Natalie Casey discovered yoga in the UK, studied yoga in Sydney and is now teaching in Denmark. Read her account of how yoga has supported her life journey published in International Light, journal of the international Yoga teachers association.
I started practicing yoga in my late teens, as a student in University in the UK, where I am originally from. However, it wasn’t until I had moved to Sydney that I began to be a regular yoga goer. I had a fast-paced job in digital advertising, working long hours, in a very social industry. I did enjoy it but really needed balance. This was when the practice of yoga really came into my life. I loved the sense of lightness and clarity that I got after a class. When both boys (Louie and Archie) were still under two, I felt the pull to deepen my practice and it felt the right time to take up teacher training - something I had always wanted to do. I decided to do a one year 460-hour yoga diploma with ITYA. And I loved it. The course meant no travel overseas and I had the option to do it online, which worked so well with a young family. Even though my life was busy, with a nine-month old and nearly two-year-old, as a new mum I still found the energy to study, as it brought a sense of calm and opened my perspective. Learning the ancient practice, the philosophy and meditations gave me a deeper connection to myself, which enabled me to connect and appreciate my family and life in general much more, which I am now so grateful for. In 2017 my husband, Jimmy, got offered a job in Copenhagen. We had been planning on moving back closer to Europe, where our support network of family and friends lived. As unexpected as it was, we figured Denmark was close enough.
I had just finished my IYTA course before we flew out but had to submit a one hour video of me teaching a group of people. So, there I was in a new country, didn’t speak Danish and knew no one. I joined an expats Facebook group and asked if anyone would participate. Six people turned up at my home and I managed to teach my first yoga class. It was nerve-wracking but a very special moment, with a lovely group of people. The yoga scene in Denmark is BIG, with lots of studios and many different styles of yoga. I found a local yoga studio which I loved. After a couple of months of settling in, and having got my IYTA diploma, I knew I wanted to try teaching. I decided to ask my local studio if they had any yoga teaching roles available… it was a long shot being newly qualified, new to the country and having only one class under my belt. I showed the owner my ITYA video, which she liked and offered me two classes a week to teach Hatha. I felt very lucky - and nervous!
''I love the freedom and lessons that has come doing my own Yoga studio. I really enjoy being creative with the seasons in my classes.''
In conjunction with teaching at the yoga studio, I started teaching a regular group of mums at my sons’ school, which gave me the courage to open my home studio. I have a website: hellerupyoga.com and now do a few classes a week, teaching Hatha flow and Yin classes. I have a group of wonderful regulars that come to class. There is a mix of International and Danish, who I am so grateful to each of them for their positivity and heart they bring to class. It has become a great way to form connections and a community here as a foreigner. I love the freedom and lessons that has come with doing my own yoga studio. I really enjoy being creative with the seasons in my classes. For example, in winter, I plan winter sequencing asanas and warming meditations and creating a warm cosy feel the Danish way, by embracing hygge, using candles etc. In contrast, during summer, I plan summer sequencing classes with cooling breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditations. Also having the option of being close to the earth by the ocean or outdoors in nature, embracing the Danish outdoors way of life, with the added benefit of historic castles in the background. At this stage I knew in my heart that I was unlikely to return to corporate life for a few years, enjoying my time with my sons, while they were young, and exploring beautiful Copenhagen. My interest in yoga and wellbeing in general continued to grow, so much so that I decided to do a diploma in nutrition and study neuroscience. I now run regular wellbeing workshops, which include Yoga, Mindfulness and Nutrition. I find it very rewarding. I am currently studying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which complements and enhances Yoga and Nutrition, aligning with the whole health concept. I am very appreciative of the opportunity that yoga has given me and the many avenues and lifelong learnings.
While I live in Copenhagen, Denmark, I am originally from London, UK and have lived in Sydney, Australia for ten years. I have learnt that through Yoga, Union or Connection can be found anywhere in world with anyone, regardless of language, culture, age, gender, shape or size. It is universal and open to everyone. The ancient philosophy and meditations I have learnt has led me to a more meaningful and compassionate way of life. It is that place and connection within that we all share, regardless of labels.