Teacher Q&A with Nathalie Joel-Smith
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Who inspires you the most?
I have whittled it down to a top 3!
My teacher, mentor, friend and 2nd mum, Julie Martin. It is because my path crossed with hers that I have walked the way I have. Julie was my first ever yoga teacher when I was 15 and was my teacher trainer 18 years after we first met. She gave me my first glimpse of wellbeing, and her boundless curiosity, ingenuity and confidence has inspired me hugely. She has offered limitless support and belief, and when you’ve received that kind of love, well you’re just inspired to put it back out into the world!
My late friend Charlie Adams inspires me every day. He was kind and funny beyond all measure. He had this child like quality that was completely magic, and brought joy to everyone he knew. Every time I think of him I am inspired to be grateful, believe in myself and be kind to others. He made the best cups of tea, and said the secret ingredient was love! I carry that love with me every time I make tea.
Finally, my fella, who inspires me with his steady, calm, grounded, daily love and way of being in the world. He supports me in so many ways to just be who I am. His presence helps me be present!
What are your top self-care tips?
- Asking yourself the question ‘How can I support myself?’, listening for an answer that feels true and kind, and then following through on it
- Knowing when it’s ok to say no
- Taking time to be in your body and let yourself sense and feel
When is your favourite time to practice yoga?
No day in my week looks the same so I mix it up. I like different times of day for different reasons!
Run to catch the bus or stroll and wait for the next one?
Run, cos I am perpetually late!
What is the soundtrack to your life?
Bill Withers ‘A Lovely Day’!
North or South of the river?
What food could you not live without?
What is your mantra for life?
See. Feel. Be.
Tell us a secret skill we didn't know you had
I can twirl a baton!
Describe your teaching style in 3 words.
Encouraging. Exploratory. Engaging.
What inspires your teaching?
I’m inspired by the amazingness that is the human body. How it’s designed to move, how it functions, its relationship to its environment, thoughts and feelings. Our bodies are SO intelligent, and it has been my experience that through connecting to this intelligence - through moving into it, sensing and feeling our way more deeply ‘in’ - we can connect more deeply with the essence of who we are, and that this will directly affect our experience out into the world. This is an ever-unfurling process which I am whole-heartedly committed to.
With this as a backdrop, on a day to day basis, I hope my classes are somewhere that people can come and feel safe, held and encouraged to explore and have an experience that feels honest to them. Where they don’t have to try and be something or someone they’re not. I aim to make things tangible, relevant to people’s lives and down to earth.
I have had 3 major teachers, who are ongoing mentors and I call my friends. This connection is so important to me. I feel supported and inspired by them to walk my path. I did my original teacher training with Julie Martin (Brahmani Yoga) followed by a mentorship with Mollie McClelland Morris, and a further course of study with Raphan Kebe in ‘Space and Flow’. All of them have a deep connection to the body engrained in their teaching and way of living, while all having their unique qualities that inspire something in me and help me grow and be more fully who I am.
I attend regular classes, a mixture of Feldenkrais, Restorative, Vinyasa Flow, Scaravelli and Kundalini Yoga. While going to class is my time to be guided and feel held, I draw inspiration from all of these.
Join Nathalie every Saturday at 12pm for an 'encouraging, engaging and exploratory' Mindful Flow.