Stalked: Natalie Finnie. Ashtanga Yoga Girl, Yogi Blogger
16 November 2016
I would firstly like to clarify that when I call The Ashtanga Girl a yoga blogger I am using the term 'blogger' very loosely, although she records her journey on her blog I would call the gorgeous Natalie a yoga explorer more than anything. I stumbled across her one morning on the bus from my yoga class and I was struck down with how stunning and inspirational her photography was, so there was only one thing to do.. stalk her!!
How did you get into yoga and how has it changed your life?
When I was at university my housemate was really into yoga and she dragged me along to a class. I had no interest in yoga at the time, I was more of a HIIT and spinning kind of person, but after that one class I was hooked!
It was the intense physical workout of Ashtanga yoga that drew me in at first. I wanted the challenge of mastering such an impressive set of postures. Like so many yogis, I had no idea that what started as a physical practice would turn out to be the beginning of a spiritual journey that would completely shift my perspective of the world.
Yoga has led me to become the healthiest version of myself in every way, from overcoming anxiety and depression, to building physical strength and endurance. I used to struggle with bad eating habits too, but with consistent practice of the ethics of yoga (yamas and niyamas) and meditation, I now find that I only ever want to nourish and fuel my body rather than punish it.
You have one of the most fascinating and intriguing Instagram profiling your travels of the world. Like a modern day yogi explorer, what is your mission and what made you decide to travel with yoga at your heart?
Haha that is so kind, thank you! A few months back I was still working a 9-5 corporate job at a big bank in London and it was making me miserable. I was teaching yoga part-time and keeping up with my daily practice but still I felt like I didn't have the time and space to explore yoga in the depth I wanted.
I didn't really know what I wanted, apart from to put my yoga practice right at the centre of my life.
So that's what I did! I applied for some teaching jobs around Bali where I knew there was a buzzing yoga community (and beautiful beaches of course), and 4 weeks later I was on a plane. I don't really have a plan beyond the next few weeks, but somehow opportunities to teach or practice just keep popping up so I'm very much going with the flow!
What words of advise or wisdom would you give to whoever is reading this?
Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga yoga, used to say “Do your practice and all is coming”.
We often get frustrated with our physical practice if we can’t master a certain posture straight away, myself included. Remind yourself that the only thing you need to do is turn up on your mat consistently to do your practice and every posture, no matter how unattainable it might seem right now, will eventually become effortless.
Where do you go to practice when you come back to London and do you have a favourite yoga/athletic brand?
I attend Mysore style Ashtanga classes with my teacher in East London at a studio called Yoga Creation – I love going back there after time away as the warm, cosy studio feels just like home to me!
My favourite brand for yoga gear is probably The Upside - I can't get enough of their patterned leggings.
Five items you can't live without?
1. My Ashtanga yoga rug - I don't carry a mat with me when I'm traveling but I do carry my rug! My sisters bought it for me as a gift so I love to take it with me when I go away
2. GoPro – I’m such an adventure junkie that often a GoPro is often the only camera that I feel confident enough to carry around with me without damaging it
3. Epipen – I’ve got a really bad nut allergy so I probably couldn’t live without having this handy at all times!
4. Herschel bumbag – if I didn’t have this attached to my waist constantly I would have lost all my valuables long ago!