#ZenFriends: MEET NAT
I couldn't be more proud to introduce to you one of my closest friends. Natalie is the first stranger I befriended in NYC almost six years ago. There was just something about her that I immediately felt connected to. We opened up to each other very quickly, and there was this innate understanding and respect for one another that is hard to find.
I've watched Natalie move through the different stages of her life from being a newly transplanted Swiss-German who hardly spoke English, to getting accepted into the highly prestigious film program at New York University. Natalie is such a raw, victorious and authentic light in this world, and I'm so lucky to have her in my life. She inspires not only me, but everyone in her circle, through her photography, film, and her beautiful insight into this crazy life. Read below to see how yoga ultimately changed Nat's life, and how she is currently tackling through the thick and thin:
- MEET NAT -
Q: How did we meet? A: We met in our first New York pads in Midtown! We went to a resident event (which afterwards, we'd never attend again) and found each other. You're my first New York friend and have such a special place in my heart.
Q: Quote you live by?A: "Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." - Khalil Gibran
Q: Describe yourself in three words.A: Intuitive, Wild, Strong-willed.Q: How did you get into yoga?A: My year got off to a really rocky start. I was depressed and then things got much worse with a rough breakup, family issues and visa trouble, as well as a sort of identity crisis with my approaching graduation. I felt that I had hit rock bottom, and 'when it rains it pours' really rang true. I was offered free yoga classes from a hotel I previously took photos for. I tried yoga before, but I was always too fidgety and uncomfortable with the yoga settings I'd seen. But, not this time. Apart from my amazing friends, yoga was really the main thing that helped me through this rough time. I remember after my first class this time around, I felt like a fetus or like goo. I had felt so disconnected from my body with barely eating or moving through my depression that this was such a novel feeling. The yoga studio I practiced at gave me so much comfort, and I was surrounded by wonderful new people. Yoga changed everything and taught me to accept where I'm at right now.It taught me to appreciate my life again, and even though it's still not an easy time, I learned to just go with it.Maybe joy and sadness just come and go in waves, and it's not so much about having to push away the more unpleasant aspects of life, but to just be open to them. It's the same with love - you can't force anyone to love you that doesn't want to, so you just have to let that go. I think that we are all connected anyways, and it's all about being kind to ourselves and each other in the end. Focusing on the breath and asana gave me a sort of mental and physical clarity that I became addicted to. Ommm.
Q: Favorite yoga position and why?A: If it were for me, we should all be in uttanasana (forward fold) daily, and we'd all be more relaxed. I love (and hate, of course, *no love without some hate*) pigeon because it opens me up and feels amazing, and bakasana (crow) because it is so balancing. Oh, and also my newly almost solid headstand... wait do I have to chose? I love it, because it connects me to my core and confidence.
Q: You're in film & photography - how does yoga inspire your work?A: First of all, as with anything in life I find inspiration through yoga. So many ideas come into my mind when I'm in Savasana. Yoga helps me to stay focused on my work and to get things done with much more clarity than I used to have. It's been easier to actually execute creative ideas that I used to perceive as overwhelming. I also find that yoga and art are similar in the way that they make you tune into yourself, so for my projects, learning to listen within has been very helpful.
Q: What's on your summer bucket list?A: To be happy! I have a lot of work to do as I just graduated and am now pretty much working full-time as well as freelancing in film and photography. I am taking time off to go on a yoga retreat and to the beach. I want to strengthen my practice to tackle my yoga teacher training. I'll bike, as always, see friends, go on dates, learn how to drive.
Q: What's your sign?A: Scorpio.
Q: Last song listened to?A: I'm currently listening to Nothing Matters When We're Dancing by the Magnetic Fields.
Q: Favorite indulgence?A: I love all my indulgences! Here's some favorites: White Russians, yum! Flower crowns and hippie dresses... and frozen Reeses!
Q: What was high school Natalie like? A: I was all about becoming a singer, and couldn't wait to get out of Switzerland, because I was hoping for a more expressive, open-minded place. I would say I was creative, but impatient and probably a bit of a weirdo to most. I used to bike everywhere in high heels and lacy dresses, which is what people would joke about (I got over the heels, btw.).
Q: Tips for overcoming fear and going after your passions?A: Try to do things with intention rather than habit. It's really not for you to judge the quality of your work constantly, because you'll be your own harshest critic. So, it's just about producing, and knowing that if you think it's shit, that's ok. At least you did something. Leave the judgement to someone else. I'm really not a very fearful person in actuality and prone to take risks - However, my fears are more emotional. So, I find that trying to identify what's bugging me or why I'm not starting something emotionally is key, and I do that with writing down thoughts, biking and yoga.
Q: If you were an emoji, you’d be…A: The dark-skinned princess! lol - That's actually my emoji with friends and family, but maybe a 🌸would be more accurate? I wish there was a gypsy emoji...
There you have it, babes. Thanks so much to Nat for keeping it real!
Sending love to you all this week!
*All photography is owned by Om & the City.