We had the good fortune of connecting with Natasha Nelson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natasha, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
There are two factors behind the success of MADRE that are equally important: the Integrative Fitness methods that we teach, and the community that is created here. The MADRE methods work synergistically to create wholistic results in the body and mind. People may come in for a good workout (and they’ll get it!), but they end up becoming members because of the far reaching effects they experience in their lives. Our community is mostly women – they arrive as strangers and soon become friends and supporters to each other. When we’re in the studio – pushing ourselves out of comfort zones – knowing and feeling the people around you are truly “in it” with you, lifts everyone to new levels. The fitness and yoga world can be competitive and comparative, but it’s different at MADRE – it’s an inclusive environment; people here are kind and generous with each other. Women may not realize that they want and need this kind of a community, but when they find it they feel at home.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I sometimes joke that MADRE is my very expensive art project. I studied photography and visual arts when I was in college. I’ve since had a winding career path – some highlights have included: owning a restaurant, running a film studio, working as an interior designer, managing projects, and contracting. Behind the scenes of those roles, I taught yoga and fitness for two decades. Every part of MADRE – the environment; the movement methods, the products and details, have all come from a desire to create, and to share my personal vision. I simultaneously step back from it, so that it’s “not about me”, as much as it is about creating an experience for each individual. This is sometimes problematic because people want “a face” of the brand. They want a “celebrity trainer” or influencer-type to be pushing them something. I may train celebrities, but that is not how I market myself. That’s not really my style. In the age of Instagram, it probably works against me, but I don’t care if people know my name. On the other hand, I’ve learned that people will take credit for what you don’t claim. I don’t have any hang ups anymore about making it known that I’ve created the MADRE fitness methods. Did I invent HIIT + yoga workouts? Am I the first person to do trampoline workouts? No, but what you get in every class at MADRE comes from my vision and direction. I’m interested in helping to facilitate people’s deeper understanding of themselves; to connect genuinely to other human beings and to have authentic experiences in an increasingly synthetic world. I’ve created practices and a place for you to experience, above all else, yourself as yourself. The aesthetics of MADRE really convey my intention to create literal and symbolic space for people. MADRE is decidedly neutral with plain white walls and minimal design elements. My goal is to allow our clients to visually decompress from an overstimulating world, so that they can have space in their bodies, minds and hearts to heal, dream and discover; to access new parts of themselves. The classes I’ve created are incredibly effective workouts, and they are also practical methods to guide people back to their own purpose and power. I have designed every aspect of MADRE to create an immersive experience. It’s intuitive expression, it’s energy conduction, it’s movement, it’s architecture, it’s event production. It’s an extension of me, but the end product belongs to the people who come to experience it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When people visit, I always tell them to rent a car. L.A. is so big and there is so much to see and do. I’ve lived here for 25 years off and on, and I am always discovering new things. If it’s beach weather, we are going to the beach, for sure. I have some go-to L.A. places that I always recommend: Gjusta in Venice for babka and coffee, or for lunch, Phillipes in DTLA for French dipped sandwiches and sawdust floors, Highly Likely for lunch in W. Adams, Joy in Highland Park for takeout dinner, Bavel in DTLA for fancy dinner. I have a few shopping recommendations: MADRE for clean beauty and wellness, of course. General Store for home and gifts, Acorn for jewelry and gifts. I love to send people to Fig in Highland Park for walking and shopping and eating along the way. Not to miss sites include Griffith Observatory and Huntington Gardens. I love taking people on drives through neighborhoods to look at houses. L.A. architecture is some of my favorite in all of the world. Hancock park and Pasadena are some of my standard tours.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have so much love for the instructors at MADRE! Each of them brings their individual perspective to the Madre fitness methods, while being true to the signature formats and intentions behind them. The teaching staff come from different experience and movement modalities. They each put their unique stamp on a class. They work so hard to deliver effective and meaningful classes – even now as we work primarily through our virtual platform (we can’t wait to get back into the studio!). They are always striving to level-up as individuals and as a team. The type of collaboration we share makes our work fulfilling and fun. Without the MADRE crew there would be no MADRE! I’m so grateful for their contributions and dedication.
Rachel Banu @rachelbanu