When Kimberlea Smarr led her first Trip Tribe retreat to Costa Rica last May, her students had such a good time that many of them followed her to Tulum this past February for her second Trip Tribe retreat. Now, she’s planning her third, a Beachside Yoga and Surf Retreat in Nicaragua this October.
What makes this yoga instructor extraordinaire such a successful retreat leader? We spoke with Kim about her approach to leading retreats and how she’s been able to build such a loyal following.
Trip Tribe: How long have you been teaching yoga/fitness?
Kimberlea Smarr: 7 years
What were the main reasons why you wanted to lead a retreat?
I have always wanted to travel the world. I went to India for my initial training 7 years ago and loved that I experienced a different culture and felt like I didn’t just visit but took a piece back with me. Since I have four kids, traveling has been difficult since India. I wanted to take this magical practice around the world to experience the world and also to share it with people in a sanctuary that begs us to leave our old habits and stories behind… No better way than to escape somewhere magical.
What piece of advice would you offer to someone organizing a retreat for the first time?
Arrive a day early. Keep in mind, though this feels like a dream, it is still a job and not all vacation so you want to plan but also be prepared to adapt your teaching daily to what your students need.
How did you get the word out about your retreat?
In class is the most effective but just Facebook and my student email list as well. I leave postcards at the coffee shop and other locations here and there but found the most effective way to promote the event is to keep talking about it in class.
Which marketing tactic seemed to work the best?
[talking about my retreat] in class. I teach in a small town but also in a studio in a nearby city. I announce my trip after giving [my students] an amazing class. I say join me for a week of this in paradise!
Who were the participants of your trip?
Friends, regular students, and one booker from Trip Tribe’s site
What is your current favorite yoga pose?
What is your current must have piece of yoga/fitness equipment or apparel?
Any additional advice?
Trip Tribe has made this make so much sense for those who aren’t world travelers. Know that you have some interest from students before you launch your trip but don’t give up marketing it. I have been surprised to see who really wants to go. I have had students come and bring their spouses and the spouse doesn’t want to do yoga… No problem! Adapt, adapt, adapt, and remember you are there because of them and enjoy!
Some reviews from Kim’s retreats…
Kim is a fantastic teacher. I wish you would send her on another Yoga retreat…”
“The people on this retreat were beyond amazing. I have made life long friends. Kim’s 2x day yoga is always a blessing–a truly gifted instructor that will help anyone furtheralong their yoga path“
“There is no doubt that I would follow Kim Smarr and her group anywhere. She was simply wonderful and to be doing yoga twice a day in a rainforest paradise is every yogi’s dream. I felt so connected, alive and spiritually recharged. This trip was so enjoyable I cannot say enough good things about Rancho Margot and Kim Smarr. I could not have asked for anything more… except time! I didn’t want to leave! This was a great, great experience!”
Kimberlea Smarr journeyed to Rishikesh, India in 2008 for her first 200-hour teacher training. She currently teaches in a rural Colorado town and has appeared on YogaToday.com. Her continued training includes well over 300 additional teacher-training hours in Anusara and Hatha traditions.
Originally published April 2015