Photo credit: Andrew Jorgensen Photography
You’re on the same stage as last nights incredible DJ performance, only now you are front and center… teaching yoga to a hundred sweaty bodies on that very same dance floor.
Dream fulfilled! Teaching yoga at a festival. 🙂
Many people who attend music and yoga festivals regularly, eventually decide they want to contribute back to the community. Whether it’s through volunteering, vending, teaching, or performing, there are a lot of options. Lucky for you, teaching yoga is one of them!
Not to mention, teaching at a festival gives you the opportunity to connect with tons of like minded people who just might be your future clients!
Having spent 6 summers teaching at festivals ranging from All Good Festival to Burning Man, I can tell you from firsthand experience that teaching yoga at festivals is extremely fun and rewarding, but also hard work! A great deal of effort is involved before the festival occurs, most importantly preparing an amazing application to secure a spot!
In this guide you’ll discover:
- If you’re ready to teach at festivals
- How to get a job teaching yoga at a festival
- What to expect while teaching yoga at a festival
Why teach or attend festivals?
Many of us in Western societies feel disconnected to ourselves, our friends, and the planet due to stress, pollution, overworking, eating poorly, etc. whether we realize it or not. Festivals give a glimpse into a different way of living that may alleviate some of that disconnection.
While on the outside a festival may look like just a party, the truth is they can provide a catalyst for change through celebration, community, and participation.
Attendees are exposed to a cohesive environment of like-minded people coming together for the same purpose: to better themselves, their community, and the world around them. When one realizes the impact this makes on a micro level, they start implementing small shifts in their day to day life.
Festivals can be life-changing experiences for many people. While on the outside a festival may look like just a party, the truth is they can provide a catalyst for change through celebration, community, and participation.
Teaching yoga is an impactful way to give back, participate and encourage these positive changes within the festival attendees and staff alike. Most music festivals now offer an expansive and diverse yoga lineup (such as Envision Festival, which offers an incredibly diverse yoga/movement schedule all day long). This means there is plenty of opportunity to teach yoga at festivals!
So why would you want to teach at a festival?
Benefits of teaching yoga at a festival
- You can grow your audience, clientele, and network
- You can grow your business and presence as a yoga teacher
- You have the opportunity to teach in a unique setting outside of a studio, gym, or other regular yoga location. It’s a great way to get outside of your comfort zone!
- You may get to travel to another city, state, or country to teach yoga!
- You may get paid or some other form of compensation for teaching yoga at event you already wanted to attend
- The ability to co-create, make a positive contribution with a community you love in a leadership role
- You get to share yoga with a much larger number of people than usual
- You are likely exposing some people to yoga for the first time
- You will help create community as a facilitator and encourage everyone to act from a place of mindfulness and consciousness as they go through the weekend
If you are committed to teaching yoga at a festival, there are a few things you need to do to ensure you are ready. But first, be sure to have your class or workshop idea ready to go.
Check out How to Create a Successful Yoga Workshop for tips.
Am I ready to teach at a festival?
If you think you are, ask yourself the following questions…
“Am I willing to take on more responsibility?”
You have to be willing to take on more responsibility and be a role model to others. This doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun, it just means you have to organize when you can have fun. Time management is an essential skill when it comes to leading a yoga workshop at a festival.
“Do I want to help build my community?”
Teaching yoga at a festival is a way to continue to build and connect to your own community. We all have those friends who say they’re going to come to your class, but because it’s on the other side of town at rush hour, they never make it. Now’s your chance! At festivals that you may both be attending, they will have no excuse! 🙂 Unless of course they stayed up all night the night before… we’ll touch on that aspect later
“Am I ready to step outside my comfort zone?”
Teaching at festivals is also a great way to push yourself and get outside your comfort zone. You will likely be teaching a much larger group of people than usual (could be anywhere from 25 to over 100 people or more!). You will also probably be on a microphone or headset, which is not common at small, intimate studios. And you will probably be on stage! Many times it could be a stage a musician graced their presence with at some point during the festival, which is always a magical feeling.
“How will my teaching style need to change or adapt to this environment?”
You will probably be leading the class through demonstrating the postures more than instructing a class through stepping off your mat to walk around and give adjustments. This can be viewed as a downside, although some festivals will have adjusters down on the ground for this purpose. However, it is important to make your festival yoga class accessible to ALL LEVELS!
The Festival Application Process in 8 Steps
The application process is a crucial part of securing a yoga teaching job at a festival. The most important thing to keep in mind is… Why are YOU the right person to teach yoga at their festival?! With so many other applications being submitted, it’s important to stand out.
Most festivals are looking for the following:
- You fit their brand/vibe/style – be sure to tweak your applications to fit their brand
- You’ll help market the event – do you have a website? Email list? Social followers?
- Do you have adequate experience – how long have you been teaching? Is this your first festival?
Alright let’s get into the application process…
1) Get your workshop ideas together
As mentioned before, getting your class or workshop idea together is the first step. You may already have them compiled. It is recommended to update them yearly especially if you are teaching at the same event every year (or multiple festivals in one summer), so that you have different offerings. Don’t be afraid to get creative, especially at festivals!
I have offered one-time workshops at festivals that I have never offered anywhere else. You can experiment with combining different elements of yoga/movement practices or anything your heart desires, really! There may even be an overall theme of the festival you could tap into as well.
If you’re still not sure about your niche, check out these 100 Niche Ideas for Yoga Teachers…
2) Title your workshop creatively
Make sure that your workshops have creative titles and clearly explain what they’re going to be about. A standard class name like ‘vinyasa’ is not going to catch anyone’s eye while they’re reading your application.
Here are some examples of my own workshop names + short descriptions I ran at Sacred Spaces Village at Burning Man:
Chakra Hoop Yoga
A chakra meditation combined with the flow of hoop dance and the grace of yoga. A playful practice to open the body’s energy physically.
Embrace your dreams through movement and breath. Set your intention and create a personal yoga sequence that expresses your deepest desires.
Core Heart Fusion Vinyasa
Find a slice of Samadhi in this flowing yoga class fusing imagery with core-powered consciousness that will melt your heart into a blissful state.
3) Research festivals that interest you
Be reasonable in your search. How feasible will it be for you to attend if accepted? Be sure to look at the distance and travel expenses to get there. Know that it is often more difficult to get accepted at events that are much further away.
Start within your community first and grow from there. You may already have a festival you attend every year that you can try to get involved with.
4) Know the requirements
What are your requirements to teach at a festival? Will you teach in exchange for a ticket and meals? Or do you require payment? Will your transportation reimbursed? Do you need the festival to provide any of your supplies? How much time do you need for your workshop? Create a budget for yourself to present to the festival and be prepared to defend what you ask for (i.e. my transportation will cost x amount, so ask for that amount).
Also, keep in mind the requirements of the festival. They may require specific workshop times or lengths (i.e. morning or afternoon, 1-2 hours). Be sure to get as much information from them as possible as to what they also expect from you. Do they expect you to arrive early for setup? Do you have to stay to help break down for the next presenter? These are the types of questions to ask.
5) Have your promotional package ready
Have a well packaged media portfolio that consists of a website, photos, social media, resume, and testimonials. You need to convince them that you have something special to offer. This is also a good place to create a bio and get some workshop/class descriptions together that define who you are and your style of teaching.
Most festivals will have a form for you to fill out online, unless you are asked to email your proposal directly to the coordinator. There will be fields for you to enter and attach all of the above information. Usually there is a limit on photos, so be sure to choose your best ones that truly represent your work.
If you are emailing your portfolio, you can package it together in a ZIP file or combine everything into a PDF document.
This is another reason why having a website helps your yoga career. Download the Beginners guide to Creating a Yoga Website you Love to get started.
6) Submit an amazing application!
Now we get to the most important step – actually applying! It doesn’t feel real until you hit that send button, right?
First, you want to make sure that you stay on top of when applications come out and deadlines for when they stop accepting them. Teaching workshops at festivals, especially larger ones, is very popular and often competitive. Be ahead of the game and check the festival’s website regularly to ensure you’re up to speed.
Most applications will ask for the following information:
- Your name
- Your contact information (email, phone number, website)
- Name of workshop
- Description of workshop
- Your bio
- Your website + social media accounts
- A photo
- Special requirements (this is where you will list your supplies or needs such as a sound system and inquire about compensation)
Be clear and concise with everything you write, making sure no one section is too long or too short (sometimes there are word limits, so edit what you have to make it fit). Make sure you have everything filled out correctly, spell-checked and grammar-proofed, and then hit the magic button!
Remember: Most festivals are looking for the following: You fit their vibe, you’ll help market the event (website+socials), and that you have experience to back it up.
7) Play the waiting game
Festivals usually take at least a month after the deadline to respond to their applications for workshops. Some may not respond at all to your application.
Be patient, but don’t take it personally if they don’t contact you or accept you. If you have a way to contact the workshop coordinator, you can always send them a reminder email to check on the status of your application. This is where networking can be really helpful…
It helps to start small and local – within your community. When people know you, they are more likely to hire you (unless you can, of course, impress them with your amazing workshop idea + overall package).
So don’t be discouraged if at first you are not accepted to every festival your apply at. However, once you begin to get comfortable teaching at your local festivals, you can then branch out to try to teach at larger festivals.
Like everything in life, there are upsides and downsides to teaching yoga at festivals…
Downsides of Teaching at Festivals
Although it may sound like a dream come dream, teaching yoga at festivals is not all sunshine and rainbows…
- You may have to teach at an inopportune time – such as a 9AM yoga class after a Random Rab sunrise set
- People’s energy will likely be different than at your regular studio. While a lot of it is high-vibing, there is also usually some intoxication involved, which means people could either be hungover, still buzzing, tired, or even acting out of character. Be prepared for anything and be prepared to read the energy of your class if you need to make changes. And don’t forget your sense of humor if things get a little wild 😉
- Things go wrong. The mic may not work, the sound guy may forget to show up and you won’t have music. Just be prepared that things may not go as planned and try to be adaptable to make it the best experience you can 🙂
In the end…
It’s up to you what and where you want to teach when it comes to festivals! The opportunity to teach at your favorite event is a dream come true for many yoga teachers. While there is a lot of planning that goes into and you may end up dealing with some wacky situations, it’s a great way to build your yoga business while also learning to roll with the punches!
Remember, you can start small with local events and eventually make your way to national or even international events! Good luck 🙂