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Meet Natalie Zimmerman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Zimmerman.

Natalie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My story has two parts. One as a screenwriter and the other as a yoga and mindfulness instructor, and how I brought the two together.

I’ve kept a journal since I was ten and have considered myself a writer ever since. As a kid, I would write poems and little stories. In high school, I wanted to be a film director. Being from a small town, that was the only behind the scenes position I knew about. I didn’t know anyone who was a screenwriter and it never even crossed my mind that it was a career option. It wasn’t until college that I decided that my path was screenwriting. Right out of undergrad I enrolled in the UCLA Professional Program for Screenwriting. That was my first foray into the craft and the technicalities of screenwriting.

After that, my path took a different turn. I was burnt out from working the film festival circuit while writing on the side and wanted something steady. I transitioned into public relations and writing was put on the back burner, as I climbed the corporate ladder. When the company I was working for was purchased by a larger corporation I took a step back. Do I stay in PR or do I focus on screenwriting? I chose to roll the dice with both and see which stuck.

I applied to the American Film Institute screenwriting MFA program and to new jobs. When I got into AFI I took it as the sign that I needed. Maybe it was the New Age yogi in me, but I went for it.

While working the corporate PR job I furthered my yoga practice with a 200-hour teacher training program through YogaWorks. I taught yoga to my colleagues and had private students. Through this, and some personal hardships, I dove deeper into a meditation practice outside of yoga class.

My friend and I began to teach yearly summer classes where we combined yoga and journaling to help students open up to their creative potential. I was then inspired to lead my own classes and workshops, where it wasn’t just based on opening up your creativity, but different themes and how students could take these healing methods and incorporate them into their daily lives. I combined my love of writing and journaling with mindfulness.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think anything is ever a smooth road, especially things that are worth your heart and passion. There are still struggles. Being a freelance writer is always about finding the next job and the same goes for being an entrepreneur. I have to reach out to brands and companies for collaborations and classes. When you love what you do and are your own boss, it’s a constant hustle.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I’m a screenwriter who leads workshops and classes that combine guided meditation, yoga, and journaling. I start by grounding students with restorative yoga to give them a sense of ease and relaxation. Next, we let the pen flow through a curated journaling session followed by meditation and self-reflection.

I develop my workshops around themes relating to the seasonal changes, earth elements, and cosmic consciousness. For private and small group events I work with the host to create a theme based on the occasion and setting, whether it’s a day retreat in the Santa Monica Mountains or a girl’s night cozy at home.

I have used these different modalities in my own life to work through challenges, reflect, and to create a greater sense of peace and gratitude. And it’s not just me who believes in these benefits. There are scientific research and psychology studies that prove how yoga/meditation can repair the central nervous system and journaling provides insight into self-improvement. I actually think that yoga, in tandem with meditation, and journaling provide the same benefits. It’s all about gaining this greater sense of self, whether you’re trying to reach nirvana or not, it helps you process your thoughts and emotions to become a more conscious human.

There’s more to my workshops than teaching journaling and opening up your creativity – although it will do that, too.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I approach my classes with the motto — this has worked for me, let’s be open to the possibility that it can benefit you as well. I’m not trying to force my beliefs on anyone or say that everyone must do yoga and meditate. Not at all. I might be a little too New Age and woo-woo for some people, and I’m ok with that. My yoga and journaling practices have helped me to be more mindful and I want to share that with others.

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Image Credit:

Abigail Collins

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