ANNOUNCEMENT: Share Your Yoga Retreats & Teacher Trainings with the World!

The Yoga Travel Tree Directory is BACK!

We’re officially opening up the Yoga Travel Tree directory allowing you to share your amazing yoga retreats, yoga teacher trainings, and yoga venues with our travel-loving community!

We know first-hand how hard it is to get the word out about your yoga trips. And we also know how crazy expensive it can be to advertise on yoga portals and directories, buy Facebook and Google advertising, and get PR mentions.

This is why we’ve created three affordable listing packages for any yoga business at any stage of development to help promote your yoga experiences.

Seriously. Your local coffee shop likely gets more of your cash each month than the price of our listing packages. ;)

Here’s what we offer:

  • 1 Yoga Listing - $3/month (yep…3 bucks)
  • 3 Yoga Listing - $6/month
  • 6 Yoga Listings - $9/month

See I told you this was crazy affordable. We got you covered! However, these rates won’t last forever! Lock in these rates forever! 

But you might be wondering why we’re re-launching our directory if we offer a few retreats of our own.


Why re-launch our directory?

We love our yoga adventures. They are near and dear to our hearts created with an adventurous spirit. But we also know that our adventure-focused style of travel, our departure dates, and our chosen destinations aren’t for everyone. And that’s okay.

We started Yoga Travel Tree a little over two years ago with one singular mission:

Connect travel-loving yogis with meaningful yoga experiences around the world.

So that’s what we want to do. Thousands of yogis visit our site every day, but many of them are looking for the retreats and trainings that we just don’t or can’t offer.

[bctt tweet="Mission: Connect yogis with meaningful #yoga experiences around the world. Learn how:"]

We get emails every single day from yogis looking for a specific type of retreat or teacher training experience. Here’s what they ask:

  • Do you have any retreats in April? I have time off from work then.
  • I’ve always wanted to go on a retreat to Greece. Do you offer that?
  • I have unexpected vacation time coming up next week. Can you help me find a retreat to Hawaii for these dates?!
  • Do you know of any 300 hour yoga teacher trainings in Italy?
  • I’m looking to host my own retreat. Do you know any great venues in Bali that work with small yoga groups?

By opening up our site to you and sharing your awesome yoga experiences, we can serve our community even more and ultimately help more people travel the world and enjoy yoga. Win, win, win!

Our new yoga directory is pretty damn sexy (if you ask me! - I’m only a little biased ;)! Here are just a few of the awesome features...

Awesome Features

  • Vibrant, responsive design: Your listings become more engaging and eye-catching on any device.
  • Simple Search Function: Search by type of yoga experience, destination, and/or time of year. Let our search engine do the rest.
  • Direct Contact with Inquiring Yogis: Our community can contact you directly via email or by the contact form on each listing. We don’t hold them like some sites.
  • Affordable Monthly Pricing: Cancel any time and share all your yoga retreats and trainings.
  • Exclusive Business of Yoga Training: We’ve worked with hundreds of yogis and dozens of yoga businesses over the past 2 years (not to mention my decade of experience before starting Yoga Travel Tree). We’ve learned a lot and we want to help you have the most kick ass yoga business of your dreams.


Get Started!

2016 is going to be the year of travel for me and I hope it is for you too! Let’s work together to connect you with the yogis out there looking for exactly what you offer.

Click Here to select your preferred yoga package and start adding your yoga experiences today!

The process is simple. Here’s how it works:

  1. Select Your Package
  2. Sign-in (or Create An Account) and add your first yoga listing
  3. Preview your listing
  4. Submit for review (this takes 1-2 business days)
  5. Your listing will go live!
  6. You’ll be automatically billed monthly (and you can cancel inside your account at any time)
  7. Come back to your account to add more listings as you’d like (if applicable)

That’s it. Easy as pie.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us! We’d love to hear from you!



5 Ways Yoga Helps You be More Productive

Productivity depends on how clear your mind is and how freely you can work. Everyday tensions and reasons that stress you out make it difficult to work, affecting your output. Yoga is a great way to ease out on these and rid yourself of anxiety. Not only is yoga beneficial in this arena, but it also helps improve your health, prevent some illnesses and cure others. In fact, it has been found that the companies that offer yoga end up spending less on their employees’ health insurance as compared to those who do not have such a wellness program. It is clear from this fact that yoga is good for your health; it helps prevent some illnesses and cure others. But how exactly is yoga related to your productivity?

Makes you energetic

It is said that sitting and working continuously for long hours is a risk to your health. Not just that, it also reduces productivity and stresses you up. Taking breaks every 30 minutes or so greatly helps with blood circulation. Incorporating yoga poses during these breaks can help increase your energy and reduce fatigue, eventually enhancing your productivity. Yes, we understand that you cannot be expected to perform elaborate actions at your workplace, but there are certain very simple moves you can perform while just sitting in your chair, without attracting attention. Result: a burst of energy that helps you work better.

Reduces stress

It is not just physical pain that comes in the way of your work, but being mentally down is also a huge obstacle. Being stressed out, whether mentally or emotionally, costs you. Working becomes problematic because you are unable to focus fully which can be the reason behind you making wrong business decisions. Not only that, but stress also worsens any physical pain or illness you might have. Stress can make you skip work, it increases employee turnover and causes accidents. All these factors reduce productivity. Yoga clears your mind and helps de-stress yourself, thus allowing for increased productivity.

Helps with pain

Yoga helps in curing and avoiding back pain, headache, shoulder pain; all these, and more. Obviously any kind of a physical ailment will affect your productivity and if you get rid of it, you will be able to work better. Besides, physical pain also makes you think about it continuously, making it difficult to concentrate on your work. Practicing yoga will rid you of these pains, making you feel relieved and productive.

Improves mindset

Since yoga clears your mind, you are better able to deliberate over your tasks. It opens your mind, making you more creative and helping you make better decisions. The boost in energy you feel gives you motivation and you are more likely to think outside the box. Yoga inspires you.

Boosts morale

Since yoga improves your mental and physical health, it is indirectly also responsible for your morale. The better your health is, the happier you feel and the higher your morale will be. This positivity increases your self-confidence, making you a better person to work with. Your mood is enhanced and your dealings with others – whether employees or clients – are improved.


Employee productivity is obviously important for every company, since that is how they are going to progress. Therefore, employers should make it a point to encourage their workers to take small breaks to stretch themselves or relax. Not only will this make them more productive but they will also feel that the company cares for them.

This is not to be restricted to workplaces only and in fact applies to everyone, and not just employees. Students, for instance, should not be given hour long lectures without breaks. Spending hours working is not really helpful because you are probably not even working throughout. You are dead tired and cannot wait for the day to be over. You need some time off to refresh your mind and body. So why not take a break and yoga away the tiredness?


Author bio:

Batool Ali is a passionate blogger who loves to write on health care and medical related topics.

What a Yoga Travel Tree Teacher Training Has that Others are Missing

If there’s one important lesson we’ve all learned from our own yoga teacher training journey, it’s that there’s so much more to becoming a yoga teacher than knowing how to teach yoga. Yoga isn’t just a mashup of poses and postures and creating playlists.

[bctt tweet="Yoga is a philosophy. A lifestyle. A way of seeing the world."]

We want you to have more than just a teaching certificate. We want you to have all the information, knowledge, insights, and abilities you need to go out into the world and find success - financially, physically, and spiritually.

That’s why we include several bonuses in our trainings that we feel are important to giving you the best possible yoga teacher training experience possible, and go above and beyond the Yoga Alliance requirements.

Introduction to Ayurveda

Our lead instructor, Kate, has spent the last several years running her own Ayurveda coaching and consulting company. She brings that experience (and her Ayurveda Practitioner Certification) to our 200 HR teacher training to give you a detailed introduction to Ayurveda. Whether you’ve never heard of this sister science to yoga or if you’re looking to broaden your knowledge, you’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of Ayurveda that you can share with future students.

Advanced Business Training

All Yoga Alliance registered schools are required to talk about the business side of becoming a yoga teacher, but we take that to a whole new level! Our mission is to not only help you deepen your own practice and knowledge of yoga, we also want your training to be PRACTICAL. After this experience, you'll walk away with strategies and approaches to securing your first teaching positions, know how to professionalize your approach to this new career, and much more. Because there are only so many hours in a day, we also give all of our teacher training graduates discounted access to Brooke’s 6-week Soulful Business Bootcamp advanced online training course. We believe in providing and delivering value and helping you achieve the professional success you want!

Advanced Mediation Training

Meditation is the cornerstone of any well-rounded yoga practice, and unlike other trainings, we don’t just say “hey you should probably meditate.” We include daily group guided meditation to show you the many different styles, structures, and approaches to meditation, so you’re prepared to bring the practice back to your future students. Of course, this daily practice during the training will help you broaden and deepen your own meditation journey along the way.

Yoga Travel Tree Retreat Discounts

We wouldn’t be a very good yoga travel company if we didn’t encourage and help our teacher training graduates see the world with us! That’s why we provide travel grants and discounts for our training alumni to use toward a retreat of their choice. There’s only one thing we love more than giving the gift of travel - it’s giving the gift of travel+yoga!

[bctt tweet="We provide travel grants and discounts for our training alumni"]

Teach on A Yoga Retreat

Once you’ve fulfilled your training requirements and gotten some teaching experience under your belt, we would love to have you teach on one of our global yoga adventures held throughout the year! First things first... let’s get you trained and certified through Yoga Travel Tree!

What EXACTLY is included when you train with Yoga Travel Tree?

So we’ve shared a lot of information with you about our yoga teacher training programs, and now we want to give you a quick and dirty breakdown of what exactly you receive when you embark on this journey with us.

Here’s what’s included in your Yoga Travel Tree investment:

  • 200 Hour Yoga Alliance approved and registered teacher training curriculum with the Satyam Yoga School
  • Comprehensive teacher training manual (only distributed at our trainings)
  • Welcome bag full of surprise goodies!
  • Access to not one, not two, but THREE experienced and expert instructors
  • All accommodation and three delicious+organic meals per day
  • Organized airport pick-up and departure shuttles to make your transition to/from the training seamless
  • Certificate of completion after all training requirements have been met
  • Camaraderie and friendship with like-minded yogis on the path to becoming a teacher
  • Full-immersion in a new culture and destination
  • Small class sizes and instructor studio ratio - All trainings are limited to 25 students
  • Mentorship, teaching, and coaching from our instructors before, during, and after the training
  • Complete roadmap to structuring and teaching Vinyasa  + many other styles of yoga at studios and events around the world
  • Broad understanding of the anatomy, functionality, and connection between the body and mind, breath and movement, yoga and life
  • Teacher Profile in the Yoga Travel Tree Teacher Directory on our website (including bio and links)
  • Opportunity to teach yoga on a Yoga Travel Tree yoga adventure retreat

And beyond all that, we also have some great bonus materials for you! 

  • Introduction to Ayurveda
  • Advanced Business of Yoga Training + Discounted Soulful Business Bootcamp
  • Advanced Meditation Study
  • Exclusive discounts on future yoga retreats with Yoga Travel Tree
  • Opportunity to teach on a Yoga Travel Tree retreat

There it is. The whole enchilada! We hope you’re inspired to find the perfect yoga teacher training program for you!

Five Extremely Good Ways to Make Money While Traveling

Image Credit:  mendhak

Traveling is a passion for many of us yoga teachers.  We are all trying to find ways in which we can afford to travel and share our passion for yoga-without completely breaking the bank.  But it doesn't have to be as difficult as you might think.  There are numerous ways to make extra cash and save money on your travels, as long as you're willing to be creative.  These odd jobs may not be careers, but the following ways to make money on the road will have you teaching and traveling in no time!

Option 1: For the Writer – Blogging

Do you already have a blog with a decent following?

If so, then a great way to continue to fund your travels while you spread yogic joy across the world is to use advertisements on your blog.  Contextual advertisement avenues, such as Yahoo Publisher, Adbrite, and Google AdSense, are great examples of easy-to-use contextual ads.

Have a super-popular blog?  Try being picked up by an advertising network such as Blogads or BuzzMachine.

Don’t have a big enough following for context or advertising networks? Try using these methods:

Affiliation Advertising - Are your blog visitors apt to make online purchases?  Sites like Amazon offer affiliate sales-anytime someone makes a purchase from your website, you get a commission!

Linking - Use websites such as LinkAdage to change the hyperlinks in your blog to advertise for specific companies who will pay you to have their site come up if a reader clicks on the link.

Don’t have a blog but enjoy writing?

Try your hand at writing some creative and unique articles for companies such as Yoga International and Strong Whispers. These blogs have great online traffic, which in-turn, can link back to your site or blog to create a larger following.  They will even pay you for your article!

Option 2: For the Analyst – Transcriptionist

If you’re a skilled typist and don’t mind sitting at a computer for a couple hours, then this option might be good for you.

As someone who grew up in a generation of computers, I consider myself to be a skilled typist, which definitely comes in handy with this line of work.

There are a ton of sites out there that offer transcription services.  As a volunteer yoga teacher at a yoga retreat center in Costa Rica (Blue Osa), I have a lot of work that needs to get done.  I also want to experience the beautiful place that surrounds me, so my time to make money can be very limited.  That’s why I chose the site Scribie. Not only did they have good reviews, but they also give me the flexibility to work on what I want, when I want.  Scribie allows me to work around my own schedule and pick up transcriptions as I have time.  Now, the pay isn’t the highest, but it’s extra cash for work that is not too demanding and I can usually find some extra time to do one or two before bed.

A few other transcription site options are:,, &

Each transcription site varies on how they assign work, so when you’re researching for places to apply, make sure that you are able to fulfill their requirements while you’re traveling.

Option 3: For the Creatively Talented

Websites such as ODesk and CreativeCircle offer options for the wanderlust soul to work as a freelancer, offering your skill sets remotely for various businesses.  Skill sets vary from customer service, writing, graphic design, web design, data entry and more.  All you have to do is set up your profile and start applying!

Hint: Pay attention to what you are applying for.  Although many of the jobs offered allow you to work remotely, some businesses prefer you to be on-site, so be sure to apply for a job that you know you can commit to.

Option 4: For the Crafty Cat – Jewelry Making

Who doesn’t love to pick up some unique souvenirs and jewelry while traveling across the world?  Why can’t you be the one making those?

During my yogic volunteering experience at Blue Osa in Costa Rica I met this amazing individual who funded an entire year of living in Costa Rica simply by making cool looking bracelets.  I’m sadly not the crafty type, or else I would totally do this too!

If you know how to make bracelets or necklaces then bring that skill with you on your travels!  Things such as string and rope are relatively easy to come by while traveling—and inexpensive. For example, a spool of one color of thread in Costa Rica is about $2.50 and you can make a few bracelets out of this and charge $5 per bracelet.  After your first sale you’ve already doubled your investment and have extra thread to make more!

As a traveling yoga teacher, you can end up having a lot of free time, either at the place you are working or traveling between different destinations. Use this time while you’re sitting on the beach, laying in the hammock, or taking a bus ride, and start putting together a few different bracelets & necklaces.

After you have a couple made, give one to your host.  See if the place you are staying at has a store or small shop that you can sell them at.  Negotiate with them for commission for being able to sell your bracelets/necklaces at their place.

Hint: A great way to add some special local flavor (and enhance your sales) is to collect things from the area, such as seashells from the beach, and add them as charms to your jewelry.

Making jewelry is a ton of work, but it also can be very meditative and rewarding. So think of it as a expanding your meditation practice while making money on the road!

Option 5: For the Jack-of-All-Trades

Sometimes while you’re traveling it’s not about making money, it’s about saving it.  Think of all of the wonderful skill sets that you have and see how you can cleverly use them for trades.

Here are a few ideas:

You are a traveling Yoga Teacher!  What is cooler than that?  If you’re taking a break from volunteering and traveling the countryside, see if you can trade a private yoga class for a free night and some food.

Did you study Massage?  Reflexology?  Chakra Balancing?  See if you can trade a special skill set that you’ve learned for a ride to the town you’re headed towards!

How about photography?  Offer to take pictures for their website in exchange for a night or two.

Handy with a computer or publisher?  Offer to trade some computer work, like inputting data, designing flyers, etc. for a couple free yoga classes.

The most important thing to remember is to be creative with your skills.  Everybody has something unique and special to offer to the world.  Utilize your skills, pursue some acts of karma yoga, and don’t be afraid to show off that Wanderlusting Yogi Spirit!

Teach for Yoga Travel Tree!

Beth - Headshot for BioBio:

Elizabeth Arnold is a 200-hour registered yoga teacher, certified Thai Bodywork Practitioner, and world traveler. She left her corporate life in 2014 to explore the meaning of life through yoga, natural healing & travel. She is currently writing from Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa in Costa Rica where she serves as a volunteer. You can find out more about Elizabeth on her site at



10 Traits that Make a Great Yoga Teacher

Image Credit:  Susanica Tam

Recently, while deepening my own practice as a yoga student and expanding my knowledge as a yoga teacher, I began thinking about what qualities are often found in our favorite yoga teachers, and what makes a good teacher “great?”  Over the past few weeks, I had the chance to visit many different studios, spanning into multiple provinces and one state in Canada and the US.  I didn’t just take the classes at these studios, I experienced them.  How did the teachers make me feel, how did they cue, what words and phrases did they use, did they integrate touch and adjustments in their class?  Every class was different, and every teacher taught me something new about my own teaching and how I differentiated between sub-par guiding and great yoga experiences.

In my journey, here is what I have found that to me, really makes a great yoga teacher:

1. Energy & Presence

When a teacher with great energy walks into the room you know it-because you can feel it.  They make you feel welcome, they make you feel uplifted if you weren’t feeling so great, and if you’re lucky, their energy may rub off onto you as well.

2. Voice

What did they say?  Some teachers talk with such a soft voice you’re constantly straining to hear what they said, or you’re spending the whole class looking around at the others to see what pose you’re supposed to be in.  Having a voice that is calm and clear is very important when leading classes and makes a big difference for the students that are attending.

3. Pace

Have you ever experienced a class that moved so quickly you practically got tangled up in your limbs?  Or so slowly you barely had the energy and enthusiasm to get into the poses?  A teacher that leads their class with a natural, smooth and flowing pace makes a big difference in how you experience the class and how you feel afterwards.

4. Assistance

Since we all know that bad habits and painful consequences can be a result of poor alignment and form, having a knowledgeable teacher to adjust and guide you can be a huge benefit for your practice.  When a teacher works the room, it should not be an anxiety-inducing moment for students thinking they’re going to get “corrected,” it is the teachers showing that they care and want to help us in every way.

5. Availability

When teachers make themselves available before, and especially after class, it says a lot about their teaching. They truly want to help you and are willing to make themselves available for your questions, concerns or simply just a friendly discussion.  When teachers offer their time to you after they’ve taught the class, it’s showing their compassionate nature for each of their students.

6. Connection

Making eye contact, and especially smiling when you’ve made eye contact, creates great connection between students and teachers.  I love when I happen to catch a teacher’s eye and they fill me with energy from their beaming smile and kind gestures.


7. Preparation

Having a prepared class is pretty critical in a great experience for yoga students.  As a teacher, making sure you’ve prepared the structure of your class ahead of time, and remembering it is very important in whether students decide to return to your class or not. No one wants their flow disrupted by a teacher that forgets what comes next.

8. Music

Have you ever been in a class and the teacher exactly the right songs at just the right time? I feel so grateful when a teacher takes the time to create playlists for their classes so that in each sequence the right type of song will be playing.  Sometimes this can be hard to do, as we all know that things don’t go as planned and sometimes a cue needs to be extended or something needs to be explained, but for the most part, a great playlist designed for the certain style of class is a wonderful treat from the teacher to the students.

9. Language

The type of language used in a class can make a big difference in one’s practice.  Sometimes a teacher uses phrases and cues that seem too soft, and therefore no one in the class is inspired to actually do the pose, and sometimes a teacher uses too abrupt of cueing, making you feel like you’re in gym class again and are just waiting for the time to be over.  When a teacher uses languages that involves the perfect mix of suggestive and inspiring cueing, therefore motivating you to go deeper into the pose, and offering modifications in a way that won’t make participants feel as though they aren’t practicing “right” or are strong enough, the class experience can change ten-fold for students and can make you want to keep enjoying that teacher’s classes again and again.

10. Fun

Who doesn’t want to have fun?  When a teacher leads a class that isn’t so serious, participants are able to relax and therefore start to have some fun.  Whether it’s telling some jokes or funny anecdotes at the beginning or end of class, playing upbeat music that makes you feel like moving, or simply throwing a few smiles or laughs in here and there, you start to have some fun.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

There are some yoga teachers who are gifted enough to have many of these attributes, and most of us are capable of bringing at least one or more of these qualities into our yoga classes. Perhaps as a yoga teacher you already have these qualities, but if there are a few that you think you could deepen or improve upon, why not try?  You may create an even better experience for your students and you may see your classes filling up soon enough. Now that I’ve shared what I personally find to be the distinguishing qualities between what makes a good yoga teacher a great yoga teacher, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Please share in the comments below.


A Clear Mind, and A More Successful Lifestyle

Image Credit:  Richard John Pozon

What distinguishes the winners from the losers? It is not brains. Nor is it riches. The winners inch past the finishing line because they don't quit – no matter how bad they want to. Those who fall by the wayside are the ones who don't realize success was this close. The non-winners in life are people who let their brilliant business ideas rot inside them because they are afraid of failure. The losers in life are those people who stifle their dreams and desires because they are afraid to go against society's conventions. Those who get left behind even after they make a strong start are the people who let their negative thoughts get the better of them and lose focus somewhere along the line.

Fear. Anxiety. Self-doubt. Regret. These negative thoughts and emotions keep us from moving forward in our lives. Yet we all let these clutter our minds and sabotage our chances of living a life of our dreams. Some of us are even lovingly attached to these negative thoughts! We nurture them and let them grow till they become a part of our psyche and begin to define us.

A clear, clutter-free mind is a hallmark of the winners in life. Here's how a clear, clutter-free mind empowers you to become more productive and lead a more meaningful life.

No Fear=Courage to Take Risks

Fear is a debilitating emotion. Unfortunately, most of us harbor a lot of fears. We are afraid of failing, so we stick to time-tested and proven ways of thinking and doing things. We dwell upon our mistakes of the past and fear what will become of us in future, so we try to stay "safe."

Now look at some of the successful people you know. That man who is running his successful bakery business quit a corporate job that paid him a six-figure salary. He now not only earns more but is also living his dream. The best-selling author left college midway to pen her first novel. She went ahead and decided to put into words the idea in her head not knowing whether or not her readers will even like her story.

Fear and self-doubt also plague the winners' minds. But they shrug off these emotions as idle chatter of the monkey mind and get going with what they had set out to do. This distinguishes them from the duds who let their negative feelings prevent them from taking risks, embracing the new, and exploring off the beaten tracks.

No Self-Doubt=Freedom to Follow Your Dreams

What's keeping you from quitting your job and traveling round the world? Are you afraid of not having a steady income, or do you feel compelled to remain in a job you hate because you have to build a tidy nest egg?  A negative mind gives power to others to make it happy or sad. It fishes for compliments and is put off by criticism. It believes acceptance comes from conformity, so it fears swimming against the tide. Its thinking is clouded by self-doubt and feelings of insecurity, so it is afraid to express itself. A cluttered mind is unable to entertain hope.

Winners do not let inhibitions and societal conventions dictate their choices. They do not live to impress others. Nor is their self-esteem tied to rewards and recognition. They go where their hearts lead them. They are happy living their dreams out. Although they don't care about earning millions or making headlines, their enthusiasm and authenticity eventually attract fame and riches.

No Hatred or Preferences=Greater Empathy and More Productive Collaborations

An uncluttered mind is non-judgmental. A non-judgmental person does not describe people or experiences as "pleasant" or "unpleasant." A clear mind is unbiased. An unbiased person can put themselves into the shoes of another person and see their side of the story.

A clear mind also does not harbor hatred or preferences. A person may have been wronged, but he can choose to forgive, forget, and move on while keeping his faith in the essential goodness of humanity. He accepts people as they are, an attitude that comforts others and assures them to be their authentic selves.

No man is an island. You need people to help you get your brilliant ideas off the ground. From suppliers who will provide you with the materials you need to marketers who will spread the word about your offerings, you need to collaborate in every sphere of your life. A clear mind is empathetic. Empathy attracts people and fosters positive and productive collaborations – which will only lead to more success in life.

A clear mind is positive, optimistic, empathetic, wise, and compassionate. Freeing your mind of negative emotions lets you discover the joys of life, be more upbeat, and tap into the limitless reserves of your mind to bring more energy and enthusiasm in everything you do.

There are many ways to clear your mind, whether it be yoga, meditation, swimming or simply cozying up on the couch and reading a book. Whatever works for you, the important thing is that you take action. Be the person you are meant to be. Have a clear purpose, a clear path and a clear mind.

Contributed by Yasmin Ali on behalf of Spirit Charger – a new online resource full of valuable information for the mind, body and soul. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter and don't forget to join their mailing list to receive monthly doses of inspiration in your inbox.


How to Attract Beginner Yogis to Your Yoga Studio

When I started my first yoga studio in New York City, my goal was to create the perfect yoga sanctuary- a place that I was never able to find for myself. It didn't take me long to realize the idea was flawed. The easy part was getting past the attachment to perfection: a little mouse removed that issue the day he scurried across the floor during a kid's meditation class (thank God everyone's eyes were closed)! The hard part was realizing that I was not the typical yoga student- particularly for a new studio.

Who is the Typical Student at a New Yoga Studio?

Unless you're able to attract a core following from other places (which can lead to a number of ethical and legal problems if studio owners perceive you to be "poaching customers"- more on that in another post), your new students will most likely be beginners. This is because established yogis, no matter how enlightened, tend to attach to specific styles, studios and instructors. Thus new schools, in particular, need to make sure they are providing a comfortable, non-intimidating gateway to yoga.

Why Established Studios Need to Focus on Beginners

Even if your school is established, you always need new customers to maintain a solid financial base. Yogis relocate, have children, or simply lose their practice for external reasons. A constant stream of new students will keep your studio financially healthy, and continue to infuse your community with new energy and ideas. New students also benefit you as an instructor. I have become a good teacher not by teaching advanced students, but by teaching beginners and children. Think of it this way: the less someone knows walking in the door, the more they need you to fill them with knowledge and experience.

The Top 5 Things to Remember About New Students

1. The perceptions surrounding yoga are very different now than they were when you started practicing yoga.

Most people who start their own yoga studios are aware that they need to be empathic. I certainly tried to be when I first opened my school. What I didn't realize is that yoga is a completely different animal than it was when I began practicing almost twenty years ago. Many, many people want to try yoga but are afraid they'll be "fat" or "not flexible enough." A shocking number of women are afraid to try yoga because, "they're afraid they don't have a cute Lululemon outfit." It's your job, as a studio owner, to put these people at ease. Having classes specifically for beginners, featuring photos of people doing basic poses in your marketing materials, and telling first time students that it's ok to wear sweatpants to class all help new students feel less intimidated.

Yoga in the 90sYoga Now


2. Making yoga accessible and welcoming doesn't mean you're watering it down.

When I started my first studio, I felt every class needed to begin by chanting om, all poses should be called in Sanskirt, and blocks were the enemy. I felt that it was my mission to provide real, traditional yoga. Now I realize that my goal is to make students feel safe and comfortable so they continue practicing.  As long as they keep doing physical asana, the full yoga practice will be revealed to them by their inner self in a pace and manner that they can digest. I have come to view yoga as a gateway to a deeper spiritual practice. Our job is to introduce students to new concepts, and support them on their journey. If you give them too much too soon, they tend to overload and shut down.

3. Beginner yogis don't want a two hour Mysore practice.

Most people simply cannot handle a class longer than an hour. Especially in today's world, with electronics shortening the average attention span to a few seconds. I have found that the ideal class for beginners is forty five minutes, with a 2-3 minute savasana. An alternative, if you simply can't bring yourself to shorten the practice that much, is to provide a forty five minute physical practice with the option for people to quietly leave while others prepare for a 10 minute savasana. Additionally, they need direction. Do not assume that everyone knows what savasana is, or feels comfortable doing things you consider obvious, such as closing their eyes or asking for a blanket if they get cold.

4. Let new students influence your teaching style. 

Listen to your beginners, and respond. The best teaching advice I ever received was from a beginner, after class. I had spent an entire hour being very attentive, adjusting almost every move. Afterwards, she was speaking to me and started crying for no obvious reason. I asked what was wrong and she said, very simply, "Those poses made me feel so vulnerable and even though I know you were trying to help, I felt like you were criticizing me for doing it wrong." Lightening bolt! It's taken me years to realize that the way I was taught isn't the only way, or even the best way. Every teacher has to find their own path, and it will be shaped and molded by their students. I believe you should be just as open and receptive when you teach yoga as when you practice- maybe even more. If you're doing it right, your style will shift and change through the years like a beautiful vinyasa.

5. Doing yoga opens people up, which makes them more vulnerable.

This is certainly true in the classroom, but also extends to business items. I make it a policy to discuss all business matters before the practice. Simple things like telling someone their credit card has expired can trigger strong emotional reactions when they've just opened their first chakra. I also find it helpful to make sure instructors know how to handle it when customers have a strong emotional release in class. A couple months ago I was sitting in the waiting area of a well known studio in NYC, cooling off after class. Most of the students had left, and I heard the instructors all making fun of a student that had started crying hysterically during an earlier class. One of the instructors even suggested to their friend that they, "checkout the footage from the security camera for a good laugh." I only hope they were more supportive of this person during the actual experience.



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The Two Most Important Tips for Landing Your Dream Job

OK, so I work part-time for a yoga mat company, have interned with other yoga businesses, and am now an ambassador/writer for this awesome company. And what’s the number one question I get? “How did you fall into all of this?”  This question is followed by my response with a casual shrug of my shoulders. But when I tell people that I find jobs on Craigslist or via random Googling, only to stumble upon amazing opportunities, they usually don’t believe me. They think Craigslist is creepy and don’t take the time to delve into Google’s vast web space searching for jobs.

 Yet here I stand, an example of two very important concepts to help you achieve your dreams: Reach Out, Branch Out.

1. Reach Out

You have to be willing to reach out to random people, even strangers. No fear! No holding back! I landed this very blogger position simply by…asking. Groundbreaking, right? It seems so easy, and yet time and time again people are surprised when I tell them about how I got into this or that. They think jobs only happen when a job posting goes up. They’re afraid of rejection. But the truth is, you’ll never know what could have been unless you ask.

There is no harm done by sending an email inquiry, sending a tweet, making a phone call, etc. Just do it! If you think a company looks amazing, contact them! It shows initiative (and let me tell you, it’s worked wonders for me many times)!

2. Branch Out

You have to think outside the box.  OK, so we went over the simple task of asking, but how do you even find the jobs to inquire about? This tip is similar to Reach Out, but it specifically involves thinking of creative ways to actually find the job. 

Another personal example; I got my job with the yoga mat company by responding to a Chicago Craigslist ad…and I live in Pittsburgh, PA!* When I spoke on the phone with the owner, he asked me where I was from, and when I told him he was so confused. He asked me how I stumbled upon this listing.  Well I found it because I was purposely looking at all different cities because I was searching for a virtual social media job; hence, if it was virtual, why did it matter what city I searched in? He laughed at this and simply said, “How smart!” I got the job out of about 100 applicants.


Jobs are tough to come by, and finding a dream job is even harder, so you have to get creative and look everywhere! Look on Craigslist, social media, check company blogs, hit up LinkedIn, do cold calls, send emails, talk to people in the biz, etc.**

In the end, you have to be willing to accept rejection, no callbacks, and emails left unanswered. But I promise you, it you’re willing to ask the questions from all different angles then you are going to see a door standing wide open. Just don’t be afraid to walk in…


*I did the same thing for my Yoga Recipe internship, which was based in Austin, TX.

**The last three listed are firmly rooted in tip one, Reach Out and ask.


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Tim Cook Coming Out: A Fortune 500 CEO's Courageous Step

Tim Cook To Become the First Openly Gay Fortune 500 CEO

“So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me” – Tim Cook, October 30th

The Chief executive of the most valuable and scrutinized company in the world just came out as openly gay. At the age of 53, Tim Cook has taken a huge step forward for LGBT rights everywhere. As the CEO of Apple, he has become the first openly gay Fortune 500 CEO. In a short and to the point article in Bloomberg Businessweek published on October 30th, Tim Cook laid down his own brick in “the sunlit path toward justice”.

With 29 states still having the right to legally fire someone who is openly gay, Cook’s announcement could not be more important. Although Apple is know for its advocacy for human rights, equality, and celebration of differences as assets, millions of other companies are not, with over 53% of LGBT employees having no choice but to hide their sexual identity at work. A 2011 Harvard study found that in some states, there was significant discrimination against openly gay applicants, with gay job applicants approximately 40% less likely to be offered a job interview than their heterosexual counterparts.

These facts are at the core of  Tim Cook’s motivation to come out. In the Bloomberg Businessweek article he states: “So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy”.

He continues on to say “Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life”


Cook’s courage must be celebrated and supported, not only by praise and gratitude, but also by action. As practitioners of yoga, we must take the opportunity to observe our own ways in which our community and our practice affect minorities or those struggling with their own identity. Yoga aims to be inclusive, loving, and accepting of differences and we must live up to these ideals. For example, utilizing gendered language in your yoga class is automatically exclusive and marginalizing. Instead of saying “hey guys” or “good job ladies” or “this is a great stretching exercise to do with your boyfriend!” utilize gender neutral language such as “hey yogis!” or “great job everyone” and “this is a great stretching exercise to do with your partner!” Think about how your language effects others, and let us strive to become that inclusive yoga community that truly is aligned with what yoga stands for: union.


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4 Nourishing Things To Do While Unemployed  

How to love yourself during an uncertain time.


Being unemployed is hard. It is scary and nerve wracking, challenging and at times depressing. It is easy to get discouraged. You may want to throw everything up in the air and give up. Sending resume and cover letters day after day can become mind numbing and frustrating. Getting an interview gives a much-needed burst of energy, and then the fear creeps in and the preparation phase begins. And then maybe you interview one, two, or three times and are told that you were really great for the position but that they just went with someone else. And so back to the drawing board we go. Does this sound like you?

Being unemployed is tough. Trust me, I get it. I’ve wanted to scream and then just cry. Why won’t someone pay me for my skills?!? However frustrating it has been at times, in my 6 months of post-college unemployment I have learned a great deal about the world and myself, and am stronger because of it.

It might be easy to see this time as wasted, as a period of life without direction. Reflect upon these 4 tips to nourish your soul while you job hunt. You will see that it isn’t all bad, and you might end up appreciating this special period of life.


1) Change the way you look at unemployment.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer

You can lay in bed all night thinking how much it sucks that you don’t have a job, going over your expenses over and over in your head, and driving yourself right into a state of complete exhaustion or depression solely through your negative mental chatter. You can do that OR you can CHOOSE to see things differently. Being unemployed means you have a lot of time on your hands, time that you probably won’t have again for a very long time once you find a job (and you will!). TIME is a GIFT. Recognize it as such. When will you have time like this again? Being employed is great, but realize NOW that once you are employed you might just miss all this time you had for YOURSELF!

So change your perception of how you view your unemployment and unemployment might not seem so bad. You might actually enjoy the journey!


2) Do things you have been putting off!

“Let us cultivate our garden” - Voltaire

Dive into your yoga practice, read those books you’ve always wanted to read, call your family every week (or everyday if that sounds nice) for a long conversation, or write that novel you’ve been thinking about for years. Learn something new. Enroll in that French class or learn how to cook. Go on an adventure every week or plant a garden. Write letters to old friends or volunteer to a cause you believe in. Explore all the coffee shops in your city or treat yourself to a date night. Dance around your home between job applications and learn how to feng shui. Discover who YOU are. Do one of these soul-enriching activities a day and I GUARANTEE you will not see unemployment as a waste of time. Further, you are taking the time to work on yourself and to love yourself, job or no job, and those skills and abilities will remain forever with you. Unemployment does not define you. Rather, you can choose to utilize it to SERVE YOU!


3) Believe that you can.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” – Henry Ford

It is easy to become frustrated when receiving rejection after rejection (or maybe not hearing anything at all after submitting applications!) and to get down on yourself. Self-esteem is a tricky fellow, and you might find yourself on the low end. Don’t let this get to you. Remember that the people who read your application probably don’t really know you. A rejection isn’t a commentary of who you are as a person. Remember that YOU HAVE A LOT TO OFFER TO THIS WORLD and continue trying. Surround yourself with people that love you and encourage you. Believe the best things they say about you and then tell it to yourself.


4) Challenge that inner chatter: utilize mantras.

“Every thought we think is creating our future” – Louise Hay

Become aware of your inner dialogue. What does it say to you? The average person will think between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. What if each and every one of those thoughts was nourishing, self-affirming, kind and loving? What would your life look like? Instead of thinking “I hate this! I’m wasting my time!” try to repeat “I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing." Or instead of thinking “I’m not good enough” you state over and over again “I am willing to release the need to be unworthy. I am worthy of the very best in life, and I now lovingly allow myself to accept it”. Think of the life you can create for yourself. Feel it. Live as though you have already become what you strive to be. You can be your worst enemy or your best ally. Choose your thoughts wisely, as they become your reality.


Best of luck with the job hunt. And most of all, remember to love yourself throughout this journey.