Travel Yoga

Teaching yoga on Gili T

Hello lovely readers.

I’m sitting in a cute little coffee shop in Ubud, Bali, writing this post. Last week I finished my teaching job on the island of Gili Trawangan so I wanted to take some time to reflect on my experience and share it with the world.

Back when I started looking for teaching opportunities abroad, I joined a Facebook group that connects travelling yogis with teaching posts around the world. It can be a bit spammy at times, but I was super excited when I saw an opportunity in the Gili Islands crop up! Many of my friends had visited the islands and raved about the crystal clear waters and year-round sunshine.

What better place to start my travels, right?! The deal was I would teach two classes per day with one day off per week, would eat for free in their vegetarian restaurant AND get paid a small wage which would cover my accommodation. For a couple of hours work a day in paradise doing what I love I couldn’t say fairer than that!

The next thing I knew I was on a rickety little boat hurtling across the ocean towards Gili T.

The Yoga Place

The studio I was teaching at was called The Yoga Place. It’s tucked away from the busy area of the main harbour, but still close enough to the shore for an ocean view from the open-air yoga shala!

I usually taught a dynamic Ashtanga class in the shala at 7:30am and then a more chilled, restorative flow at 4:30pm at our sunset yoga spot by Exile Beach. I especially loved teaching the sunset classes because I could see how excited my students were about even just the idea of “sunset-beach-yoga-on-a-tropical-island”! They also do stand-up paddle board (SUP) yoga every morning at 8:30am but I never got to try it as I was always teaching in the mornings. From what I saw it looked like a great core workout and tanning opportunity!

The studio is a big hall with a thatched roof overlooking the restaurant’s little seating area. It has just a few PVC yoga mats and no props such as blocks or bolsters etc. Compared to other studios I’ve now visited in Ubud it seems very basic, but for a yoga studio on a tropical island I think it does the trick for most people!

You can read a bit more about the café at The Yoga Place on this post.

My experience

It was a big physical change for me going from a 9-5 desk job to teaching yoga everyday in the 30 degree heat. As I was also trying to keep up my Ashtanga practice in the early hours before teaching, my activity levels were through the roof and I don’t think I was consuming enough calories to make up for it…my clothes were hanging off me within a few weeks!

Socially I loved every minute. Every time I taught a class I met so many interesting travellers from all over the world. The people working at The Yoga Place were also really great fun, both the locals and the foreigners. One thing I did miss was having the same students returning to classes each time. Even though it’s great to meet so many people, it’s more rewarding to teach the same students each week as you watch them progress through their practice.

A big down side of the island in general for me is the party scene! [Inner 21 year old me is screaming “Nat, you loser”]. There’s a big strip of bars near the main harbour, which promptly fills up with inebriated Aussies from about 9pm onwards. It kind of kills the island vibe but if you’re staying inland from the harbour or further along the beach the noise won’t bother you at all.
Overall, it was an amazing way to spend a month, especially since it allowed me to travel almost for free! I feel that my yoga teaching skills came on leaps and bounds and it made me fall in love with teaching more and more each day. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for similar opportunities in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Lots of love, Nat x x x

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