After Amanda Dykann (amandadykann.com) became a certified Bikram yoga instructor in 2007, it didn’t take long for her to realize what she really wanted was to teach outside the traditional studio environment. Soon, the world would become her classroom, and the practice of yoga evolved into something much more profound than leading her students through a series of postures on the mat. “I realized early on that teaching yoga in a studio setting was too limiting,” she says. “I knew there were ways to be creative and unconventional. I knew that when I was inspired, there were no limits to what I could do.”
Dykann soon became certified in other styles of yoga, including Synergy (a group-style practice that incorporates partner stretching and Thai massage) and vinyasa. She began attending other yoga retreats and then assisting, gaining valuable experience. In 2009, she started leading retreats, and by 2011, she created her own business that would take the concept of a yoga retreat a step (or several thousand miles) further than the run-of-the-mill yoga-on-the-beach experience. Her retreats are small (10 to 15 people) and, with a focus on cultural immersion, she creates outings to facilitate a connection her clients might not experience as regular tourists.
Dykann earned a master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica in 2012, dividing her time between teaching in Aspen, studying in L.A. and leading retreats all over the globe. Her learning and personal development as a student added yet another dimension to what she had to offer as a teacher. “My education has played a huge role in helping me get to where I am now,” she says. “It deepened my understanding of true health, wellness and the healing process, which is the basis for how I come forward as a teacher.”
To date, she has hosted retreats in Morocco, Bali, Greece, Switzerland, West Indies, Hawaii and Mexico. “When we’re away from our normal routine and in a new environment, we’re able to open up in ways we can’t in our everyday lives,” she says. “At the same time, a more intensive practice allows us to reset and become so much more tuned in, not only to our bodies, but to our environment and to other people. That facilitates a much deeper, more meaningful experience.”
Dykann hopes to explore Asia and the South Pacific in coming years with retreats to Japan, Bhutan and Tahiti. She’s also interested in service work, fundraising and offering humanitarian aid to the regions she visits, like a recent trip to Anguilla to help with hurricane relief for children and local schools.
The best part, Dykann says, is the discovery of new locations and scouting places to visit that break the mold of a typical retreat center. “I love to find these beautiful, stimulating places that are totally unique and special,” she says. “Sharing the experience with others is the true gift of the work.” Her next retreats are in Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, Morocco (April 8 to 17), and Lake Lucerne, Switzerland (June 10 to 17).