An interview with Nicole Wild Collective
...on yoga, authenticity, and finding your true passion
Nicole Wild is no stranger to the yoga scene. As a Bozeman-based yoga instructor, yoga photographer, and private studio owner, Nicole's passion for her craft shows. Her up and down journey has taught her so much about life, love, and what it truly means to live whole. Spreading kindness and compassion to others has become one of Nicole's lifelong goals. And she is well on her way to success.
So I wanted to check-in with Nicole - see what she does on a daily basis, what it's like being fully engulfed in the yoga world, and how in the hell she stays so calm and collected. I'm so excited to have her on TWR as my January guest in a monthly series I call Meet the SQUAD. I know you will enjoy her good vibes as much as me.
1. So tell us, who is Nicole Wild?
My name is Nicole Wild, and I am a 20-something Montanan (but I think I lived on the beach in my past life) with a huge heart for love and growth. I am mostly self-employed, with a schedule built around doing what I love the most: yoga and photography. I have been teaching yoga for 2.5 years around the Bozeman area and I have no doubt that I’ll be teaching until I die. Photography has the other half of my heart, which is a passion that has grown with time and dedication. I photograph mostly weddings and yoga, with the occasional family portrait or landscape shot, too!
2. What would your ideal day look like?
My ideal day would be somewhere sunny and warm, exploring a new place I’d never been to before. I’d try out their local yoga studio, eat good food and be with those I love. I’d love to host a yoga workshop or class and then spend the sunset making yoga portraits somewhere beautiful. I’d read a book, I’d edit photos, I’d write, and then I’d probably go to bed by 9pm – ha!
3. Being in the yoga industry, what does yoga mean to you?
Oh man, this is big. Yoga means more and more to me every day. Without a doubt, it is the path of my life. Some days I think about yoga all day long, and some days it’s simply a subconscious part of how I move through my day. I started practicing yoga around the age of 17, which is a huge time of transformation for anyone. My infatuation with yoga certainly didn’t form overnight, but with a bit of time, it became a safe space for me to grow into myself little bits at a time. I shed many old layers that were no longer authentic to me, I built the confidence to explore new things and I felt passion in a way I hadn’t felt before. I lost about 40 pounds and gained a spark in my eye and a curiosity about life and the world that was unfamiliar but intriguing. Yoga very quickly became much bigger than a physical practice to me. It is in every moment of every day – how present can I be in my interactions with others? Can I meet challenge and frustration with compassion and understanding? Can I confront the parts of myself that I am not proud of, and do the work to become somebody who functions solely from love and grace? These are the big questions of yoga to me. Don’t get me wrong; I love to stand on my hands and to feel the freedom and exhilaration that comes with pushing my physical practice. I also believe in keeping my body healthy through exercise, sweat, and lots of movement. But this practice is so much bigger than that.
4. What advice would you give someone looking to get into the yoga practice?
There are so many doorways into yoga. It’s incredible, really, all the different ways you may find yourself in this expansive and magical practice. A lot of people find their doorway in by going to a hatha or vinyasa class at a local studio. Even this is broad because there are so many different styles of yoga. I always suggest that beginners go to every teacher’s class on the schedule that is suitable to beginners. Sometimes you need to hear information in a few different ways before you find someone that teaches in a way that clicks with you. Explore your options for yoga classes! Don’t give up if your first experience isn’t what you hoped it would be. This is a process and it might take some time to click. Other doorways into yoga could include meditation, chanting, breathing practices, reading philosophy books, or watching TED talks or Youtube videos about various topics such as mindfulness. Asana or the physical practice, is just one of 8 limbs of yoga.
5. Have you ever struggled with your health and fitness? If so, how did you overcome these struggles?
I first started dipping my toes into the water of the health, wellness and fitness world as an overweight and unhappy 18 year old. Many years later I’m just now feeling like I’ve found my groove. It’s been such a process. I have been an over-eater. I have been an under-eater. I have been gluten free. I have been put on a million supplements and natural medications by a naturopath. I have been taken off of them all by my medical doctor. Once in high school I ordered one of those diet systems with frozen foods and strict guidelines. I have under-exercised. I have over-exercised. It wasn’t until I could let go of it all and listen to my body and my moral beliefs that I felt I was truly healthy, not only physically, but mentally as well. I have recently transitioned into a primarily vegan diet. My reasons behind this were based in non-violence toward animals and to make smarter choices for our environment, but I also feel better than I’ve ever felt, which was an incredible and somewhat surprising plus.
6. Your top 3 rules to live by when it comes to your health.
1. Everything in Moderation
2. Continue to check in with yourself and adapt to what your body needs – what works today may not work for you next month and vice versa. Don’t be so rigid with it. Let it be fun and explorative rather than restrictive and stressful. Take it seriously, but don’t take it (or anything) too seriously.
3. YOU DO YOU
7. How do you stay fueled throughout your day?
As I mentioned, my diet has recently shifted into a primarily vegan diet. I am in a big learning curve about how to fuel my body correctly without any animal products, and so far it has meant eating a lot of smaller meals throughout the day rather than a few big ones.
It’s 1pm, and so far I’ve had:
- 7:30am A green smoothie with coconut-based yogurt, fruit, spinach, flaxseed, chia seed, coconut flakes, and pea-based milk. Topped with granola, goji berries, and almonds.
- 9:30am An sprouted grain cinnamon/raisin muffin with peanut butter and homemade jelly on it
- 11:30am Leftover roasted Brussel sprouts, green beans and potatoes from last night’s dinner.
- I’m planning to make vegan mushroom risotto or burrito bowls for dinner, and I’m sure I’ll have snacks both before and afterwards!
8. You’ve got some serious goals set for yourself. What’s in store for the coming
Right now I feel like I am kind of all over the place, in a really good way. I have my hands in so many different pots between photography and yoga, and I am loving every minute of it. I just launched a Yoga blog, called Yoga Off The Mat, which is meant to be an approachable resource for people to deepen their yoga practice outside of the studio. I have some big photo projects coming my way, including a full summer of wedding photography and a trip to France to take yoga photos for a retreat center’s website. I’ll be finishing the requirements needed so that I can begin to lead teacher trainings in the next handful of years. I just want to keep growing and working with awesome individuals whose goals align with mine. I never want to put limits on what I will or won’t do because I don’t know what the future will bring but I want to keep moving forward and both taking the opportunities that come my way along with making opportunities that I think would be worthwhile or fun.
9. The most motivating advice you’ve ever received?
I don’t remember her words exactly, but I was in a tough spot about a year ago and a woman who I’ve looked up to for a long time told me something like, “Whatever you do, do it with a good heart. You can’t possibly make a bad decision or regret it in the future because you’ll have made your decisions from a loving place.”
10. What are some of your favorite yoga wardrobe pieces?
This has been on my mind a lot lately, actually! There has been a lot of talk about some of the major yoga clothing companies being run by non-yogi men with many negative stories/claims against them. I have mixed feelings on this. I consider myself a yogi, but I also consider myself a business-person, and while I don’t know the CEOs or all of the facts behind these stories, Alo and Lululemon make high quality gear that doesn’t seem to wear down or tear or cause wardrobe malfunction. It’s hugely important to me that when I’m at the front of the room demonstrating funky shapes to a group of 20 people, my pants aren’t see-through. However, I’m really intrigued to look into some smaller companies that may be a little bit more “yogi” inspired, such as Outdoor Voices which is created by a young 20-something girl whose clothing is meant to inspire people to be active and bold, without promoting competition or unhealthy levels of fitness for the sake of looking good.
11. What does #GIRLGETAFTERIT mean to you?
“Girl, get after it” means don’t hold back. Stay true to yourself and do all of the things that your heart gets curious about. Don’t worry about what people will think or whether it’ll be successful, just fucking do it.
Use the code GIRLSQUAD and take 10% off your first order!