.
MYTH: You have to meditate for a long time, every single day.
FACT: Everyone is different - you move at your own pace.
So now that that’s settled, let’s jump into how to establish that meditation routine for YOU.
Decide if you WANT to do it. We all acknowledge how silly this sounds, but it’s so important. The first step to starting your routine, is making the initial commitment to this practice.
Like everything, this is not going to happen overnight - it will take you several weeks to master.
Find a meditation position that will fit your personal practice.
Here are some options to try:
Sitting on a meditation cushion or pillowSitting on the floorSitting in a chairLying down
Whatever method you decide to go with ensure that your spine is long, you can breathe with ease and you’re comfortable but not so comfortable that you’re going to fall asleep.
Pick between your first ten or your last ten.
This decision essentially dictates which part of the day you’re going to dedicate to fulfilling your practice. Kelly recommends that you pick between meditating first thing in the morning or doing it right before you hit the hay.
We do this because there is so much that happens in a day and this commitment might fall through for other priorities. Scheduling your practice at the beginning or end of your day will ensure that you get it done either before you start any task or after you’ve finished everything up.
Choose what you can realistically work with the best :)
Decide what kind of meditation is best for you.
This is where it may get a bit tricky and you might have to outsource some resources like a meditation teacher or podcast. There are so many kinds of meditation that are out there (similar to different kinds of yoga) and you need to distinguish which one flows the best for you.
Kelly recommends to start with a guided meditation or pursuing a meditation where you focus on just your breath for 10 minutes. When doing this, place all your mental energy on your air flow, as you inhale and exhale and try to stay present with that.
Set a timer on your phone and meditate! Sit for 10 minutes, focus on your breath and that’s it!
According to Kelly, studies show us that anywhere from 8-12 mins of meditation everyday is enough to grasp the benefits.
And when you’re done, you are done my friend! You don’t have to think about it - you can just move on - there’s no need to evaluate your practice. There is no good and bad meditation.
Here’s a quick recap of all the steps:
Dedicate yourself to the practiceFind your comfortable positionPick between first ten or last tenMaybe do a little research and figure out what meditation style is best for you.Set your timerVoila!
Kelly says we should give it about 8 weeks before we start to see any kind of physical benefits.
If you would like to dig deeper into this practice and experience Kelly’s daily meditation magic and yoga in person - join us when we journey to Peru for our Harmonious Life Yoga Retreat!
Often, when I tell people that I teach yoga nidra I get one of two responses. I either have people say yoga nee-what?! Or they burst into a smile and instantly start telling me how much they love yoga nidra and start recalling just how powerful the practice has been for them. Yoga nidra is one of the oldest forms of yoga that exists, but it is also one of the less common styles that are taught. I have found that with a growing interest in non-physical forms of yoga that there are not enough teachers, or trainings for that matter, to teach students how to share this transformational practice and lead classes that are not asana based.
Yoga nidra means “yogic sleep” or “conscious sleep” and is a way to get your body, mind, and emotional body to be at it’s deepest state of relaxation, by moving through the different brain wave patterns and layers of our being (koshas) to reach a relaxed state where you can set an intention, connect with something deeper, or just give the body and mind time to rest and restore. It is a way of making the body become unconscious but allowing the mind to stay hyper aware and open and it does this by moving through six stages while ultimately coming face to face with your true-self, or atman.
The six stages of yoga nidra are
1. Preliminary relaxation and body awareness
2. Awareness of the breath
3. Awareness of feelings and emotions
4. Awareness of intellect
5. Connection with the divine mind
6. Complete release of the self
With each stage you move through a different layer (kosha) and experience a different brain wave or pattern. Yoga nidra moves you consciously though the different brain wave patterns and sleep cycles to help you achieve complete rest. It is said that 45 minutes of yoga nidra is equivalent to the amount of rest you would usually receive in 3 hours of regular sleep, and in a world where we are frequently running on empty giving your students the gift of deep rest for the body and mind while setting a positive intention within the true self is one of the greatest things you can share with your students.
Perhaps my favorite thing about yoga nidra, and what inspired me to start training others in this style was the fact that it is completely accessible for any student. There is no movement involved, you do not need anything special, and as long as you can hear the words being shared you can practice yoga nidra. We often get students that are intimidated by vigorous asana practices, or aren’t given the chance to explore other limbs of yoga through their regular classes and don’t have the opportunity to ever connect with their true self and just rest.
Kelly Smith is an E-RYT-500, YACEP, founder of Yoga For You and the Yoga For You teaching method and is the host of the Mindful in Minutes podcast. She led our Iceland retreat in September 2018 and will be leading retreats with us in Peru and Bali this year.
Want to learn more about Yoga Nidra? Kelly is coming to Toronto this July to share her love and wisdom of Yoga Nidra! In this course you will take a deep dive into the practice of yoga nidra, the history and philosophy of the practice, explore the koshas and anatomy of yoga nidra, and learn how to teach this practice and share it with others. This training is accredited with Yoga Alliance to receive 22 CECs.
I’ve had the privilege of traveling to several countries around the world, but had never been to Central America. That is until I connected with Sedona Alvarez, Adzenture Retreats, and this great opportunity to arrive alone - but meet a group on a yoga retreat.
The organizers over at Adzenture Retreats do a great job of getting everyone prepared in advance of the retreat by creating a private Facebook group. A space where all the attendees are able to get to know one another prior to the trip, and discuss travel details. Through the Facebook group, two of the other attendees and I decided to arrive in Costa Rica a few days early (pro tip: airfare was actually more affordable arriving three days earlier, including the cost of our Airbnb accommodations, plus we had the pleasure of perusing the beautiful City of San José).
Upon arriving in San José, I was immediately struck by the warm and welcoming nature of Costa Ricans. From the airport staff, to our Uber driver - every person was inviting, courteous and extremely friendly.
Our Airbnb was centrally located in Barrio Escalante; a neighborhood known for its scenic boulevards and gastronomic offerings. We spent the next three days taking in the beautiful architecture of downtown San José, eating at delicious bistros and cute coffee shops, visiting Poás Volcano National Park, and touring a scenic coffee farm in Alajuela, just outside of the City of San José.
On the third day we united with the rest of the group and made the four-hour car trek to The Goddess Garden, a retreat center nestled on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, arriving late into the evening.
In the morning we awoke to the unique serenade of howler monkeys, an appropriate soundtrack to the luscious jungle paradise that we would call home for the next six days. We gathered by the pool for coffee or tea, before our first yoga session at 8 am, in what became our morning routine for the week.
Our morning yoga took place in the yoga Shala; a breathtaking room with high ceilings, wrapped with windows that provided ample light and beautiful views of the Rainforest that surrounded us.
After morning yoga, we were able to nourish our bodies with a delicious breakfast of fresh tropical fruits and satisfying vegetarian options (as a carnivore, I must admit I never missed animal protein as the meals prepared for us by Chef Uens were incredible).
Throughout the week, Adzenture created a perfect balance of planned activities and flexible free time.
We had the honor of getting to visit the Bribri tribe, an indigenous tribe who call the Cordillera de Talamanca Limon home. We spent the entire day immersing ourselves in their culture, hiking their cacao plantation, and learning their traditional methods of chocolate production.
After our visit to the Bribri tribe, we took a mini hike to a secret waterfall. There are few experiences that compare to chasing waterfalls - practicing yoga at the foot of one, and taking a dip in a pool of cool, crystal-clear water afterwards to soothe your aching muscles, took that experience to a whole new level.
After all of the peaceful meditation and mindful yoga sessions, why not get the adrenaline pumping? On the fifth day of our retreat, we took a short trip to a zip-line track that cuts through the thick Costa Rican Rainforest. The only word I can find to describe that experience is EXHILARATING!
We ended our retreat with a final session of our intention setting workshop, followed by a
traditional cacao ceremony. The experience was truly remarkable.
I never thought a group of strangers could become bonded as quickly and strongly as our group did.
The peace and clarity that occurs when you are able to practice yoga, meditate and center your energy with a group of amazing individuals cannot be translated into words. Do yourself a favor and venture out and experience it for yourself.
Renee Tayis a photographer based out of Kansas City, Missouri. She specializes in family & children portraits, weddings, and travel!
We've been fortunate enough to have incredible people join us on our retreats, from all walks of life - each of us on our own personal journeys in life. It's these human connections that make these retreats what they are and this is a place for us to highlight some of these wonderful humans in hopes that their stories and thoughts inspire you, as they have inspired us.
We're so incredibly grateful to start this little segment with Sheree, our very own MS warrior whom we met on our retreat in Sri Lanka this past year. "A few years ago I was a part of a crew and we hung out often. We were solid. Then MS joined the crew through me and slowly I became conscious of my food choices. This made me a bit of an anomaly in the crew. Places that we used to go to were no longer an option for me. I saw them struggling with the new me saying “just a little bit won’t hurt”. I knew they just wanted to relate to me and I also knew they wouldn’t be able to. We eventually stopped being a crew. I love them but our relationship was no longer serving either of us or our purpose... I had to let go. The shift in relationships is known when it’s happening. We feel it. We know it. It was a peaceful transition with dollops of sadness because I was losing my crew. While we are still friends today, it’s different and that’s okay. Now they reach out and ask me for guidance on healthy eating choices. See...things fall into place ❤️. It was not easy or comfortable but that’s a part of the journey. I am blessed to continue to have encounters for a reason, season, lifetime. I’m still learning to accept each role. Awareness is the first step and I constantly work on it. Much love to you, to this encounter happening right now.
We were blessed to meet this beautiful soul in Bali last September. "I had gained and lost over 80 lbs, five different times in my post-college life. I would now need to lose at least 175 lbs - and that journey would be difficult. It would be an all-out rumble. But I wasn’t old Beth, I was new Beth, and new Beth wasn’t afraid of a fight. I began working out with a personal trainer four days every week in January 2016. In February 2016, I scheduled my weight loss surgery for May 6, 2016. I successfully dropped 51 lbs and went in for the procedure at 309. One year later, I weighed 204. I have not reached my goal weight yet, but damn I’m proud. Saying how you feel, what you dream, and what you want is hard. Changing how you feel is harder and taking the steps to make the change makes you a hero. Your own hero. Your own hip hop dancing, downward facing dog, world traveling, life living, skinny jean wearing, swimming with shark’s kind of hero. You are cordially invited to join the “Beth-O-Lution”. This is the story of my rebirth. This is my unique journey through a radical transformation mentally, physically and emotionally that has unlocked joy, happiness and a life I could have never dreamed of. " Keep up with Beth's journey on her blog mylifeafterbacon.com
We got to know Adrienneon our retreat in Bali. We were one of the many stops in her solo travel journey, and in May 2019 she will be joining Tiffney Houston (and us) in Costa Rica to lead a vision board party to manifest your dreams just like she did hers! "I’ve included travel on every one of my vision boards since 2015. In May 2017, I took my first solo trip to Chile and Argentina and I was introduced to people who had taken a break from the “rat race” and decided to travel for an extended period of time. That’s when I started to entertain the possibility to take a break from my career and explore the world. Alone. July 2018, I set out to travel 11 countries across Central America, Europe and Southeast Asia. Initially, taking the leap of faith to quit my job and travel the world for an extended period time was scary. I questioned myself a lot. I went back and forth with my decision but since I had told my friends and family I was going to do it, there was no backing out. At times, the questions from others imposed fear on me. I would become unsure about what I was doing. Letting go of my comfortable, great paying job, nice apartment and luxury car? That does sound crazy! Now that I have completed my four and a half months of travel, it was literally the best decision I have made in my life. I liberated myself and am now able to trust myself more. Traveling the world alone provided me with the space and time I needed to gain clarity. It cultivated a healing experience, and I was able to let go of concerns I had about my life and the direction I was headed. My travel experience will forever be my motivation to dare greatly. Setting out into unknown territory and discovering my ability to not only survive, but to thrive and grow, was life changing!"
When a mutual yogi friend connected me to Kelly Smith for a yoga photoshoot, I had no idea what blessings she’d soon bring to my life. During our shoot, she mentioned Adzenture Retreats and her upcoming yoga and meditation retreat in Iceland. When she asked me to join and document the trip, my jaw hit the floor. I was going to Iceland, to practice yoga and meditation, and shoot the entire experience? Did my dreams just come true?
Aside from being ecstatic to document our trip, I was really looking forward to practicing meditation. It’s something I’ve wanted to incorporate more into my life, but could never get it to stick. There was no better opportunity, than to learn from Kelly everyday in the most peaceful country in the world!
We stayed at Héraðsskólinn Hostel at Laugarvatn which blew my expectations from the moment we walked in. It was the cleanest, most relaxing place. They setup a private yoga room for our group and prepared all of our uniquely delicious meals each day. I can’t say enough about the pre-planning that must have gone in to making this trip so perfect, but it was so nice to just relax and have everything run on a smooth schedule every single day.
We started every morning with a mindful yoga practice. We woke just in time to catch the beautiful sunrise, grab a coffee and warm pastry, then head to the yoga room. We’d start at 8am, with the windows cracked open and the cool morning breeze hitting our faces in shavasana. Kelly led our group through various yoga practices where we laughed, cried, and smiled through her flows. Breakfast always followed in the dining area that looked out toward a field of horses. This sounds like a dream I know, it was such a peaceful setting.
It didn’t take our group long to connect - big thanks to the night we saw the Northern Lights together! It was the most magical dancing light show I have ever seen. We hugged and screamed like hyenas, we were so caught up in the moment.
Our daytime activities included workshops and bucket list to-do’s in Iceland! Kelly’s workshops taught us how to build an at-home meditation practice, how to build your own yoga flow at home, and how to remove energy blocks through meditation. Her workshops were teaching us how to live a more JoyFULL life, and it was the perfect description. I left feeling immensely full, and so much joy from all I learned.
In between the daily workshops, Adzenture Retreats planned the ultimate excursions for our group! We’d end our days with evening talks and meditation. It was the perfect unwinding night cap to our eventful days together.
Did I also mention the people are exceptionally nice there? We loved our tour guides! We went to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall where it was sunny, rainy, and then hailing within 30 minutes. Then we hiked Solheimajökull Glacier and even drank some glacier water. We ended the tour with my most anticipated destination, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach.
Our last tour, The Cave People (Laugarvatn Adventure) was so unique, and I learned so much general information about Iceland here. We ended our night at Laugarvatn Fontana where we all jumped in the freezing lake then sprinted into the hot baths.
So many “first time for everything” moments throughout this trip! I was so happy to experience it with such an open minded group of people. I’ve never experienced a trip like this in my life, and it exceeded all of my expectations - and then some. Whether you are new to yoga, or if you practice daily... if you like to travel, or you are intimidated to travel internationally... if you want to meet new people and experience once in a lifetime opportunities along the way - book a retreat with Adzenture Retreats!
A special thanks to Daniela and Kelly whom I owe my experience to. Thanks for making this a trip of a lifetime and a great introduction into my photography business!
Andi (www.andibphoto.com) was born and raised in Michigan, and has a passion for visual storytelling and connecting with people to document their most monumental moments in life. She is always seeking out of the box opportunities, and the friends she’ll meet along her journey.
I had been traveling around the country for about a week when I joined in on Adzenture Retreats all-inclusive yoga retreat in southern Sri Lanka. I was excited to join a group of passionate yogis and travelers to share in our love for yoga and adventure in a gorgeous setting on the coast. The retreat was located in Hiriketiya Bay, a secluded beach setting gaining popularity for its year-round surf and sandy shores. We stayed a one-minute walk from the shore at Salt House, a boutique jungle hotel with lovely Australian owners that really cultivated a perfect setting for our week.
My involvement in yoga had only just begun in the last six months that I had been traveling around Nepal and India. I had been exploring yoga: its history, its methodology, and the different styles into which it had blossomed. For me, the journey into practicing yoga was fresh, and this was my first opportunity to join in a yoga retreat. How perfectly had my travel plans lined up to meet up with Adzenture Retreats in Sri Lanka!
Daily Yoga + Workshops
Each morning, we awoke to the sounds only a tropical jungle can provide and I'd step onto my balcony and watch monkeys climb up and down the coconut trees. The early morning mist on the bay yielded a colorful sunrise as the surfers dove into the water to paddle out to surf as the sun rose. Morning yoga began at 8:00 each day of the week and we rubbed our sleepy eyes and assembled in the yoga shala, beautifully built just beside our hotel. The sounds of the palm trees rustling around us really created the most peaceful ambience in which to do yoga and begin our days.
Our instructors, DJ Townsel (@dade2shelby) and Tie Simpson (@hippie_heathen) both hail from the southeast USA and were well-versed in how to accommodate both beginners and the more-seasoned practitioners. In addition to the daily classes, they held workshops in both inversions and acro-yoga, and helped many of us break through mental barriers and challenge ourselves to advance our practices. I've always found acro-yoga to be so enticing and was ecstatic to be able to finally get to try it out myself!
Some of the most memorable moments of the week were spent adventuring out of Hiriketiya Bay to explore and laugh our way through some other places. We went to visit Galle Fort, a fort built initially by the Portuguese and fortified by the Dutch, that now is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The whole neighborhood around the fort has been designed into markets, restaurants, and boutique stores, that led to the lighthouse at the shore. We ran around snapping photos of the streets and dropping some yoga poses everywhere we walked.
Udawalawe National Park
Another one of the highlights of the week was visiting Udawalawe National Park, an area known for its plentitude of Asian elephants. We piled into two safari-style jeeps and drove through the park for the afternoon gawking at the families of elephants grazing on either side of our jeeps. We saw eagles in the trees, water buffalos and crocodiles in the watering holes, and peacocks making a ruckus all around. For many in our group, this was their first opportunity to see animals like these in the wild and I was so happy to be able to see that sparkle in their eyes the first time you see an elephant fling a load of mud onto its back just feet away.
Sri Yoga Shala
For this group, most moments were filled with constant laughter and joy, but we did have one particular evening that struck most of us spiritually. We visited the Sri Yoga Shala near to Galle Fort for a gong bath, which was another first of mine. After some chanting, singing, and kundalini exercises in breathing and movement, we all laid in a circle to feel the vibrations from a gong at the center of the room. At the time, an hour of the sounds felt relaxing, but a day or so after I was feeling profound effects. It was as if each stroke of the gong had torn into little parts of my emotional pain-body that had been longing to escape, and tears flowed allowing some of it to flow out. There was a spread of effects within our group, but it was undeniable that something had been felt.
Having traveled around the third world for a significant amount of time in my life, I hadn't expected a yoga retreat to flow with such ease in a country such as Sri Lanka, which can normally be quite challenging to navigate. This speaks to the organizational prowess of Azma and Daniela, co-founders of Adzenture Retreats, that had organized a truly perfectly balanced week of yoga and adventure in Sri Lanka and accommodated to such a wide breadth of attendees. I could not have asked for a better introduction to the world of yoga retreats! Many thanks to our instructors, Tie and DJ, who went out of their way and out of their comfort zones to give us their all and create a truly special and memorable experience for all of us.
Kelsie DiPerna grew up in Southern California and has lived the majority of her adult life in Hawaii. She combines a love for protecting nature, along with her deep passions for travel and photography, to create a platform for sharing the culmination of these.
I’m average. There, I said it. It’s out there now and I can’t take it back. I am average, and you know what? I’m not ashamed of saying that. Why does being average get such a bad wrap? Why should I have to declare my normal, mediocre, average self with such a leap and little bit of a fear in my stomach as I write those words? What’s so bad about being average? As a whole our society seems to be obsessed with being extraordinary. From a very young age we are told to be the best, gets As in school, volunteer, grow your resume, and get into the best colleges. Then as adults it doesn’t get any better. I spent the majority of my life comparing myself to others, measuring my skills, capabilities, and performances to those around me for validation that I was either better or worse than they were, as if my worthiness was based on how many areas of life I was excelling in.
I wish I could say that once I discovered yoga all of a sudden my constant need to compare, match-up, and be the best fell away, but unfortunately that just wouldn’t be the truth. I was that person in yoga classes taking side glances at the student next to me on the mat and comparing how my practice measured up to hers and everyone else in the class. I would look at other yogis and think that they were “better” or “great” and I was just average. Then when the time came and I started teaching yoga I did the same thing. I would compare myself to experienced and talented yoga teachers that had been working on their craft for years. I saw teachers on social media sharing photos of their unimaginable flexibility and strength while they demonstrated their yoga prowess in beautiful exotic locations. I found myself thinking, I will never be that, I am just your average yogi.
It wasn’t until I started to work with my students in one-on-one sessions that I realized how common it is to be overcome with comparison and self-doubt. For years I watched student after student get caught in the wheel of comparison and tell me how they would never be strong and flexible like I am, or how they don’t measure up when they compare themselves to their peers and friends or what they see on Instagram. It seemed almost daily I heard how they just weren’t good enough or how they didn’t measure up in their eyes. I have to be honest this filled me with both deep sadness and also a feeling of shame. Sadness because my students didn’t see the amazing person that I saw in them and shame because they were saying things that I have said to myself. What kind of an example was I setting for my students when I was just as hard on myself? So I decided that my practice and approach to yoga needed a major revaluation. I needed to start practicing what I was preaching.
I found myself telling my students again and again that yoga is a deeply personal practice and it doesn’t matter what someone else’s Warrior looks like, or how long you have been practicing, or even what YOU look like. Every day it is a practice, and perfection doesn’t exist. Every time you roll out your mat to practice, you work with whatever you have that day - there is no need to compare, compete, or worry that you won’t be good enough. As long as you get on the mat and try, you’re already good enough. I applied this same philosophy to me, my life, and my practice. At first it was really hard. That cycle of comparison and fear of being average kept creeping in but the more I did it, the easier it became, and you know what happened? I started to experience a joy, lightness, and confidence that I hadn’t experienced before. I started finding light-hearted humor in my less than perfect moments and began celebrating the uniqueness that resided in me and each of my students, and enjoyed the process of the yoga journey instead of focusing on the end results.
To me average means that I am human, and humans are innately imperfect. It is in these parts of me that don’t come so naturally that make me a good teacher. I have experienced that journey for myself and I can be there to celebrate my students and build them up when they’re stuck in the wheel of comparison. I am proud to be an example of average for my students. I am not effortlessly flexible and strong, I have had to work for every extra inch of length I gain in my muscles, and every fiber of muscle tissue that I have. I have had to work for hours on top of hours to refine my class planning, sequencing, and delivery of classes and private sessions to my yoga students and I have had both great success and terrible failure and honestly, I celebrate them both.
Today I challenge you to think, I am average compared to who? What about me is not good enough where I need to wish I was like someone else? I challenge you to stop practicing with your eyes, and start turning the gaze inward, practice from the heart for yourself, your body, and mind, only. Stop letting fear of being average get in your way. Treat yourself with the same compassion, love, and understanding that you would give your students. It’s not about having a flawless practice or being the best, it’s about what you learn, on your own personal yoga journey, even if at the end of that journey parts of you are still average, after all, at the end of the day no matter how much yoga you do you are still humans, and humans are imperfect and beautiful beings.
Kelly Smith is an E-RYT-500, YACEP. She is the founder of Yoga For You and the Yoga For You teaching method and is the host of the mindful in minutes podcast. Kelly's method of teaching, the Yoga For You Method, believes teachers should meet students each day wherever they are at in their journey and celebrate the differences in each student. Kelly has been teaching for over 6 years and has taught over 4,000 classes and 2,000 private sessions. Most recently, Kelly has expanded her mission to make yoga possible for everybody, and has started training, mentoring, and coaching new instructors that are beginning to build their yoga business and help their students thrive.
The biggest complaint I hear from yoga teachers is that they don’t make enough money. They spend hours preparing for classes that only pay them $30-$50; they spend most of their day rushing from studio to studio, and at the end of the day, they are burnt out and barely making enough to live off of.
The result of this is that yoga teachers are cheap; meaning that they are very hesitant to invest money that they feel like they don’t have. It’s very rare that you meet a full-time yoga teacher that isn’t watching their cash flow and living on a budget. And, it’s very rare that you meet a yoga teacher that is spending their hard earned money on anything except living expenses.
As yoga teachers, we get to do what we love: teach yoga. We get to share our life’s passion with other people, and that is such an amazing gift. But, far too often, we get it into our heads that we don’t need to make more money. Or worse, that we don’t deserve to make more money.
I’m here to tell you that you can do what you love, charge what you’re worth, and make a sustainable living. And that you can do all of this by investing in yourself.
Now, maybe this doesn’t make sense when you’re thinking about cash in and cash out, and wondering how you are going to create a more sustainable career by spending money that you don’t really have.
1. When you invest in yourself, you gain knowledge
Although you are officially a yoga teacher after you finish your 200 hour YTT program, you should always continue to be a student and be open to taking new trainings, workshops and retreats. It is worth it to spend your money on a program that will allow you to grow as a person, to learn more about the industry you teach in, and the practice of yoga.
Think about the people in the yoga industry that you admire most. Now, what do you admire most about them? Is it how much knowledge they have? How much of an expert they are on the topic? How great they are at teaching?
Newsflash: these teachers didn’t just wake up as a great teachers. They invested in themselves over and over again so that they could gain the knowledge to truly be experts in their craft.
When you make the choice to invest in yourself, you will also become an expert in your craft, and make a more sustainable living. Sometimes that means diving into your savings, or worse going into debt. But, it will be worth it.
2. You will always make the money back
If there is one thing in life that pays for itself, it’s investing in education and training. If you pay for a great retreat, workshop or training and can turn around and use what you’ve learned in your own business, you have almost immediately earned that money back.
Often, we think of our investments as only the money that we are spending and we think about how much money we have coming in and how much money we having going out, and immediately think to ourselves that we can’t afford to spend a single cent.
How many times have you looked at an offering that you know would benefit your career and thought to yourself “I can’t afford that”? I know I’ve done it about a million and a half times, and it’s taken a lot of work to start to think differently and remind myself that when I invest in myself, I will make that money back because I will be a better yoga teacher.
Sometimes you need to spend money you don’t have in order to make more money. It’s always important to remember that spending money on things that don’t give you an immediate return can pay off in the long term.
3. You can charge more for your offerings
When you invest in quality trainings and education, your offerings immediately are worth more. Having 300 more hours of training is almost guaranteed to make you a more quality teacher than you were after 200 hours, and this can be said for all the different workshops, trainings and retreats that you take. This means that if you take action to charge what you’re worth, investing in yourself immediately helps you make more money.
Think back to those amazing yoga teachers that you look up to and consider how much their offerings cost. Most likely, much more than the average yoga teacher charges. And what’s even more is that they are filling their offerings!
We get it in our minds that people won’t pay a lot in the yoga industry, but then how are so many teachers successfully running full programs at higher prices?
Because they invested in themselves, they learned more about the industry, they became experts on yoga, and then they charged what they’re worth, which is much higher than what they were worth before they invested in themselves.
So, the next time you see an offering that you know would improve your career, shift the “I can’t afford it!” to “what are the possibilities for growth in my career if I invested in this offering?”.
Remember: investing in yourself is the key to making a sustainable living in the yoga industry. It is far more than just an exchange of money; it is an exchange of knowledge, and knowledge will make you rich in more ways than one.
Amanda Kingsmith is a RYT-200 yoga teacher and yoga business consultant based out of western Canada. Amanda came to yoga from a marketing & business background, and has a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in marketing from the University of Calgary. Amanda combined her love of business with her love of yoga by starting M.B.Om, a podcast and online business focusing on the business side of yoga. She works with yoga teachers to help them create careers they love that are both sustainable long-term and financially abundant!
As one year wraps up and another one starts, now is a great time to reflect on what has been, set it aside and look forward to what will be. Here are five ways to enter 2018 with your best foot forward.
1. Manifest Your Destiny
This is one of our favourite things to do when we get together. Ask your friends and family what they want to manifest in 2018. It’s a great way to put your intentions out into the world, and open yourself up to receiving them and also encourage others to do the same. Verbalizing your hopes, dreams and goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable while bouncing ideas off of those you trust the most. You never know what helpful feedback they might come back with, or who they know, or what opportunity they will come across to send your way.
We can’t say enough how important talking about your dreams is in order to make them a realit
2. Organize Your Life
Get your plans down. For some this may look like a vision board of pretty pictures and key words cut out of glossy magazines. For others this may be planning out all of your major goals with deadlines in a fancy purchased paper planner or creating a bullet journal. For the more technologically inclined, it’s getting all of these important dates down in our smartphone. Whatever your vision may be, get your ideas out of your head and down somewhere.
3. Be Easy on Yourself
Set yourself some goals that have looser guidelines. Think about mental/internal resolutions rather than physical/external ones. Make lifelong intentions, not just ones requiring immediate results and then forgotten as you move forward to the year beyond.
4. Don’t Put Off Until Tomorrow…
There is no need to wait for the calendar year to turn in order to start working towards your goals. If you’re already thinking about it, why not just start?
5. (Re)Treat Yourself
Take a moment to reflect on what you have accomplished in the past year and remember to reward yourself throughout the year. Whether it’s to travel to a new destination, relax on a beach with a good book, buy yourself something you’ve been eyeing or finally go on that yoga retreat or travel adventure you’ve been dreaming about.
We’ve planned an action packed itinerary including equal parts thrill and chill. But we know that most yoga retreats offer a stunning location, and bucket list excursions, so what truly sets a retreat apart from all the others?
The teachers! Meet #RastaYogi and #HippieHeathen!
Prior to becoming the Rasta Yogi, Derrick "DJ" Townsel, was an NFL athlete. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Derrick was always extremely athletic. His hard work paid off as he received a full ride to play football for Murray State University as a 4-year starter. The NFL Houston Texans picked him up for the 2010-2011 season, he followed that up with two other NFL organizations and two other professional leagues (AFL and CFL).
During this time, Derrick was pulled towards taking up yoga in 2012. He credits this to a number of amazing individuals on social media, Instagram in particular. At the time he was shy about his yoga practice, following online sessions in the comfort of his own living room. But as a self taught yogi, his passion grew and he began to study not only the physical aspect, but also the mental and spiritual, along with the history of yoga.
As his football career came to an end, he transitioned into making a career out of his passion for helping others realize their physical and mental potential as an Orlando-based personal trainer, health coach, and yoga instructor. He is an inspiration to thousands of individuals who didn't think a passion for fitness or yoga could be a possibility for them, mainly men and people of color.
Known for his crown of dreadlocked hair, his love of listening to Bob Marley during his practice and a pride for his West Indian ancestry, Derrick became known as the "Rasta Yogi." He is a 200-Hour Certified Yoga Instructor, Acrobatic Yoga Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, and Level 2 WCO Calisthenics Instructor.
As his football career came to an end, he transitioned into making a career of his passion for helping others realize their physical and mental potential as an Orlando-based personal trainer, health coach, and yoga instructor. He is an inspiration to thousands of individuals who didn't think a passion for fitness or yoga could be a possibility for them, mainly men and people of color.
Tie Simpson, aka Hippie Heathen, began her yoga journey in July 2013. She completed her 200 hour YTT at the renowned Kashi Urban Ashram in Atlanta, Georgia. Known for her bold, free-spirited and captivating nature, Tie humbly attributes her success in the yoga world to her strong foundation of the three P’s (practice, patience and persistence).
As an advocate for self-love, empowerment, and holistic healing; Tie uses her social platform to encourage, and promote the practice through her own personal journey to Self.
Tie notoriously blends the wellness of mind, body and spirit with the artistic nature of yoga. She expresses herself through lifestyle blogging, writing, artistic yoga photography and modeling in addition to teaching yoga and mindfulness. She is also a mother of two. And if all of that wasn’t enough, she has started Lotus Souls, a holistic wellness and lifestyle culture brand/organization.
We cannot wait to flow on the island with these two inspiring teachers March 1-7, 2018! If you feel the same, click here to find out more and/or claim one of the remaining spots.