Natalie Canizares is a lifestyle coach and yoga instructor with a mission to help women lead more confident and empowered lives. Here we chat with her about what's in store for 2017.
Occupation: Yoga Instructor, Lifestyle Coach, Dancer
Who is Natalie Canizares?
What a question! I'm Cuban-American, artistic, sensitive, driven... I'm a performer, an artist, and a yogi... I'm passionate about wellness and I love sunshine. I'm a lot of things, but one thing yoga has taught me is that above all I'm a spiritual being having a human experience.
Tell us about what you do?
When I teach yoga I help people connect with themselves through movement and breath. With coaching it's very similar, I help clients connect with themselves so that they can discover their own unique truth.
What’s your morning routine look like?
It honestly varies from day to day. One thing I do consistently is not check my phone until I've left my bedroom (I highly recommend trying this) and then I drink a glass of water and a cup of coffee and spend some time in quiet. I've found that giving myself time to slowly come "online" is really helpful. After that my morning routine varies- sometimes I do a little bit of yoga or meditation or sometimes I run out the door.
How did you first get started with yoga?
My freshman year of college there was an elective yoga class and I signed up for it. Being a dancer, I was interested in learning more about yoga as a physical practice but what I ended up finding was also a spiritual practice.
Can you guide us through some poses?
I like to get started in Easy Pose/ Sukhasana with my eyes close. You can get into this pose by simply sitting with your legs crossed. Once you're seated with your shins crossed and your knees wide, lengthen your spine and allow your shoulders to relax, place the backs of your hands on your knees with your palms facing up and then close your eyes. Once you're sitting up tall with your eyes closed, begin drawing in some nice deep, expansive breaths.
Downward Facing Dog/ Adho Mukha Svanasana is great pose to build strength and flexibility. Get started on your hands and knees in tabletop. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips. Spread your fingers wide and ground down through every single knuckle. Tuck your toes and lift your knees coming into down dog. You can walk your feet backwards a bit to adjust the length of your pose. Make sure your feet are just hips width distance with all 10 toes facing the front of the room and the heels disappearing behind the toes. Reach your heels toward the mat, even if they don't reach, imagine there's a magnet pulling your heels gently closer to the earth. Draw your belly button toward your spine, activating your core muscles, and ground down into your hands, lengthening through the sides of your torso. You can allow your focus to be toward your belly or between your feet. And most importantly, BREATHE.
Any advice for someone just starting out?
Be kind to yourself, be patient. Yoga is about much more than the asanas (the physical poses) their are 7 other limbs to yoga, so even if the physical part is challenging you can practice yoga off that mat. One of the limbs is Pranayama/ breath- practicing that is just as important as practicing the poses.
How has yoga influenced your lifestyle?
It's encouraged me to live a kinder life in general. One of the yamas in yoga is ahimsa which means nonviolence- that really resonates with me. Since doing my yoga teacher training I've returned to being vegetarian (practicing ahimsa in my diet) and I've also learned how to be kinder to myself.
What do you hope for yourself in 2017?
I hope to start making art again in 2017. I'm a dancer/choreographer but took a few years off from focusing on that and this year I'm so ready to bring my attention and intention back to creating art.
What do you hope for the world in 2017?
I hope the world will practice and experience more ahimsa (non violence) and kindness in 2017. We need it.
Say something to your generation.
I see a lot of people in my generation taking the path less traveled in life and career and I would just encourage us to continue doing that. Let's follow our hearts and allow them to lead the way!
You can find Natalie here at Space 15 Twenty on Sunday January 15th, 2017 from 11-1pm for a Wellness Workshop in partnership with HUM Nutrition. Check out more details on the event using the link below.