With twenty years of experience practicing yoga, Ascaya’s Yoga and Pilates Instructor, Natalie White, has some incredible knowledge to share with Ascaya residents. Natalie is a firm believer in the physical and mental health benefits that practicing yoga can provide, and her philosophy is that the most important part of working out is finding an activity that makes you feel good. Read on for more about Natalie White and the yoga and pilates experiences available at Ascaya.
How long have you been practicing yoga/pilates and how did you become interested in it?
I started practicing yoga roughly 20 years ago solely for the purpose of controlling my panic attacks that seemed to ramp up after a painful divorce. I found that it helped my body as well, and it fulfilled my need to move, so I continued to incorporate it into my workouts.
How long have you been teaching?
I began teaching it 10 years ago when I realized I wanted to know a bit more about how to craft a class. Several years later, I tried a pilates mat class as well as a pilates reformer and wanted to add teaching mat pilates to my skill set.
What is your philosophy on how yoga and pilates contribute to overall health and wellness?
Both contribute to health in different ways. Yoga tends to be beneficial for mental health and teaches us how to slow down and listen in this current state of a rushed world. Pilates strengthens our bodies in ways that help us function better and put less stress on the lower back. At the end of the day, however, my philosophy on any type of physical activity is that it increases the natural chemicals in your brain that make you feel good and that is always a WIN! Whatever type of workout that helps you is good for you!
What’s your favorite way to calm your mind and relax on busy days?
My favorite way to relax is to play and enjoy music and/or read a good fiction book.
What led to your decision to work at Ascaya specifically?
The former event manager at Ascaya came to my barre class at the gym where I taught and asked if I would be interested. I actually prefer teaching smaller, private groups so it was a no-brainer. I absolutely love the owners at Ascaya that come to class, they have all become friends as well as students.
As Ascaya’s Yoga Instructor, what is your process for creating a calming environment for residents?
As far as yoga, I try to set the mood with breathwork and calming music. If it were a nighttime class, I may have candles or dim lighting as well. Pilates is a more upbeat class, and I try to have fun music with a beat we can exercise to as well as add a fun dance at the end of class.
What advice do you have for beginners looking to try out a yoga class for the first time?
Do not wait to become flexible to try it. It is not about how much or how far you can go, it is just to improve yourself compared to yesterday’s version of yourself. The same goes for pilates. Don’t worry about what you can’t do, focus on what you can do.
What’s your favorite part about practicing yoga?
I always feel so much more centered and calm after practice as if I can tackle almost anything. It feels like a great reset.
What motivates and inspires you to continue teaching and practicing yoga? Honestly, it is the members and students. They are the ones working so hard and they actually inspire me. I take classes all over the valley to try to learn from all different teachers so that I can bring them the very best I have to offer.
What do you hope Ascaya residents take away from your classes?
I just want them to feel like they accomplished something for themselves and hopefully had fun with me doing it.