IYTA Yoga Teacher Training Saved My Life!

IYTA Yoga Teacher Training Saved My Life!

Posted by Katie Brown, 22-Sep-2021

It may seem like a big claim, but Natalie Purden credits the IYTA’s Diploma of Yoga Teacher Training with saving her physically, emotionally and mentally. Here she tells why… 

Natalie moved to the beautiful isle of Tasmania at the beginning of the pandemic – in that time she’s started working as a barber and developed her yoga business: Yoga Focus.

Since graduating from the IYTA’s Diploma of Yoga Teaching in 2014, Natalie’s simplified her life. She says: “I just cut hair and teach yoga… In the past I’ve complicated my life – but now I’m living the dream!”

She adds: “Yoga has shown me that when things are right, they all fall into place – there are no roadblocks, in fact the road becomes wider.”

Home is now in Launceston with a back deck overlooking three mountains, with partner Sacha who she says is one of the happiest and easiest-going people you could ever meet.

Natalie, 47, discovered yoga in a very unlikely location – she was creating a will at her local solicitor’s firm while living in Griffith, NSW. Her solicitor invited her to join the weekly yoga class that was held once a week in the back of the main office.

After that first class, she was hooked.  At the time she was in her early 30s, but could barely keep up with the other students aged 55+!

Her partner at the time would literally push her out of the door to encourage her to attend her “yoghurt sessions,” she laughs.

Then at 34, she moved to Victoria and began attending Val Fraser’s classes. Val was an IYTA member – and told Natalie about the IYTA Yoga Teacher Training Course, so in 2013 Natalie enrolled as a correspondence student (with Val as her mentor) and immediately she knew she’d found her tribe.

She says: “I chose the IYTA because it’s a not-for-profit organisation and it is filled with people who have a very big heart. Everyone’s intentions were very pure and I am sure most yoga teachers are like that – but I found it to be extra true with the IYTA!”

She was also keen to study with the IYTA as the qualification is recognised internationally.

But what really impressed Natalie was how quickly her health issues eased once she’d enrolled in the course.

She says: “My health was quite bad when I started the diploma, I had dozens of food intolerances and allergies. I was highly stressed and had trouble sleeping.

One of the main turning points were the pranayama sessions on the course where Natalie learnt the full diaphragmatic breath which led to her slowing her breathing and she began to experience a deep sense of relaxation.

Her stress levels reduced and her body began to heal and rejuvenate. Her sleep improved, allergy issues such as rashes and itches eased, her anxiety levels dropped, she found it easier to focus and even looked younger!

She also changed her diet – opting for more Sattvic foods such as vegetables, gluten-free grains, rice milk and cold pressed oils.

She says: “I learnt how to breathe into the postures and could feel myself coming out of a state of flight or fight and feeling more grounded. Even now if I don’t do my yoga practice – even for a few days – I can sense myself feeling anxious and not sleeping as well – as soon as I do my yoga, I’m a different person again.”

Today Natalie is about to add more classes to her teaching schedule and has just taken on the role of Tasmania Rep for the IYTA. She is keen to connect with other IYTA members in the state and encourages others who are keen to develop their yoga knowledge to get in touch.

She says: “I’m still learning about the role and attending the IYTA Committee meetings, but I’d love in time to create an IYTA yoga community here and support people as they go through the course, as Val mentored me.”