Teacher Bio

Natalie Hammerquist

Natalie is largely self taught, though also benefited from several amazing teachers and mentors along the journey. Cascade Anderson Geller, her first teacher, instilled in her a fierce love and stewardship of the natural world, as well as a compassionate and folky approach to herbalism. When she was 19 years old double majoring in Arabic and Spanish, she discovered herbs and nutrition, which helped her overcome depression, chronic fatigue, asthma and a antibiotic resistant skin infection. Ever since then, she has never stopped learning about this vast field and all the miraculous things that are possible using plants as medicine. Not only did the herbs help her turn around her health, they inspired a career 180 and she went to study botany, nutrition and herbalism at the Evergreen State College.

 

Since then, she has expanded her studies to include Chinese Medicine, several different approaches of western herbalism, plant taxonomy, and more. Natalie has a particular interest in how emotions effect the delicate balance of health, with a particular focus on anxiety and depression.

 

Natalie is a learner and researcher at heart, getting immense joy from the process of understanding and mastering a topic through endless curiosity. She loves and embraces the diversity of approaches that herbalism presents, and loves to study new ways of looking at things and synthesize them into her own approach.

Natalie stumbled upon Chinese Medicine amidst an existential crisis about the lack of complexity in the western herbal tradition. She got to a point in her studies where she felt a dead end with the four element western traditions, which is when she picked up a book on Chinese medicine. After a brief perusal of the book, she already knew that she had found the answers to the questions that western herbalism wasn’t able to answer. Chinese medicine, as Natalie found, provides a complex framework that takes into account the interactions between various energies of the body, how they can become out of balance, how they effect each other, how to use herbs to balance, and how herbs can even create imbalance if used incorrectly. Once she started incorporating her learnings into her own life, she made leaps and bounds in her own health journey and things started to make more sense. Since then she's been incorporating what she's learned into her teachings and using it with clients with great successes.

As a teacher, Natalie has a diversity of experience and extensive background. She started her career teaching English to adults from all over the world  in Portland, OR. During those years, she learned by necessity to make lessons fun and engaging, how to explain a single thing a hundred different ways until something sticks, how to break down advanced concepts into digestible language, how to hold space for vastly different viewpoints and personalities, and how to reach multiple learning styles at once. Natalie is always striving to be the teacher that she would want to have, which means that she is constantly exploring new ways of presenting and facilitating that are more empowering and effective. Because of her background as an ESL teacher, she excels at using group work, visuals, class discussion and hands on work. Her goal is to transform the classroom from a boring place where you’re forced to sit and shut up for 6 hours into a collaborative, multi-sensory, community and social experience.