Meet Erica Hartnick, founder of Yoga Trade, who shares with us how to incorporate more travel into your life!
RYB: How and when did you fall in love with yoga?
EH: I took my first yoga class in 2001, but it was not until several years later that I started going more frequently as a way to seek restoration and find balance after having continuing back problems from sports and everyday life. I REALLY fell in love with yoga when I lived in Half Moon Bay, California for one year and took Amy Outman’s “Tantra Yoga” class every week at Enso. She was the teacher that ignited my true love for yoga.
RYB: How would you describe your yoga classes?
EH: I would describe my classes as Heart Inspired Hatha Flow. Depending on the mood of the day and the students in class, some days I teach invigorating morning flows, other days restorative yin style classes. To me, the intention while teaching is to simply be a guide by creating a safe and nurturing space for students to practice their true potential and realize that they are their own greatest teacher. I also teach a lot of outdoor yoga classes and lead yoga hikes. I am a huge advocate for getting people to enjoy being outside. To me, our connection with nature and the elements is what it’s really all about.
You have traveled the world, teaching yoga and surfing. You are also the brains and beauty behind ‘Yoga Trade’, tell us more about it.
RYB: What is Yoga Trade?
EH: Yoga Trade is a new and empowering network for the yoga community. It connects instructors, students, and organization around the world. Members can post, search, and apply for yoga jobs, yoga work exchange gigs, and yoga travel opportunities. Members can also network, create a resume/profile, plan and promote events, and contribute to/enjoy the blog.
RYB: What is Yoga Trades mission?
EH: Yoga Trade is a community that connects people to worldwide yoga jobs & opportunities and encourages travel, healthy living, adventure, and sustainability.
RYB: What sparked you to create Yoga Trade?
EH: After completing my yoga teacher training, I had a strong passion for two things: to gain yoga teaching experience and to learn more about surfing. I decided to blend these together by proactively seeking out places via the internet that intrigued me and sent them emails asking if they could use a yoga teacher on a “work exchange/volunteer” basis. Through many emails and perseverance I was able to connect to teaching opportunities in Costa Rica, Morocco, and Indonesia. Several years later with a lot more yoga teaching and surfing experience under my belt I realized that there was still a need for a yoga job/volunteer board online. I also noticed a lack of a quality online resource or community for yoga teachers. One day while on a travel adventure in Bali, my good friends Pat and Christie (who manage the Yoga Farm in Costa Rica) and I, were all enjoying dragon fruit smoothies and decided to start Yoga Trade together. The vision was born from following what we love.
RYB: What are your plans for the Yoga Trade community in the coming months?
EH: We are stoked that the Yoga Trade community is flourishing and are doing our best to align with the ever-changing needs and desires of members. We are working on some really exciting additions to the Yoga Trade site that will be launching in the next few months. But we will have to keep you guessing for now ;)
RYB: How do you find the balance between using technology (a must with Yoga Trade) and staying present (off-line)?
EH: Great question! Since starting Yoga Trade, I have found myself needing to be online a lot more. This has created more of a need than ever to find balance. I feel the most connected and at peace in nature, but marvel at technology and all of the opportunities that it creates. I try to find balance within every day. Every day I try to include: time in nature, time for exercise, time for yoga/meditation, time for work/internet, and time for rest. I take at least one day off a week from the internet/work, and start every morning with at least one hour of no screen time (this means no phone, internet, etc.)
RYB: What has been your most amazing travel experience?
EH: In October 2012 I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Togat Nusa, a surf and yoga retreat on the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia. There I had a work exchange/yoga teaching gig for one month. I was going through some emotionally hard times and it wasn’t always easy being on a tiny island. But I still have dreams of the crystal clear water, the perfect waves, the creative sustainably built structures, and the people there. It taught me a lot about life and myself and is definitely one of the most stunning, memorable, and amazing places I have traveled to.
RYB: Name 3 travel destinations on your list of places to explore?
EH: I will always have a bit of the travel bug. There are so many places on this beautiful Earth. Lately I have been dreaming of India, South Africa, and Italy.
RYB: Your advice to anyone looking to incorporate more travel into their lifestyle?
EH: Living more simply allows more time and resources for travel. Instead of buying $5 dollar chai lattes or new yoga pants, start putting money in a travel fund. Not only will this help save money, it is also great for the planet! Let’s stop over-buying stuff we don’t really need, especially plastic! And if you really have the desire to travel, just do it! Manifest and make a plan (writing travel dreams and ideas in a journal really helps). Just like most things in life, there never seems to be the “perfect time” to travel, so if you feel a strong pull, have faith and go for it! The people and places you love will be there when you return and you can always make more money. Most likely, you will not regret it :)