Hi there! I’m Natalie, and I live on the beautiful Central Coast of California with my boyfriend and my French Bulldog, Oscar.
My journey to health started years ago when I was struggling to understand my own. It’s funny how it can take bottoming out to make us look to change, isn’t it?!
Let’s take it back a bit. Around the age of 19, I started working as a model and TV personality, an industry which I ended up staying in for years. This heavily impacted how I viewed myself physically, and how I felt about myself mentally and the combination of the two eventually became too much for me. So, I exited stage right and started to rebuild, but my struggles from the industry continued to haunt me silently. My doctor diagnosed me with IBS, Hypothyroidism, and Anxiety around the age of 25. At this point, stomach issues had plagued me for years – I can remember keeling over at my desk in GI pain that would be so bad I would cry. The anxiety, much to my surprise, had been underlying for years and had finally surfaced as daily panic attacks. I was struggling on so many levels and was so confused because at the time I felt generally happy with my life and felt that I was “healthy!” I was working out daily, following a gluten-free diet, had an excellent friend-work balance. Anyways, at the time of my diagnosis, I was given zero advice about what to eat but was instead told to go on thyroid medication and antidepressants. I thought to myself, ‘this can’t be right.’ But, I took the thyroid meds, thankful forewent the antidepressants and pressed on. And saw some improvement! For some time. Eventually, many of my symptoms came back, and it wasn’t until my early 30’s that I discovered that how I felt about myself internally and my GI issues were intimately connected.
At the time that I was in the thick of my stomach issues, I was training myself for a half marathon. I hadn’t realized it, but workout and eating had become an unhealthy obsession for me. Around mile 7 of my “training,” I was having a ton of SI pain and went to see a doctor in town who, again, threw a prescription at me for the pain and shoved me out of her office (I kid you not, within 5 minutes). I want to pause here and make it clear that I have ZERO negative feelings towards Western Medicine. I think there’s absolutely a place for it and I actually REALLY loved my doctor at the time all of this was going on! In my mind, this became the point where it sunk in that there was a bigger picture in regards to my health that was getting overlooked. I knew some of my diagnoses had to be connected, I just wasn’t sure how. Anyways, this is when I knew that I needed to stop running for a while but I also still wanted to get a workout. Enter, hot yoga. I started taking classes regularly for the physical benefit, as most of us do but became addicted to the mental side. After practicing regularly for many years, I felt compelled to take my yoga journey even further, which led me to complete my 200-hour teacher training in 2015. This journey helped me to come to a place where I have a deep respect for my body, the things that I put into it, and the environment around me. I give most credit to my yoga practice for helping me to find a healthy mindset again.
Today, I am continually seeking out new classes, workshops, and additional training opportunities as I hope always to be deepening my practice and finding new things to share with my students. My classes are energetic and lighthearted and typically include strengthening poses, balance work, and creative transitions. I feel that being able to see and feel the shifts that take place in my students from when they walk into the room to when they leave is the greatest gift. For my practice and my students, I am exceedingly grateful and humbled.
In addition to yoga, I work and train under a top Functional Medicine practitioner as a nutrition consultant, aiding his patient’s with improving their diet and lifestyle. With his encouragement, I recently completed my certification to become a Certified Ketogenic Coach via the only program currently accredited by both the NRSM and AFAA. Additionally, I’ll be working on my Functional Medicine Coaching Certification starting March 2019 and couldn’t be more excited! I’m now completely obsessed with the gut-brain connection and with healing myself from the inside out. I’m continually striving to optimize my health, not only for myself but to be able to share with those around me.
In my downtime, I enjoy hiking, running (more of a slow jog, if I’m being real), YOGA, cooking, traveling, reading, and exploring outside with my (semi-well behaved) French Bulldog Oscar.
Thanks for sharing in my journey! If any of it resonated with you, please reach out to me via my contact page.