Using their combined 75+ years of teaching, traveling and festival experience, we’ve compiled their favorite tips and tricks into a complete guide that will help you to show up fully aligned and ready to be present for each body, mind and soul who joins you on the mat - ready to open their hearts, expand their breath, and tune into their bodies.
1. Physically be at the Yoga Festival
GO. Experience the event. Nothing speaks better for you than your physical presence at the yoga festival. While you’re there, connect with the organizers and let them know you’re going to apply to teach for next event. When you apply:
Start with your intention. Get clear on why you want to teach at this specific festival and what that special blend of experience only you can bring to the table is. What do you have that no one else does, and why does the festival need this? What relevant experience do you have teaching big groups or at similar events? What do these two combined mean for your presentation?
Most yoga festivals are not looking for a standard yoga class but for a special experience for their attendees. What about you and your teaching is unique? Focus your application around this.
Connect with the history of the yoga festival. How many years it has been running? What are the different components that it’s made of? Take a deeper look into any teachers who repeatedly return to the festival….feel into their style, their message, and what they bring to the mat. Also, get familiar with the culture and trends of the location it’s being held in. This will help you tap into the vibe of the local culture, the primary audience, and provide you with inspiration to prep for your teaching once you get the job.
Take a look at your connections. How are you already a part of the festival community? Most of the line-up is selected through trust in the recommendations of their attendees, friends and other presenters. Do you know someone who can recommend you? Reach out and ask them to! This will make you stand out from the crowd. And yes, it is crowd. Big yoga festivals get hundreds of applications.
Apply ASAP. For an annual event, aim to apply a year in advance.
2. Invite Your Tribe
The Weinstein’s have found it particularly helpful if you, “promote the festival and yourself everyday on your website and Facebook. Talk about it at classes and have a sign-up sheet at your school.” In doing this, not only will you help to create a larger festival, you’ll cultivate a very well-received class.
3. Airplane/Travel Prep
Will you be traveling to teach? As fun as a change of scenery can be, it can also leave you feeling off balance and drained. In order be at your best during the festival, start preparing days ahead of flight or drive time.
Nadine McNeil swears by Vitamin C and Zinc daily for a week prior to travel, and the Weinstein’s use a tea tree nose spray en route to protect against airplane/public space bugs. Nadine also recommends you put together your own organic first aid kit and suggests items like: essential oils (lavender, peppermint, and tea tree), arnica cream, Tiger Balm, colloidal silver, and herbal teas for digestion. Having basic OTC medication like Tylenol is also smart to have on-hand. Nadine also sleeps with an eye mask when traveling, both on and off planes. And don’t forget your WATER.
Bring your own empty bottle(s) and fill them up. Drink as much water as you can and make it a point to bring fresh fruit & snacks that keep you hydrated, nourished, and energized for the journey.
4. Land and Acclimate
Jet lag anyone? If anyone knows about this, it’s Nadine. She worked with the UN for 22 years and suggests that, ”if you wear a watch, set it to the current local time as soon as you land -- it will help to balance you.” Get grounded by finding where you’ll be staying/sleeping and unpack your things. Then, surrender into your new environment. Get out and see what’s happening!
Visit the area where you’ll be teaching so you can really get a feel for how you’ll set up. Think about how the room can help support people in relaxing, engaging, feeling comfortable and ready to enjoy their time there. Nadine has found it helpful to give yourself, “at least 48 hours to 'land' in your new territory.” During this period she encourages you to allocate plenty of time to, “connect with some of the main, known teachers within the community.” You can do this by, ”attending a class or meeting teachers for a bit of socializing. Talk to people and engage the surroundings.
Take ample time to be a part of the festival and share in the energy of the community that has shown up, but keep your boundaries. As tempting as it is to stay out and chat and dance, if you’re presenting it is imperative that you take ample time to rest.
5. Ready, Set, Teach!
On the day of your class, do what it takes to stay in your own center. Get up early so you can take things slowly and try not to schedule anything other than your presentation. Make your personal practice a priority. Eat foods that ground you. Stay hydrated. Double check your music playlist and take a look through your notes and sequencing.
Arrive at your venue early to scope things out. Take note - your venue may not be next to a toilet so make sure you go beforehand. Use the time right before your presentation to become present to the experience of where you are and the message you are here to share.
“To teach at BaliSpirit Festival can be one of the most life transforming experiences ever. It is way more than 'just' a festival. It is a movement, a paradigm shift. It invites ALL - teachers and attendees - to delve into the crevices of their lives and ask, am I living my best life ever? If the answer is yes, this festival magnifies it. If the answer is no, this festival inspires and ignites. Either way, its a 'win-win.'” - Nadine McNeil
Bonus: Taking the connections you make beyond the festival:
Teaching at a yoga festival is not only an awesome experience, it can take your business to the next level if you plan appropriately. When you check out the space beforehand, make sure there is somewhere prominent for you to set up a little info center.
“Have business cards with your email, website and other information, and a good looking notebook for students to write their emails. You want to make it incredibly easy to share with your students how they can come to your school, teacher trainings and retreats.” - Sam & Sydel Weinstein
Be real with yourself. You may be a yogi, but you’re not superhuman. Have someone with you who can stand at your info table and help out with the business side of things before and after. You will have touched a ton of hearts and given your all for an amazing class….and your students are going to want to talk with and thank you. Mentally prep yourself for this ahead of time. Do what you need “to BE PRESENT”, says Nadine. Attendees are often craving the attention of presenters. Be willing and prepared to expose yourself. Later, you can retreat to take care of you.”
Remember the reasons you decided to take this journey to teach at a yoga festival in the first place, and allow yourself to have fun, be playful, and fill your cup with new experiences and relationships that are meaningful and inspiring.
Discover more about BaliSpirit Festival here