This is interview nine of my traveling yoga teacher series. Each month, I will post a new interview of a yoga teacher I meet along my travels.
If you know someone who you think would be a great fit to this series, send me an Email!
I would LOVE to hear from you!
This month features: Michelle Desch, founder of:
What is your current favorite yoga pose or pose you’re working on?
I love half pigeon! It feels so good on the hips, especially after I go for a run. I also love headstand. I appreciate the challenge and overcoming the fear of turning my world upside down.
What are your three must have items while traveling?
Tell me about your experience volunteering in Nepal?
I was fortunate enough to spend a month doing disaster relief work in Nepal with All Hands Volunteers. After the earthquakes in Nepal it left many homes and schools destroyed. This resulted in a large increase in child trafficking. Even a year after the earthquake many people were still left without a permanent home, and some with no home at all. That’s when All Hands comes into the community where they work with the people instead of for the people. This has immense benefits locally when they leave because it means the community can continue to rebuild on their own if needed. My time there was spent rebuilding homes and building schools. The gratitude and love from the Nepalese people is something I have never witnessed before. They are the kindest, most giving people I have ever known, and collectively the volunteers working with All Hands gave them hope that they can continue to move forward with their lives.
Tell me more about your Camping and Yoga Retreat. Why should we join you?
This is currently in the works. The plan is to spend a long weekend outdoors (camping or simple cabins) doing yoga, connecting with great people, hiking and eating delicious food. I’m a big believer in stepping away from the busy hectic lives we create for ourselves in order to see the benefits of self-care and rest – and then taking some of this back into our daily lives. There will be a daily schedule and the option to fill time with massage, kayaking, walking meditation or private yoga instruction; however, everything on this retreat is optional. This time is for you to do what you need with it. If you are looking for the opportunity to connect with good people and take some time for yourself, come join us!
What is something you learned on your first trip/job abroad that you think is key for traveling teachers to know?
Chill out and be nice to people. Nothing ever goes as planned – flights get delayed, you might have to walk two miles to get to where you’re staying – in a downpour, you can wind up with food poisoning, and experience extreme periods of loneliness. Roll with it. What comes out of it is so transformative and will teach you so much about yourself. The second part: Be nice to people. It’s just the right thing to do. Most people in the world will show you extreme amounts of kindness. Show them the same. As a teacher, if you want to teach, reach out to people. The opportunities are there. Once I committed to finding jobs throughout my travels, I ended up in places I never would have expected.
How do you find your jobs abroad?
I found all my teaching jobs through the Facebook Group: Yoga Jobs Alll Over The World.
What mantra are you currently living by?
Slow down and breathe.
Where is your favorite place you have traveled to?
This question is a tough one. Every time I get somewhere it’s been exactly where I want to be. It’s extremely valuable to appreciate the place where you are in the moment. If I have to choose I would say my time spent living in Cambodia at Hariharalaya Yoga & Meditation Retreat.
What is something to be aware of as a traveler?
Traveling can make you feel extremely disconnected at times. Go on adventures, put yourself out there, start up conversations with people you don’t know, but use common sense.
What should a first time traveling yogi know about the professional yoga life?
An online presence is key. Have a website and provide content for your online community, otherwise they have no other way to stay connected with you.
What does your dream yoga position or career look like?
I want to have a home studio where I will provide massage and private yoga instruction. There I will lead continuing education and Mentorship programs that will remain intimate, as not to take away from the time and effort I want to provide for each individual. I want to lead one retreat a year stateside and one international. I want to provide corporate wellness programs, because I have seen the value and necessity of how this can make yoga and massage more accessible and sustainable. I want to teach three group classes a week at a small local studio where I can also hold occasional workshops. I want to host a monthly event where all the proceeds go to a charity or cause. I want to be able to spend holidays with family, take regular vacations and take at least one continuing education program every year. I want my personal life and time off to have as much priority and importance as my professional life. I don’t think I can be the teacher I want and that my students deserve, if I don’t live what I preach.
Connect with Michelle Desch
Michelle originally from Stillwater, Minnesota has been teaching Slow Flow Vinyasa with attention to alignment and breath for over two years. She spent the better part of 2016 traveling and teaching around India and SE Asia. Currently teaching in the Minneapolis area, you can find her schedule HERE. And if you aren’t in Minneapolis, you can LEARN all about yoga with Michelle’s Beginner’s Guide to Yoga. Enjoy!