Meet March’s Teacher of the Month: Natasia Cook

 

Her first passion was dance.

Having trained in various forms of dance since the age of 5 and later working as a professional ballet dancer for 7 years, Natasia had gained a huge respect for the “incredible human body and its ability to transform and heal itself.”

After retiring from the stage she moved into the corporate world and later studied Reflexology & Meridian Therapy, registering as a Therapeutic Reflexologist and running her very own practice “The Sole Sanctuary” for 6 years.

Continuously returning to and reverting from the corporate world over the years, Natasia learned a great deal but not quite enough to feed her soul.  Until she discovered the practice and her Yoga journey commenced in 2001 : the day Natasia took her first Yoga class.

Finding Yoga felt like coming home.

Through-ought her journey, Natasia has been exposed to the Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Indieyoga, Sivananda, Budokon, Yoga Synergy, Yin/Restorative, Partner/Acro and Dharma styles, thus helping her discover where her interests lie – in body alignment and the healing potential of Yoga.

Natasia was blessed with phenomenal teachers who, evidently made an impact that changed her life.

I am grateful to my teachers;

The late Ingrid Eriksen was her guidance into teaching in 2008,  Kerry Weavind’s ( from Haum of Yoga (now Indieyoga)) insightful and life changing 200hr Indieyoga course (2013) was the inspiration behind Natasia’s leap from her day job and journey into sharing this incredible art and discipline as her full time passion.

I never realized that I would love teaching so much! What a privilege it is to interact with people from all walks of life and watch as they develop their own awareness, strength and peace

Natasia started Namaste Yoga studio on an impulse in 2008 and it has grown over the years to become her very own “happy place, community and purpose.”

Intrigued? ( Keep reading. )

 

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced as a Yoga instructor/studio owner?

*The biggest challenge (apart from the usual business owner’s challenges of paying all the bills and multitasking) is finding time to get on the mat for myself. I don’t think I’m alone in this as we all tend to teach at the same times, so it’s a bit of a juggling act. Staying true to the discipline of the practice and keeping it fresh are always on my mind.

 

What is your favorite memory of opening the studio?

*The night we opened our new full time premises there was such an amazing energy in the studio; at the after party my best friend’s 9 year old daughter was dancing unselfconsciously while everybody mingled, munched and connected. It warmed my heart so much as I looked around and drank it all in.

 

What piece of advice can you give to future yoga studio owners?

*I definitely don’t have all the answers as I’m always trying to figure things out too, but I think to be organised, consistent and true to your gut feel, while not neglecting yourself.

 

What is the most rewarding part of teaching yoga?

*The connections with the yogis and seeing how they blossom and release their tension. Yoga is such a great leveller as there’s always something that will challenge you and something that feels great, so it keeps you honest as a yogi and teacher!

I love how yoga enables one to disengage from life’s stresses and strains, and that it is non-competitive and non-punitive. Yoga is a unifying force. It speaks to us as human beings and heals on a subtle level as well as a tangible one.

 

How do you build relationships through Yoga?

*How do you build relationships anywhere? By being approachable, treating people with respect & compassion and letting them know they’ve been seen.

 

How have you improved your classes since you started teaching?

*I think as you develop experience you find your own flow, your own unique way of articulating things, and this changes as you change and as you learn more about and from those you teach. Still working on it all the time as I do believe the more you learn the more there is to learn!

 

Do you prefer to instruct small groups, large groups or one on one?

*I’m comfortable with all three as they all offer something different. Individual or small groups offer a chance to really give tailored attention. The group energy in a larger group is contagious though, especially if they’re in a playful mood!

 

What is your greatest achievement in life?
*Reinventing myself several times in different industries and learning to be more adaptable (still working on this one)

 

What makes your yoga classes unique?

I believe my background of 27 years of dance, years of complementary therapy and of course yoga training all combines to give a unique perspective of mind and movement. I think I’m fairly approachable and have been told my classes are playful yet nurturing.

 

Who is your greatest motivator and why?

*I can’t name only one as there have been many over the years! All our yogis, but especially my two 75 and several 60/70 + year old yogis, who show up consistently, do their best and prove how beautifully strong, brave and graceful you can remain through staying on the mat and being engaged with life.  Also anyone who reminds me what compassion is and my teachers, loved ones, friends and colleagues who show grace under pressure daily.

 

Why is Yoga important to you?
* It literally saved my life when I needed to find a way to fill the void that my dancing left. It’s taught me to let go of a lot of the rigid self-discipline and harsh self-criticism that I used to punish myself with, and brought me so much joy. It’s taught me to appreciate my body again, even though it’s not perfect, and enabled me to join a community of like-minded, awesome, authentic individuals!

 

How long have you been practising?

*I’ve been practicing for around 17 years.

 

What type of Yoga do you teach/practice?

I teach Indieyoga, Hatha and occasionally Yin/restorative. However, I believe our teaching is influenced by all that we have experienced before, so some other elements may creep in as the mood takes me. I practise what I can get to; Indie, Yin, Budokon, Hatha, Vinyasa, I’m always exploring!

 

What do you enjoy most about this particular form of Yoga?
*With Indieyoga no two classes are the same; by connecting to your independent spirit you find your own strength, expression and flow, as a teacher and practitioner.

 

Do you see Yoga as a way of life or a form of exercise and meditation? (please elaborate)
*Oh Yoga is a way of life for sure.  Its effects sneak into the rest of your life in a lovely way, whether it’s the ability to detach from drama a little better, practice more self-care and compassion, or shift your perspective as your awareness grows. People often come to yoga as a form of exercise and/or meditation and then the other aspects make themselves felt. A happy side effect is the strength, flexibility and balance it brings, or as one yogi put it: ‘the ability to stand on one leg and scrub your foot in the shower!’

 

What skill would you like to master?

* Ooh I’d love to be able to fly free like a bird!

 

What amazing thing did you do that no one was around to see?
In my dancing days – Six pirouettes (a ballet term: turns on one leg) – pretty close to how I imagine flying must feel actually…

 

What risk is worth taking?

*Following your passion when your gut tells you its right.

 

What is your favorite quote?

*”Lighting another’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any less brightly.”

 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

*When I was debating whether or not to enroll for my Reflexology training my wise Mom asked me, “how long is the course?”. I told her and she said “the time will pass anyway so you may as well do it”. How right she was! It opened me up to a whole new world of complementary healing and, as she always says; “nothing you learn is ever wasted”

  • Incredible!

Thats all from me, C

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