Updated: Mar 21
Until recently I didn't really have a choice - I was a homeless yoga teacher, teaching in different resorts as a guest or "in-house" yoga teacher, in free diving centers, on the beach, and doing privates in my practitioner's homes. This situation changed recently, as I opened my new Panglao Yoga Studio, and after years of teaching, I finally have my base.
A question that crossed my long before I opened my shala's doors (conceptual doors as it's an open-air studio) - should I stop teaching in other places or not? It's hard to know whether teaching in other places contributes to my effort or not. There isn't a clear cut of when it is good and when it's better to decline but I certainly believe that in some cases it's definitely worth it. Just to make it easier for myself I broke down what I'm trying to do really, to four major points:
Build my brand name - Jing Yoga
Teach in scenic locations
Establish Panglao as a Yoga destination
Make Yoga accessible to more people
Here are a few locations I still teach in and plan on keeping to do so:
Yoga in Bohol Divers Club - Alona Beach
My yoga relationship with Bohol Divers Club is perhaps the longest one I have. Bohol Divers is the first location I started to teach yoga in when I decided to become a yoga teacher. In a sense, this was my first yoga home even if there were no doors, walls, or a ceiling.
Equally importantly, Sara (BDC's manager), the rest of the staff, and I developed deep friendships that practically made me keep my sanity during covid. I also received my open water certification for them, and highly advise anyone who wants to take a scuba diving course in Panglao to do it with them.
So here are the things I love teaching in Bohol Divers Club: my brand name is highly associated with BDC, the location is scenic and we're able to take beautiful pictures of our yoga practice, more people get exposed to yoga in Panglao and have easier access to my teachings if they are staying on Alona Beach.
Yoga in Loboc River Resort - Loboc, Bohol
Yoga in Loboc is not a new thing, and several resorts offer yoga by the river or even SUP yoga. I've been lucky enough to get familiar with the owner of Loboc River resort from my yoga teaching and to be invited on numerous occasions to teach in their shala. In the past, I taught there only by demand. Meaning, when they had a guest or a group who were interested in a private yoga class I'd get a call from them and schedule it.
I'm now happy to announce that I'm going to start teaching at Loboc River Resort on a weekly basis. Here's why I feel it's a great opportunity for me: The place is stunning and I do get very positive engagement on my IG for the photos I post there. I get to meet and teach the guests who stay there and allow them to practice even in a remote location. I also get to tell them about my Panglao Shala, and many times I get to see them again when they change locations and move to Panglao.
Yoga at North Zen Resort - Danao, Panglao
I've been teaching at North Zen Resort for a while now. I started teaching there a few months ago when they approached me and asked if I'd like to teach there weekly. At that time I was sure that I'm going to open my shala soon, and battled with whether I should take it or not. However, for that time it made sense as I wanted to teach as much as I could.
When I opened my yoga studio I had to reexamine this question. I decided to keep it and teach there once a week instead of teaching in my shala for several reasons: I already managed to get a following who meet me there weekly. They like it there and even if they don't oppose moving to my studio they like the setup of North Zen. Moreover, the place is stunning - I can't think of many places to practice yoga more unique than their bamboo gazebo, placed calmly in the dense mangrove forest. I still feel like a guest there, but I think that it still serves a good purpose for me and the yogis who practice with me there.
Final Thoughts About Teaching Yoga in Bohol Locations that aren't my Shala
I think that it's always hard to decide to teach away from your own yoga studio. I feel that in many cases it's more of an emotional decision rather than a logical one and a yoga teacher should teach in different locations if it serves her purpose.
My personal belief is that as a yoga teacher, my responsibility is to:
Build my brand name so I could earn money from my profession so I'll be able to teach longer and better.
Make the practices as pleasurable as possible for my students allowing them to unlock their full potential. The other side of the coin is the beautiful pictures we manage to take and share, spreading yoga even more and...
Establishing Bohol as a yoga destination. This in turn will serve both the local yoga community and the international yoga community who visit Bohol and Panglao on their vacation.
Make yoga accessible to those who stay in rather remote locations, as long as it's still convenient for me and doesn't harm other professional and personal aspects of my life.