Natalie recently graduated from Yoga Innovation’s 2016 teacher training. She is teaching her first public class on 6/11/16. We asked her a few questions about her yoga experience.
What is your favorite pose and why?
The peaceful, yet determined look on someone’s face in Warrior 2 is what first attracted me to yoga. Their gaze communicated it all, because once I became a regular practitioner, it was thrilling to discover the experience of witnessing that look in myself was even better than witnessing that look in someone else. I feel like I’m flying and simultaneously digging into the core of the earth. It’s a dance of all of my energies. I’m a warrior, fighting for peace.
What is your least favorite pose and why?
Low. Push. Up.
Going from high to low push up is the single most humbling moment in my every yoga practice. Now that I know it’s proper alignment from teacher training, it’s so hard not to feel like a failure because I just can’t do it perfectly. It makes me feel weak. Progress is slow. Everyone else’s always seems much stronger and smoother than mine…but you know, I still love it? It’s taught me to take the small victories. Especially when progress is slow. It’s taught me the value and meaning of mental strength. It doesn’t mean you’re never going to have a bad day again because you’ve found yoga or that backsliding into depression means you’re not strong. It’s how you get back up – or in this case, lower down. One inch at a time will still move you forward. And sometimes to move at all is a miracle.
If you could offer one piece of advice for someone who was thinking about going through teacher training what would it be?
Bring all of your expectations, your fears, your anxieties, your pride, your previous accomplishments. Bring all of your shit with you. Don’t expect to be able to leave it behind after teacher training. It still follows you like a lost puppy. But teacher training will give you the inner and literal space to realize you are not your shit. Expect all of your relationships to change accordingly.
Also, bring a lot of food.
What is one thing you wish people knew about you before meeting you?
The way I would choose to dance. If I weren’t limited by my body. If I weren’t the clumsy, elbows-and-knees clown with the unintentional moments of grace, I’d be a badass modern dancer ninja with a grin as wide as my leap.