If you look at the origins of the word Yoga – Sanskrit for ‘yoking’ or ‘union’ – and Nomad – to ‘wander’, or adopt the lifestyle of an intrepid itinerant, you get an insight into how Hoi An’s ‘Nomad Yoga’ came into existence.
Natalie Devoy first came to Vietnam in 2005. Originally from a small fishing village in the Northeast of Ireland, Natalie pursued a career in hospitality working in 5-star hotels in the US and Holland. Yearning for a break from the fast-paced hospitality industry, she came to Vietnam through Volunteer Service Overseas. This gave her the sea change she craved and enabled her to contribute to a new community in a meaningful way.
Natalie trained teachers at a hospitality college in Hue for 2 years. When her VSO came to and end, she found she wasn’t ready to leave Vietnam. She started working with the Life Resort group which brought her to Hoi An. During her time at Life Resorts, Natalie developed a keen interest in massage.
She was then invited to take on the role of Spa Manager at Hoi An’s ground-breaking Fusion Maia Resort – the world’s first spa-inclusive resort. There she honed her skills in the health and wellness field of hospitality.
After 3 years at Fusion Maia and having obtained a Diploma in Nutrition, Natalie decided to take a sabbatical to undertake further study and see more of the world. She completed a course in anatomy and massage at the renowned Chiva Som Academy in Bangkok and went on to Nepal where she went on a yoga retreat that was life-changing.
Natalie had been practising yoga for a number of years but it wasn’t until she worked with the Rishikesh yogis in Nepal that she became truly passionate about the holistic benefits of yoga. She travelled to India and took the 200-hour course at the Rishikul Yogshala yoga school where she followed the teachings of Swami Rama and was introduced to Ashtanga Vinyasa, Hatha and meditation.
When Natalie returned to Hoi An, she found she missed the Rishikesh style of teaching and invited her yoga teacher, Vipin, to come to Hoi An for 2 weeks. Through word of mouth every class filled up for the duration of his stay. Vipin and Natalie discussed the possibility of opening a yoga centre in Hoi An that specifically offered the styles of yoga that she had learned in Rishikesh.
She found a location with a dining space downstairs and perfect light and airy studio space upstairs – roomy enough for at least 10 people to do yoga comfortably. She skyped Vipin immediately and asked him to send a teacher over – and Nomad Yoga was born. The studio moved into its larger premises in 2018 and is set to expand further.
Natalie has plans for Nomad Yoga to be at the heart of a holistic wellness quarter in Hoi An that will be a regular haunt for those living permanently in Hoi An – and a haven for those nomads passing through.
What started out as a small studio with one yoga teacher and a big vision – Nomad has been at the heart of the wellness movement in Hoi An and Natalie continues to grow a wellness hub that will be a must visit for both local and international nomads.