Try this yoga playlist out for your Power Yoga or creative Vinyasa Yoga class!
Hey, Rogue Yogis! A couple of us just got back from the first ever INTERNATIONAL Rogue Yogi Re:Treat! We went to Tulum, Mexico. Which I had heard so many times from different friends about how magical it is. I had no idea, I can only see pics of the ruins, but i really didn't get a sense of how really magical it was until I got there.
I'm sharing with you guys what our experience was like being in PARADISE. For those of you who are yoga teachers, maybe you want to throw your own yoga retreat there, or for those of you that missed THIS year's retreat, you'll get a teaser of how NEXT year's Rogue Yogi Re:Treat will be (it'll be hosted at the same eco-chic resort)!
I've uploaded all the highlights of this trip into an album on our private Rogue Yogi Facebook Group. If you're not in that "Lounge", come join in! There's guided meditations, inspiration, Rogue Yogi Real Talk, etc...all of this for FREE. Just as a taste, I'll sprinkle a sample of those highlights throughout this post.
This blog post is a way to reflect back on this unbelievable trip. Coming home to a super cold and rainy San Francisco has me wanting to go back to the warm pristine ocean water already! I wanted to remember Tulum as much as possible as the "real world" kicks itself back in.
If you've never been to Tulum before, let's just say that the sand is the softest sand you've ever set your feet in. There are speckles of pink in the sand. Imagine walking out to the water, it's so pristine and clear as fuck. Crystal clear blue waters with hint of turquoise and dark blue. You can walk out really far into the water. Imagine you're the only one standing in that water. You take a 360 and look all around you, and there's NOBODY else, except for some pelicans floating and the clouds above the horizon. They're so vivid, with sharp borders of cotton candy. You can see them across the horizon.
Words whispered through the air, "This is your personal Burning Man". (I know the conditions are polar opposite, but the freedom from distractions, the spiritual energy were so conducive to this mental shift and clarity).
You just feel so calm, so relaxed, so peaceful. While it was very hot and humid, while we did have thunder and lightning storms, it was still magical because the rain would pass by so fast.
Just imagine that, because we are there at the eco-chic resort during "Low Season", just before the "High Season", there are just about 2-3 yoga groups. So, the resort is fairly empty. Plenty of lounge chairs, daybeds with wooden roofed-cabanas (made of tree branches) which let enough light shine through but provide some shade. Tons of coconut trees all around.
The staff, who are Mayan but can speak Spanish and English. They were so amenable. They cooked such fresh and healthy food. Everyday we got infused water, like hibiscus, watermelon. You could tell that they added NO sugar. No extra sweetness, just overall fresh.
They had a fun bar there. I wasn't sure whether or not I would keep this a "dry" retreat, but my group was very dope and chill that having some drinks was not an issue. The group was a hodge podge of friends from NorCal, friends from SoCal and new friends from Ohio, Santa Monica and Dublin (Ireland!!)
I was able to teach all the different kinds of yoga I love: Power Yoga, Yin Yoga, Deep House Yoga and Yoga Nidra on the rooftop of another yoga studio. Which we didn't realize until we were on the roof that we were surrounded by nothing but jungle. Just lush green. Tulum apparently doesn't allow any other buildings to be higher than this jungle level.
Our normal yoga shala was by the beach. I got to do my personal practice and see the sunrise each morning. It would happen in just a matter of 2-3 minutes when the sun would rise up through the clouds and fill its warm light into the entire studio.
Tours: We were touristy! We got to ride a bike to the Tulum Ruins, take a van to the Gran Cenotes, we got to snorkel, look down and see this entire underground cave world under the water. There were bats, a turtle sanctuary, and a section of the cenotes where these small gray fishies come up and nibble on your feet and legs! Some people weren't feelin it but I loved it!!! Just 5-6 fishies just nibbling the dead skin off of you!
We also got to ride bikes to the Mangroves, a whole slew of trees that grow from the natural water system that surround a green cenotes. We got to kayak in the cenotes, walk up the stairs to a high platform (high as f*ck, then CANNONBALL right into the cenotes). Swimming in certain parts felt warm, swimming in other parts felt cold. (Those were the natural streams of the cenotes).
We also did a sweat lodge called Temezcal. It's a rite of passage, a way to give thanks to our ancestors, as well as detoxify our bodies, and test our limits. This whole ceremony was spoken and sung in Maya. I also got an amazing massage from a Mayan Shaman. I fell asleep twice and woke myself up from my snoring. I NEVER snore, so that's really how deep I fell asleep!
We did have to deal with running out of pesos and the wild conversion rates in Mexico.
You guys gotta be there. There are a lot of yoga eco-chic resorts in Tulum for sure. It's just a very spiritual-centric town.
Due to popular demand, we are doing Stand Up Paddleboarding Yoga at next year's retreat! Our very own Leora, who's a certified SUP Yoga instructor, will teach us some great asanas!
After coming home, I could do nothing but think about how to expand this experience to others. There's something so priceless about being able to come together as community, take care of our minds, bodies and spirits, eat great nutrition, decompress and explore the world.
So, I spent countless days and nights researching various locations around the world. As of this morning, I have finalized a location for the Spring Season: Granada, Spain (Southern Spain, up in the Andalusia Mountains), and a Fall return to Tulum! My heart just fills up with happiness, knowing that 10 other people will be able to experience a great thing with us.
Ready to join me and the Mongorrian in Granada, Spain? Read all the details, register with your deposit or full payment here!!
Love, Julie (Your Local Rogue Yogi)
Some days you win, some days you don't! I have taught Beach Yoga to over 70 people, Deep House Yoga to over 100 people, and to-date I must have taught classes to thousands of students. This fact isn't to toot my own horn or anything, because I still have days when I show up to an empty yoga studio.
The current state of the yoga business industry is really different than what it was a decade ago. My mentors didn't have Instagram or Facebook. They didn't operate studios that did all of the marketing and kept most of the profits. Their studios collected rent from individual instructors who could have been extremely new to teaching, or could have been veterans who already amassed an immense student following. Every teacher was responsible for his/her own marketing, but could keep all of the profits, teach class in any desired way, and make a really great living.
Now, this type of studio is part of the 1% of yoga business models. The rest are owned by a private owner. Some are seasoned yoga teachers. Some are avid yoga students. (The rest are both. I'll leave that for another post!)
The owner hires a manager to do all of the marketing. Classes are listed in various platforms, such as ClassPass, Groupon, Meetup, Zenrez, MindBody, MoveWith and probably several others that I am not yet aware of. Then, there's the social media avenues: the Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+...
In a sea of yoga studios in San Francisco and East Bay (Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, Alameda), there is indeed a lot of hustle that has to happen. How else do you make your yoga teaching stand out in this realm?
As an entrepreneur, I didn't want to work for someone's studio. Call it stubbornness or determination. After deciding to try out this "old-school" business model of paying rent, creating my own Groupons, Meetups, and trying a few "yoga and fitness" startups, things weren't moving so fast. There weren't many students coming to class. Energy had to be spread out between working a bunch of part-time jobs, marketing for the class, and simply figuring out how the hell to survive in San Francisco. I had just moved up from Los Angeles with a plan to teach yoga for various startups in the tech scene, to grow the Rogue Yogi platform, and to just get the fuck out of my comfort zone. Living in LA all of my life led me to one of those "stubborn" moments of needing a change.
Juggling all of these things didn't result in much progress for this old-school style studio. Working for these random part-time gigs became tiring. Working hard without working smart is what happened.
Eventually, I swallowed my pride. I remember crying to my husband (my then-boyfriend) about the huge epiphany that I was not a big shot teacher. Not a rock star. Not an Instagram personality with 80K followers. How would anyone know who I am if I'm not physically showing up to places where tons of students would naturally go?
So, I bit the bullet. Applied to yoga studios. Applied to well-known studios. Applied to not-so-well-known ones. Rejected. Declined. "Not what we're looking for," one said. No responses from others. Some only hired teachers from within. Teachers that paid specifically for that studio's teacher training even though they had already paid over $3K to get certified in the first place. Some hired me but expected me to do all of the marketing. Some hired me, but weren't intending to be boutique yoga studios, so there would be a max of 3 students attending. Owners from so-and-so studio wanted no spirituality or chanting. Managers from this-and-that studio wanted the opposite. There were studios that I had to drive over 45 minutes to get to. Such an equally long drive in the middle of the night to come back home.
Every yoga business owner had their own vision for what type of experience they wanted their students to have. The majority of them wanted one thing: a kick-ass fitness class.
SIDENOTE: If you're one of those Rogue Yogis that just want to get your ass kicked in yoga, that's totally cool. As a Rogue Yogi, you take what you want from practicing, and you leave what you don't. For those of you that want a lot of chanting and singing with mala beads, that's dope, too. For me, I'm not the kind of teacher that does the chanting and singing, nor am I into the mala beads. I could go to someone else's class for that experience. I'm the kind that likes to give a sufficient amount of alignment cues, take you through a steady pace of flow, give you real talk about the shit that happens on your mat that happens to be the same shit that happens in your world, and give you the freedom to be yourself during each and every pose I'm guiding you through.
I don't want to just kick your ass is what I'm saying. It is amazing that a sweaty yoga class could help you lose weight (if that is your focus), or tone your body and strengthen your core. There's also some amazing components of yoga that deal with quieting your mind, helping you become less reactive when someone does something stupid in your experience, and keeping your entire self as healthy and balanced as possible.
So, knowing this about my style of teaching, and knowing that every existing studio has their own requirements on how to teach, hopefully you can see the dilemma that is the current state of the yoga teaching industry.
How does someone like me be able to teach for someone else's studio? How do I get paid far less for doing zero marketing but teaching a fully packed room, but also get paid the same amount for doing my own marketing and teaching to a few students at the "old-school" studio?
The main question is: how can I make great income doing something that I truly love? How do I make enough to disprove the stereotype that yoga teachers have to drive all over the place, to teach at 6am, to forego eating in order to teach classes back to back?
Is this a case of having to prove your worth? To pay your dues? To run through the yoga teaching gauntlet for X amount of time before you earn your street cred and garner your following?
-Rogue Yogi Out