Before stepping into opening up the inspiring Montezuma Yoga a decade ago Dagmar's home was the dazzling music business. Promoting bands and working with photographers organizing shoots for Bon Jovi and Black Crowes, which were at their best that time. But thats a long time ago. Dagmar is running retreats worldwide for more than 15 years. We are very excited to get to know more about this inspiring women and of cause share it with you!

 

1. Today you are running a successful retreat business. What would you say was the most challenging parts getting there?

I was used to always being in the background and promoting other people, but there was always a little questioning inside me about my creativity, I wasn’t good enough to play an instrument, to sing or as a photographer, so I was wondering what my purpose, my art was? So naturally, when I moved to Costa Rica my first idea was to promote yoga teachers and help them organize and promote their retreats as a host at Montezuma Yoga. The first teacher who led a retreat at my place was Elena Brower, my teacher back in New York before I moved, and she then encouraged me to become a teacher too. It was scary because all of a sudden I couldn’t hide anymore behind other people and needed to find my own voice, at the same time it was beautiful because I loved teaching from the first moment and realized that finally, I had found my way of being creative and expressing myself.

From the moment I accepted the challenges, everything started falling into place. Click To TweetI had a beautiful balance of teaching classes and hosting retreats and like that met a lot of really great teachers who I was fortunate to practice with in my studio! I hosted teacher trainings as well and could participate and continue my education, which was great since I was so removed from any other studios where I could have studied. When I started in 2001 there was not a lot of yoga happening yet in Costa Rica, so the community was relatively small, and that was wonderful because we supported each other and had a great exchange.

 

2. What makes Montezuma Yoga special? What is your approach?

Yoga to me was always about community. We don’t have to do it all alone. We realise other people have similar stories, challenges, and dreams when we share with each other. Whenever I was in a tough place myself, I would go to yoga classes and leave feeling better, grounded, connected and with a sense of hope and faith that things will work out. Montezuma Yoga offers this kind of sanctuary to the people who live here or pass through as they travel. It’s very authentic and personal, we have a lot of single travellers coming through and enjoying a place to feel home and inspired and to meet other people. All our teachers are very skilled and teach from the heart; you can tell that we love what we do and I think people can feel this energy. It’s not the fanciest shala, but it has a lot of heart and feels real. The sounds of the jungle and ocean and the monkeys and birds add their own magic and Sylvester, our yogi cat, who always hangs out in the middle of the studio gives it also a sense of home.

 

3.What’s your personal secret to success?

Consistency and Clarity.

If anybody had told me 30 years ago that I would be a yoga teacher in Costa Rica, I would have laughed, because I didn't think it was possible to live such a dream.Click To Tweet But then with the yoga, my personal journey became clearer to me, and it really helped me to develop the trust and courage to follow my heart. Once I had a clear vision, I just kept doing all the little steps to move forward towards that vision. I kept up my studies and practice, I asked for support when I needed it and found inspiration from other teachers. I kept a consistency at the studio so that people could rely on me. The first 10 years I did it all alone, and I was there every day, no matter if one student would show up or 20. When I doubt myself or when I feel I am getting stuck I reach out to my teachers or go on a retreat to get new inspiration and energy. I think I have a pretty clear style and am good at holding space for others to be themselves. People receive a lot of personal attention and care and appreciate this connection, it’s about putting love also in small details that is making a difference, and it’s never just been a business for me.

 

4. You have more than 10k fans and over 100 positive reviews on Tripadvisor. Where do you get your knowledge in online marketing?

I have some friends who started marketing courses for yoga teachers and have learned a lot from them. It’s a lot of trial and error still, but I think these days it’s important to accept this as a part of our business. I see a lot of other teachers struggling with their online presence, and I understand it because we all get into a place of “who am I to tell my story” and keeping ourselves small. But

the secret is to share your story in ways that it is inspiring and helpful for others Click To Tweetand then it becomes really fun. I am grateful to the people who inspired me on my journey, so if I can be that person for somebody else, why not share a bit of my story and my tools.

 

5. Do you have three personal marketing tips you would like to share?

  • Building a community on Facebook has been really working well for me because Montezuma Yoga is a very transitional place. People pass through from all over the world, and it’s a great way to stay connected. I get a lot of sign-ups for my retreats through Facebook posts and events.
  • Build your email list and write a newsletter. People want to hear from you and what you are up to. I am still a bit shy to ask people directly for their emails or to sign up for my newsletter, but there is a book at the studio where people can leave it, and I have sign-up forms on my website. I send out a newsletter about once a month, and I make it not just about my own event offerings, but rather also include articles that inspire me, free videos or recipes, so that people have fun reading it.
  • Start creating videos. I filmed my first yoga videos back in 2005 when somebody passed through and asked me if I was up for it. I didn’t think anybody would ever care about online yoga videos and did it just to be creative and play with it. These videos have now over 1 million views on youtube and people still write to me or come to my classes and retreats telling me that they have been practicing with these videos for years!  I never expected that, but I see now what a wonderful tool it is since the internet has grown so much. I have since produced more videos, and they sell really well. You can share what you love and reach a wider audience and create a following because it’s more personal and people who don’t know you can see your style of teaching, and hear your voice.

6. What advice would you give a person who wants to start running retreats but has no experience?

I have been hosting and leading retreats now for over 15 years, so I have learned a lot from my own and other teachers mistakes. I think it is important to create something unique that represents you and to build your community so that you can stand out from the vast retreat offerings out there.

Yoga to me was always about community. We don’t have to do it all alone. We realise other people have similar stories, challenges, and dreams when we share with each other.

- Dagmar Spremberg - Montezuma Yoga

7. Many people are afraid of leaving their comfort zone. Any advise how to overcome fears and take risks?

Yes, I can relate very much, there were many moments when I was scared to make the jump into the unknown, letting go is hard! But when you look back it’s those scary moments that always opened a magical new door, so you build a bit more trust and courage every time you jump! I always wanted to live life fully and with integrity and esp. as a yoga teacher I cannot inspire my students to follow their intuition and not live from my own teachings 😉

So it comes back again to the community, whenever I doubt myself or get scared I ask for support and help from my teachers and friends.

I do the things that make me feel alive and strong and nourish my spirit. Sometimes that means to take a break and pause, breathe, listen,Click To Tweet so I spend a lot of time in nature which always helps me to see the bigger picture.

 

8. How would you rate the opportunity running retreats for the upcoming years? Where do you see Montezuma and yourself in 5 years from now?

I think the market is very overwhelmed right now, you can book a retreat anywhere anytime and it’s a bit harder than ever to fill your retreats. So far I have been very blessed that I can fill all my personal retreats, so I always search for new exciting locations to offer something different, f.e. this summer we go to Iceland and Greece. I also teach the retreats together with my partner Gaudan, who plays the Hang instrument in some of the classes and we have created a unique and magical experience that I hope to share for many more years on the road. I am blessed to split my time between Montezuma and Europe, with the majority in Montezuma (8-10 months) which is a very beautiful, popular and transformative location, so hopefully, we can continue to thrive and share the space with many wonderful visiting teachers.

Recently I also started to offer private one-on-one retreats here at my property, where I rent out two beautiful lofts. I can see the demand for a more customized, personal retreat experience because not everybody likes to spend a week with 20-30 people all day long. These mini retreats can be booked on individual dates and include one private yoga session per day.

I have had couples, mothers-and-daughter, and single women as clients for these retreats and it’s always been a very rewarding experience for all of us to share. I have the vision of creating more magical experiences in different places for the next 5 years while also keeping a sanctuary for like-minded people here in my studio. It’s fun to be creative and have visions and as they say in an old song from Massive Attack: Never keep your eggs just in one basket! 

 

9. Let’s close with a personal wish. What is the biggest wish you have regarding your business and or maybe personal?

My business is my baby, and so every wish will always be personal too. I wish to stay healthy and that the world moves towards more peace again, and that we are not destroying it.

It's heartbreaking to see what is happening right now all over the world, but I hope this is just what is needed to transition to a better place.Click To Tweet I wish for people to step out of their fear and to trust that they can create a life of their dreams and that I will always be surrounded by an incredible, inspiring community all over the world. I realize these are actually a few wishes, not just one, but it’s all connected 😉

Thank you very much, Dagmar!

More about Dagmar’s inspiring work can be found her:

Montezuma & Dagmars Retreats

About the author

My name is Anne. I’m a happy person who loves surfing and yoga. As founder of good retreats I understand the thrill and excitement of starting a business around the things you really care about. Sharing the knowledge I earned in online marketing over the past years might help you to make your dream come true! Join me on Facebook.

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