Nathalie is our first Francophone Yogi! As our first bilingual teacher of The Collective to offer classes in both French and English, Nathalie brings to the table a diverse offering to correspond with her unique connectedness in the Swiss Lemanique-French region. In addition, she has with a brand new studio on the horizon due to open in Divonne, France very soon. Welcome to The Collective, Nathalie!
GY: What is your go-to yoga pose when you’ve only got a few minutes to practice? Why do you think it’s so appealing?
NL: Anjaneyasana … it feels so good! With a little back bend, it is just perfect!!! I close my eyes and feel the bliss!
GY: Early morning routine? What’s yours? Coffee? Tea?
NL: Right now, I get up at 6 in order to practice before the kids wake up at 7 or 7:30. I work in the evening, so sometimes it’s hard to get up that early. But my day just doesn’t taste the same without my practice. I really need time before going out and starting my day: 2 hours! But this time is precious. I also like the atmosphere in early morning, when everything is quiet and gently waking up.
GY: What is one song you never get tired of hearing?
NL: One by U2 — But I love music in general!
GY: Do you have a favorite quote, affirmation, or saying that gets you through the tough times? What is it?
NL: “Let it go” … and breathe. I try to accept things as they are and stay positive. The more you resist, the more you suffer so it’s best to surrender … but it’s not always easy!
GY: How would you describe your yoga teaching style?
NL: I teach a soft but also challenging yoga. I like to have the students feel, observe, explore, and learn.
GY: How old were you when you fell in love with the practice of yoga? What was so appealing about it to you?
NL: I was quite old … too old! I wish yoga came to me earlier. I fell in love with yoga at the age of 30! I guess that’s how it was meant to be! I used to do a lot of dance and yoga was another way of expression through the body. But I discovered something else – peace. It was the beginning of a great journey to my Self!
GY: What made you want to become a yoga teacher?
NL: Teaching is my dharma. I always say that it’s the only thing I’m good at! I’ve been teaching French to foreigners for the last fifteen years. I have also been a teacher trainer for the last five years. It is part of me. And teaching yoga just became evidence of that. I didn’t expect life to take this turn, but I’m really grateful about it!
GY: Describe yourself at 21.
NL: I was very naïve, coming from a small town in the countryside, and eager to travel the world and live amazing adventures. At that time, I was studying in Philadelphia at UPenn through an exchange program. It was an amazing experience. I thought I would be on the road forever, but one year later I met my husband and my daughter was born when I turned 24! Life is just full of surprises!
GY: What would you say has been one of the best parts of growing up, getting older?
NL: I know what I don’t want anymore and I definitely know myself better. I feel more at peace with myself and with life in general. I still have existential questions but I’ve found the answer doesn’t really matter. I am in more of a Carpe Diem state of mind. And I feel free. Freedom is a big thing for me. It’s all about how you see things, how you live things. It’s all in yourself.
GY: Snack wise, what is your greatest weakness, what can you simply not pass up?
NL: Chocolate …. and blueberry muffins!
GY: What are a couple of traits of your own that you hope your kids (or future kids) may inherit. Maybe a couple you hope they don’t?
NL: I’m very independent and my daughter is too. She is also very helpful. My son is 10 and I know he is very cerebral. This is not a very positive trait to inherit, unfortunately. I would like them to be open-minded and curious. But all in all, I hope they will find their way and I just want them to be happy with who they are, to be authentic and true.
GY: Describe your first love, in six words or less.
NL: There’s no word to describe it. My very first true love is my husband, so I would say: true and intense. He’s my soul mate.
GY: A Sunday all to yourself, how do you spend it?
NL: If I’m with my family, we might walk the dog, watch a movie all together and bake a cake (and I would do yoga!!). By myself, I would probably read, do (more) yoga, and daydream.
GY: What about a night out on the town? Who would you spend it with? What would you do?
NL: I would spend it with my husband and friends or only my girlfriends. We would go to a cool restaurant and probably a bar after that. But we also like to invite friends over, or go to friends’ places. We would drink and dance. These are usually the best nights!
GY: Who have you been friends with the longest and how did you meet?
NL: I can’t really say who I have known the longest. I have childhood friendships but many of my friends moved and we rarely see each other now. And I have very strong friendships with people I haven’t known for very long. Each friendship is unique and I love them all!
GY: What yoga teacher has most influenced your practice and teaching?
NL: Many teachers have influenced my practice and teaching, to name a few: Joan Hyman, my teacher trainer from Yogaworks, Mary Bruce and Jessica Magnin, both from Parayoga.
GY: Can you name three traits you cherish most in this teacher?
NL: I can talk more about Jess since I know her better. What I love about her is her radiance, the love she gives, her positivity, and her listening.
GY: What do you love most about your home space?
NL: I don’t have a particular space to practice; I often go in my son’s bedroom. It’s so quiet, but I feel good anywhere in my house. It’s luminous, quiet, and peaceful. My kids are big now and they know when I need some time for myself and they respect that. Sometimes I practice with my daughter or my husband which is really nice!
GY: What was the last thing you binge watched on Netflix?
NL: I don’t watch TV, but I have to admit that my husband and I did fall into “Game of Thrones.”
GY: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
NL: In my yoga practice: “Keep it simple.” My first teacher trainer gave me this advice and I keep this in mind when I prepare my classes and when I teach. To me, simplicity gives space.
In my life in general: If you want, you can : “Si tu veux tu peux.” You have the power to make wonderful things. You just need to believe in yourself, believe in your ideas and work for it.
photo credit: Fabio Filippi
Nathalie grew up in Divonne Les Bains, a small town in France surrounded by mountains, right at the border of Switzerland. She has just opened her own yoga studio there. She is also working on a new project with one of her best yogini friend, Sara MacDonald . Get ready for stunning retreats! More to come soon.
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