Teaching Yoga in Australia: A Starter’s Guide
An American’s tips on planning your trip, finding the right studio, connecting with the local yoga community, and landing a teaching job.
Yoga has spread across the world making it more accessible and ubiquitous than ever while creating opportunities for teachers to find work at studios, schools, and retreat centers around the world.
Wanting to travel, experience new cultures, and see the world from a new perspective led me to Australia where I lived for a year and taught yoga. It helped me grow as both a yoga teacher and practitioner while connecting with amazing people.
I decided to write this guide as a starting point for yoga teachers who would like to do the same. I’ll cover moving to or visiting Australia, finding a yoga studio that fits you, connecting with the local yoga community, and landing a teaching job. I was in Brisbane, the nation’s third most populous city, but I believe my tips will be just as applicable to other cities.
Step #1: Research
While Australia was appealing for many reasons, its being an English-speaking country with many similarities to the US and a straightforward visa process made it an easy choice for me compared to many other potential destinations.
Once I had decided on the country, the next step was to learn about the country and figure out a plan. Below is the general process I recommend.
- Macro Level: Government and tourism board websites will give you an excellent overview of the country and help you decide where you’d like to live. Obviously, the larger cities will have more yoga studios, and therefore teaching opportunities, but don’t rule out beach towns that would work well for retreats.
- Moving Process: Find blogs and articles about the place, expats moving there, and any information on the moving process. It was beneficial for me to read personal accounts of Americans moving to Australia. Even if there were differences in our reasons for wanting to move, or we wanted to move to a different city in Australia, it was helpful to know that so many people had done it before and that I could do too.
- Yoga Community: Research yoga and the yoga community in your destination. You may find the personal blogs of local teachers or articles from Yoga Journal Australia or similar publications. Reading reports from traveling teachers and their experiences in finding will also be helpful.
Step #2: Planning
Once you have chosen your place, it’s time to dive into the details. You will need to find a visa that allows you to be there, especially if you want to work legally. There are different types of visa available. Most information can be found online or with a call to your local embassy.
Americans between the ages of eighteen and thirty are eligible to apply for a one year Work and Travel Visa. The application can be done online and is pretty straightforward. There’s a fee of a few hundred dollars due if you are approved. Depending on your nationality, the process may take a couple of weeks, so make sure to apply in advance.
Once approved, you have a year to get to the country and activate your visa. The one year term will begin on the day you arrive.
Step #3: Finding the Local Yoga Community
So you’ve landed in Australia…. Now to find your yoga community, a studio that feels like home, and some opportunities to teach.
Start by trying out classes at different studios while giving yourself time to get over your jetlag. As you do this, you’ll naturally begin to feel out the yoga community in the city or town. Depending on the size of your area you may have two different studios near you or twenty. Don’t feel you have to try out every single one. Trust your instincts if you immediately find one that speaks to your soul.
Walk into each one and practice with fresh eyes. Let yourself experience yoga from a new perspective. Especially if you are the type of student or teacher who practices a particular style it may be a challenge for you to change studios, find new teachers you resonate with, and a place that feels good to practice. Give yourself some ease as you transition.
Know that the yoga practice, your breath, your body, and the connection to both are there as a constant. Allow yourself to find the grounding aspects of the practice and the commonalities while also being curious about the differences, the accents, and the perspectives.
Step #4: Connecting with the Local Yoga Community
As you try out new studios and teachers, you may also begin to research the local yoga community. This will help you eventually find a job teaching and opportunities, as well as help you find new friends while you are settling into a new place.
Most yoga local studios and teachers have social media, such as Instagram and Facebook, where they will post upcoming workshops, gatherings, and even potential job opportunities. Following the relevant local accounts is an easy first step to getting in contact with the community and getting in the loop about what is coming up in your new area.
Additionally, local parks, health food stores, and sporting goods stores usually have community bulletin boards where people post upcoming events and gatherings.
Facebook groups will allow you to connect with local teachers, see any opportunities for teaching or covers in your area, and even let you post about wanting to find a teaching job for a while you’re living there. I joined a group for yoga teachers in Brisbane. Most cities have similar groups.
Facebook groups are often closed and require you to apply to join. I suggest messaging the group administrator to introduce yourself. Explain that you just moved to town, your current certifications, how long you have been teaching, and your reasons for wanting to join the group.
Step #5: Finding Teaching Opportunities
I found my job teaching yoga in Brisbane by first being a dedicated student and making friends at the studio I had settled on. I made an effort to get to know the teachers, the other students, and the owners. Later, when they saw my post in the Facebook group, they approached me to set up a demo which eventually led to me being offered a teaching spot.
Of course, there are other ways to find a teaching job. You may even be able to secure one before leaving home. There are websites devoted to traveling yoga jobs, as well as sites like Monster, Indeed, and Craiglist where employers will post listings, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, look, and apply.
You may also just ask around, see if anyone is currently looking for a new yoga teacher, either as a more permanent position or just to be on the covers list, and search the Facebook group for opportunities.
If you don’t want to teach in a studio or don’t find a studio environment that suits you, you can make your own opportunities. You may set up your own business doing privates or lessons at people’s homes or public places such as parks or beaches. If you are called to travel and teach you will find a way to spread yoga and allow it to stay constant in your life.
Ready to Take the Leap?
Moving countries for a year and taking my personal practice and teaching to a new country opened many doors and allowed me to grow in ways that I would have never imagined. I would recommend the experience to anyone who is interested, and you don’t just have to move to Australia.
Yoga is expanding to all corners of the globe and the opportunities to find yoga community and teaching are endless. It is indeed incredible that even as we travel across the world, we are able to find a constant love, appreciation, and passion for the practice and ideas of yoga.