In 2019 I was in the hospital recovering from a traumatic car accident. When I was able to walk again, my health team suggested adding yoga and meditation back to my daily routine. The first time I got back on the mat, the yoga teacher led the class with anecdotes about being present and thankful. I was shocked to learn that Natalie Asatryan, the wise yogi who helped me cultivate a peaceful mind after many anxious months, was only 13 years old, which made her the youngest certified yoga teacher in America.
Natalie’s yoga journey began in kindergarten when a friend’s parents invited her to attend a class. “All I needed was that (first grade) and I was absolutely thrilled. I couldn’t wait for Tuesday to come back, ”she says. In elementary school, she tried various activities but didn’t connect with anything other than yoga. At the age of 8, Natalie took her mother’s yoga classes. As her passion for mindful practice grew, she was surprised that most of her friends had never heard of it. Then she knew that she had to take action to share the joy and peace she experienced through yoga with as many people as possible.
When Natalie told her mother she wanted to be a yoga teacher, she encouraged her to be anything she wanted when she was growing up. Natalie corrected herself and said, “I want to teach yoga now. “Her mother found a studio with an upcoming teacher training course, but when she asked if her daughter could attend, they were turned away. Frustrated but determined, they called and visited studio after studio. Three years later, they finally got the yes they’d been waiting for. “We couldn’t believe it! The teacher said she would meet with me before the training started and if she thought I was mature enough she would allow me to attend, but no promises, ”she says. The then 12-year-old certainly impressed the instructor and Natalie completed the 200-hour curriculum. In addition to her teacher certification, Natalie is also a member of the Yoga Alliance, a non-profit organization committed to maintaining integrity, safety and accessibility within the yoga community.
At the age of 15, Natalie used her platform to bring about change on and off the mat. Through her yoga classes and public speaking, she hopes to motivate “a new paradigm of intellectually active, spiritual children and adolescents” and encourage girls to pursue their passions at all ages. For the past three years, Natalie has been traveling the country teaching her mindful sessions (due to COVID-19, her courses are currently online) and promoting self-care. The proceeds have generated thousands of dollars, all of which have been donated to the various charities that they support, including the Red Cross and Red Nose Day. The youthful yogi, entrepreneur, and philanthropist is deeply involved in the Unstoppable Foundation’s efforts to provide education, health care, clean water, and sanitation to a Kenyan village.
As she continues to grow in her practice and uniquely shape the world, Natalie’s altruism and accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. She graced the cover of LA Yoga and received several awards, including a Global Youth Award from Round Table Global for educational innovation – demonstration of leadership. Natalie recently partnered with Holy TV, a platform dedicated to the daily exchange of inspiration.
When asked what she sees for her future career, Natalie says, “I’m only 15 years old and I’m finding this out, but I hope I can inspire others to know that there is no age limit for the world to change . “