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Fighting Fires and Lighting Fires

Natasha Russell – Student Story

Natasha Russell Fire Fighting Yoga Teacher Natasha Russell began practising yoga in high school where she would take the bus from her hometown in Nova Scotia’s Dartmouth into Halifax each afternoon to practice.

“There was something about doing yoga that I found really important,” Natasha said. “There was the exercise side of it, of course, but I valued it for the aspects I couldn’t put my finger on at the time.”

After high school, Natasha spent some time traveling. Wherever she went, she found herself seeking out the yoga studio. “I loved it. It would help to ground me wherever I was… and yoga studios are a great place to take a shower while you’re travelling!”

Somewhere along the road, Natasha fell into mental illness and found she was turning away from yoga, rather than towards it. “A teacher had told me I should be a yoga teacher one day, so I always had it in my mind but I didn’t like the expectation that that’s what I was going to do.”

She started planting trees in B.C. during the summer months, and at the end of every season, found it difficult to adjust to the drastic change of lifestyle and routine. “When you’re planting trees you get paid for what you plant. It’s physically and mentally demanding. I knew I was doing things that weren’t good for my body but I had to make money. I wasn’t very good at keeping up my own personal yoga practise and I really wanted to get back into it.”

She decided to enrol in the September 2017 intake of the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training course at the Vancouver School of Yoga. But in the summer of 2017, with wildfires burning out of control across the province, the company she planted trees for offered to retrain her as a firefighter and Natasha jumped at the opportunity, postponing her training until January 2018.

Natasha Russell Yoga Teacher “I’ve always felt drawn to the West Coast. I think Vancouver is more progressive in the healing arts so thought it would be the best place to do a Yoga Teacher Training.”

After finishing her 200-hour training with Rebekka Walker, she dived right into the 300-hour Advanced program keen to learn more and share her discoveries with others.

“I love the sharing aspect of teaching and seeing the change in others. When I was in a depressive state I struggled with a lack of purpose. It didn’t sit well for me. Now that I’m learning this healing art, I have a purpose. It’s so beneficial to have tools to use when struggling with mental illness. I’m so excited to share my discoveries with others!”

Natasha is enjoying exploring her niche, learning about different aspects of yoga and being introduced to Ayurveda and other healing practices. After graduating she hopes to continue to learn, travel and teach!

“It was a long, drawn-out journey trying to find out what I wanted to do. This training is just the very start! I feel like I’m a good student for the first time ever. There are so many different paths I can take with this. The fire is lit and I want to burn it in every direction!”

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