With Courtney Nault of Power Living Manly Beach
The First Sip
It’s a crisp, fresh morning in the heart of Manly Beach, a beach town residing just a 15-minute ferry ride from Sydney’s CBD. I’m excited for my first interview for Balance + Vine with Courtney Nault, studio manager and yogi-extraordinaire.
The best yoga studios are the ones where you walk in and feel like you’re already home; when the people behind the desk greet you like an old friend, and remember your name when you return. And that is exactly what I’ve experienced at Power Living. Founded in 2004 by Duncan Peak, the studio was the first of its kind, solely teaching Vinyasa flow yoga. Since then, they’ve established 9 studios, one being in Manly and managed soulfully by Courtney Nault herself.
A traveler at heart, Massachusetts’ born Nault has been “on the road” since 2008. When we sat down to chat, she was actually celebrating her 2-year anniversary of moving to Manly Beach. Her fiancé is an Australian and actually from Manly, so it seemed only fitting they would choose this place as their home. For now.
In what can only be considered a blessing too sweet to surpass, it was Power Living Studio that inspired Nault to plant roots in Manly. In fact, it was one of her very first stops after flying into the Sydney airport two years ago.
Of course, this is because Nault is an avid yogi. She joined her first yoga class in San Diego, and was instantly hooked. All over the world she has practiced and taught. Prior to Australia, she was teaching yoga to children in Thailand. And when she arrived in Manly Beach, Power Living seemed to just be waiting for her.
and woke up at 5am. So, I went to a class, with the studio manager teaching. She was so pleasant and I absolutely loved her. If I hadn’t found that connection with people, that search for the flight home would have become an actual booked flight home.” – Courtney Nault
Over the course of her two years at Power Living, she has taken her 200-Hr teacher certification, and now become studio manager. Truly her home, she finds she has to remind herself to stay away on her days off… Or at least not start in on her To Do list when she comes in for a practice.
And what a To Do list Nault has right now. Getting married in San Diego later this year, she is planning a long-distance wedding, running a yoga studio with 2,000 bodies per week, and in her free time spending time training at a local gymnastics studio, rock climbing, spending time in the kitchen baking, and keeping up with her own yoga practice. Oh, and spending time with her fiancé, of course.
To compare, I was going to a studio in Thailand for three years; it was a very boutique studio. You practiced on their mats; there were two towels rolled up on each mat, they mopped the floor and mats between each class because they had only four classes per day on their schedule. So, in contrast, when I first started working at Power Living, there was a To Do list with essentially tasks every 15 minutes, because your time flies by here and there is just so much going on.
Sometimes I’ll get in at noon and I teach the 8pm class, and I’ll look at the time and think, “How is it already 5 o’clock?” There are days when you are so busy, you have to be OK with that, knowing that you have the same thing coming at you tomorrow.
So, they come on a buddy pass. They come in with a friend, or they do a drop-in. Most teachers are really good at connecting with them after to see how it went. I always recommend a Level 1 class to someone who’s never practiced yoga. After that, we educate the new person by telling them about our intro pass (1 month unlimited for $49 AUD). It’s important they know it takes about 10 yoga classes to really know what you’re doing.
We call them after about a week to see how they are doing, and make sure they know their options. If they’re on an intro pass, we like to check in about half way through and look at the classes they’ve done. Have they tried the vinyasa and the yin classes? The balance between them is so important. And some people get stuck on Level 1 classes, but there are not as many Level 1 classes on our schedule. So, we like to encourage them to attend a Level 2, letting them know it’s not that scary!
So, that’s what we are doing to make people become more committed; to acknowledge people for practicing yoga. Because that’s really what I want. I just want more people practicing yoga, because I know what it does for you.
I’m part of someone’s first class through their intro until they’re members. I have people that have been members since I started, and I’ve watched their practice and confidence evolve. To be a part of someone’s change like that, that’s why I’m here, that’s why I do it. To support it and witness it.
How do you balance your many hats?
Whenever I’m about to switch roles from studio manager to yoga teacher for example, I have a really awesome coach who once told me, “Do something. Whether or not it’s going upside down for a minute, or going in the back room and taking three mindful breaths, do something to switch off.” So that’s something I’m working on. It’s going really well.
For me, the way I balance it is having support in those different aspects. For example, I have the person that helps me with my teaching and sits me down and holds me accountable there. I have the regional manager that helps me with my studio manager role. Etc.
For me, the classes are challenging in the sense I need to make sure everyone is practicing yoga for longevity, and not bringing harm on themselves. It’s a class to dive deep, and find out what they’re confused about in their practice. It’s very much about getting them into their body so they feel aware enough to advance to a Level 2 class. To watch someone evolve, it’s awesome!
yes! I get as big as I can, sometimes even forgetting the alignment! You can sort of turn off in other poses. But for me in Ardha Chandrasana, I’m there, ever present.
How do you connect with your fiancé with your busy schedule?
He unfortunately tends to be the one that suffers the most. Because I commit to all these things! But he always says, “Go ahead, Court.” He’s definitely the most understanding. He won’t fire me. I like to be busy, but he also knows when to call me out. “Court, slow down… Stop doing your 6am trainings when you’re teaching until 10pm.” I also come home and find he has made my lunch and dinner. He’s amazing.
We love to travel together. We went to Canberra this past weekend. There’s more things like that, like planning a wedding. That in itself is hanging out!
Is drinking alcohol a part of your lifestyle?
I don’t drink a lot but when I do, I get really excited! I love live music. There’s something amazing about having a craft beer while watching live music. I’m flirting with wine. In the States, I never would drink wine. I had red wine once and I put ice in it and Greg was like, “You can’t do that. You just drink it room temperature.” OK… So, I don’t drink wine much. When I go out, I usually order beer because it’s bigger and lasts longer!
What truly inspires me about Nault is her unequivocal desire to create a strong community. When asked if she would consider being featured for my blog, there was absolutely no hesitation and in fact managed to compliment me and my blog on her quick reply. She thrives on supporting and uplifting the community that surrounds her, making her a truly fantastic studio manager and wonderful person, from the inside out.
“I love the support I have from the other yoga teachers. Our teachers are amazing, and they see you. There can be up to 60 people in a room, but they’re still looking. They’re teaching for longevity, and not just for the moment. We have the head office in Manly studio. It’s amazing to watch the marketing team do what they’re doing, and the programs team do what they’re doing.” – Courtney Nault
From her bright smile to her funky spirit, Nault is truly a treasure on and off the mat.
My first eBook is arriving in September 2017!
Leave your info here and you will be the first to receive it FREE!
Leave your comment below, and hit the Like button to help me
expand the Balance + Vine community!
Jamie is an American girl residing in Sydney, Australia. Not sure which she loves more: yoga or wine, Jamie created a blog all about both, and everything in between!