Inspirational words from a Yogi: Natalie Jones

If you have ever met Natalie Jones, you have seen how loving, kind and beautiful she is. 

   It's often difficult to embody being a yogi- which she      does so well. 

   So, we had to find out how...

  • How long have you been teaching?

I've been teaching yoga for 5 years and hot Pilates for just under a year.

 

  • What motivated you to teach and what did you learn from teaching?

After a year of practicing I knew yoga would always be a part of my life. As I continued to practice I found myself fantasizing about teaching and wanting to further my understanding of what I was dedicating so much of my time and energy to. My yoga teachers and my yoga practice impacted my life in such a profound way, I knew sharing that experience with others would be both exciting and fulfilling. As for Inferno Hot Pilates, I fell instantly in love as I had with Bikram yoga, and knew that I would have a blast teaching. Soon I will be certified to teach Bollywood dance, so I think the pattern is: I find a fitness practice I love, then I get certified! Lol

I've learned so much from teaching, geez where to begin? There's a fine balance between telling students what they need to hear but don't always want to hear, and creating a safe, nurturing space. I've found that most people just want to be told what to do, they want to be able to shut off their brain when they enter the room. That's also easier said than done, and you have to meet people where they are. Tough love, if you will. 

 

  •  How many times a week do you practice?

I practice 5 times a week on average. I would practice 9 times if time allowed! 

 

  • Who inspires your practice?

My fellow teachers and students, as well as my mentors in New England who inspired me to become a teacher. My husband and fellow yoga instructor, Will, inspires and motivates me with his own continued practice and thirst for more and more knowledge. 

 

  •  Why is it necessary to practice?

It is most necessary to practice for overall health, physically as well as mentally. Many students have told me their yoga is better than therapy, and I'v seen countless people heal injuries and ailments through Bikram yoga. THIS STUFF WORKS! You just gotta show up. 

 

  •  What message do you like to spread through teaching?

That letting go and and slowing down are extremely important in our crazy, fast paced world. Finding and practicing stillness is crucial if one wants to create peace and overall health in their life. We can accomplish this through a physical practice such as yoga or Pilates. We have to move and blow off steam before we can truly be still. This is how true transformation takes place. 

 

  •  Where are you currently teaching?

YO BK in Williamsburg and Bikram Yoga Brooklyn in Brooklyn Heights. 

Find Natalie on Instagram @thenatalizer

Visit www.yo-bk.com/ and 

bikramyogabrooklyn.com/ for Natalie's teaching schedule

* Yoga is not a substitute for medication. 

5 things I wish I'd known before I became a yoga teacher.

I love yoga! I love yoga so much that, three years ago, I decided to become a yoga teacher after many years of practising.  

So, I took a yoga teacher-training and entered into the world that I always thought that I wanted to be a part of. Like anything, becoming a yoga teacher has it's ups and downs. 

Here are a few things that I wish someone had told me before I took the plunge:

1. Yoga studios are still a business. 

Just like gymnasiums, clothing stores or supermarkets, yoga studios are a business. They are branded, have losses and are continuously wanting to make more money. It can be a bit confusing if you live in a yogi bubble to see some decisions made at a yoga studio. However, yoga studios that don'tkeep revenue afloat, will find themselves closing. Therefore, sometimes they need to make some not-so yogi like decisions in order to keep their doors open.

2. You know more than you think you do. 

Before I took my first teacher-training, I doubted myself and my ability to be a good teacher. I had been practicing yoga on-and-off for about 9 years and had acquired a lot of knowledge. I needed to learn more, which is why I took the yoga TT, but I did know more than I thought that I did. If I had believed and trusted myself more, I would've had a smoother transition to becoming a teacher. 

3. It's okay not to know everything. 

There are over 200 styles of yoga. Of course, one person is not going to know everything about yoga. Also, there is so much anatomy knowledge to acquire that I'm not sure one person is able to achieve in one lifetime. So, when a student asks you a question, it's okay to say that you don't know. You are not being a true yogi by misinforming students However, if you take an honest approach, that is in true yogi fashion. 

4. Develop your own style.

People appreciate authenticity. When you try and be someone else, you will never be as comfortable as when you are truly being yourself because you were meant to be who you are. Being genuine allows your students to be genuine too. There is nothing more comfortable than the skin that you are in, embrace it! 

5. Do your research! 

Truth be told, if I had known what I know about how some yoga studios operate, I would have opted out of dealing with them in the first place. I do believe that everything happens for a reason and I definitely learnt a lot. However, I could've saved myself tears, heartache and my time if I had done my research before taking my first teacher-training. The questions that I should've asked are: Does the studio where I am doing the TT allow me to teach other places too? Will I be Yoga alliance certified? How much will I get paid? When will I get paid? How many hours a week will I be expected to put in? How do they treat their current teachers? 
These questions are important because what happens to the other teachers will one day happen to you.

I wrote this because I believe in the power of knowledge. Hopefully my lessons can help someone who wants to become a teacher. 

 

Unleash the yogi within you

A lot of people that I know are afraid to become yogis because they believe that there is a certain amount of pressure associated with being one. 

 

As a yogi and a yoga teacher, I am here to tell you that you CAN be a yogi- you as yourself: 

 

1. Get into the studio. 

 

As much I love doing some YouTube videos myself, I do so because I have been through several trainings and am aware of the body's anatomy. With that being said, when you haven't been through trainings, you risk injury as you might be doing poses incorrectly. My mother once gave me wonderful advice, she said, 'Learn how to do something properly from a professional and then you can do it by yourself'. Which is the same advice that I will give to you. Take class once a week from a professional so that you can practice safely on your own. 

 

2. Don't put judgements on yourself. 

 

I used to be a vegan but now I am not. I have learnt as a health coach and a yogi that I need to listen to my body. Everybody's body is different. If I am craving fish or meat, I have learnt that it means something. And, for my body, vitamins were not enough to subside my cravings- I needed the real thing. You don't need to be a vegan or a vegetarian to be a yogi. If you eat meat, practice gratitude and learn to eat mindfully- no need to shove your mouth with things without thinking about them. A yogi is also about finding and embracing balance. 

 

3. Take a break when you need it. 

 

We often push ourselves too much . But, a mentor of mine once said that her guru recommended that she takes a day off of her practice to enhance her practice. Like I mentioned before, finding balance is key to being a yogi. There is more to life than yoga. And a true yogi uses what they have learnt in the real world. That means, we need to live too. 

 

There is a yogi within all of us Images by Getty images

There is a yogi within all of us

Images by Getty images