Hi and thanks for visiting!
My name is Natalie Kennedy and I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and now live in Irvine, California.
All throughout adolescence, I was debilitated monthly by extreme menstrual pains that were shrugged off by both my family and doctors as hereditary. I would pray that my initial days of my period would start on a weekend so I wouldn't have to miss school. My options were painkillers to remain functional or hormonal birth control. For 9 years I took exorbitant amounts of pain meds just to make it through the day (6 pills a day X 3 days/month X 9 years... do the math), and then at 21 I went on the pill, which masked my symptoms but nearly destroyed my relationship with my partner, as I completely lost physical attraction towards him, along with other odd side effects that were deemed "normal." The painkillers ruined my gut and my gut bacteria, which was giving me lots of gas and fatigue with every meal, but without the medications I was doubled over in pain every time Aunt Flo arrived.
I decided to study pharmaceutical sciences at UC Irvine, because I loved biology and chemistry and the human body, and also to understand how drugs worked in partnership with our physiology. I also enrolled in a yoga teacher training program with Mixx Yoga under Dr. Mitra Hooshmand. Although this was my first introduction to wellness, I was still hooked on the pill and had no knowledge of functional medicine.
In summer of 2013 my mom and I went to visit my grandparents in Russia, where we lived in a "dacha": a Russian cottage within a small village. I had been coming every other summer since I was little and spent my initial days being bored, as there was no wifi, no computer, no car, no flushing toilet, no microwave, and no air conditioning. We did however have an enormous garden full of veggies, a chicken coop with fresh eggs, a milkman that came by every week, an outhouse, a well for water, bikes, books, puzzles, playing cards, baskets for harvesting mushrooms in the enormous forests, lots of mosquitos, and a river a 5 minute walk away. There was no need for makeup or shoes for weeks on end. After the initial boredom wore off, my nervous system would reset and I'd start savoring the smallest of pleasures like fresh raspberries and peas, ice cream, and working on puzzles with my mom.
That summer I had already been dating Preston for a few months. Thanks to the delicious food he'd introduced to me, I had gained about 15 lbs, and acquired a gnarly amount of cystic acne on my jaw, hairline, and the backs of my ears. I spent 5 weeks in the dacha and all 15 pounds melted off with zero effort whatsoever.
I had no idea this had happened until I came home and friends were shocked by my appearance. When I stepped on the scale, I shocked myself. I had not even tried to lose weight! It was this realization-- that my body was always entirely and unconditionally dedicated to healing itself, without any magic pills-- that spurred me to enter a wellness journey.
I resisted the notion of "holistic wellness" at first-- I was getting my degree in pharmaceutical science after all! But my biggest breakthroughs in my acne, coming off the pill smoothly, getting my mojo back, and-- this was the big one-- debilitating periods, have happened when I adjusted my food and lifestyle. I wish I could say that health is more complicated than that. However, living simply doesn't mean easily. Living in Irvine (which is starting to feel like Los Angeles some days) in a sustainable, affordable, and simple way is incredibly challenging. So I can't say I've totally brought the dacha back here with me! It's a journey I'm on, still, adding small elements each day... and I'd like to bring you with me.
My favorite people to work with are women who are excited to learn about the incredible functions of their bodies and ready to listen to their innate coding to facilitate their personal transformation. I want women to be empowered by their cycles so they can have more intimate relationships, more energy to show up at work and with their families, get pregnant (or not!), have more reliable and pain-free periods, and feel confident with themselves. I did not learn in school how where I am my cycle influences everything I do and crave: chances are, if you haven't done your research, you are missing out on the magic that is in your programming. You just need to get a hold of the manual!
I still teach yoga, too. :) In my personal practice, yoga is Argentine Tango some days and Vinyasa Flow on others. In my classes, I meet the energy and demand of the room, whether it is a "Yoga Sleeping" Meditation, or something as specific as Neck and Shoulder health. Each person and class is different, day to day. I love teaching corporate yoga because companies have this awesome leverage to drive social change, but in order to do so employees must feel creative, energized, and empowered. Through my employee wellness programs I am able to improve the collective health of individuals and therefore the overall wellness of the company. I hope to share these gifts with you!
On a day off you might find me walking through the community garden, planting and harvesting vegetables on my patio, playing with parrots at Omar's birds, weaving macrame, solving a puzzle, being a super cool aunt, dancing Argentine Tango, cooking, or hanging out at Ispa in my birthday suit (shh!).
I look forward to connecting with you,