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Sasha Nelson

by | Mar 27, 2024

In this series, we are interviewing members of our club, so that you can get to know each other a bit better. Today we talk with Sasha Nelson about her life and work in the region.

What brought you to the French Riviera?

I spent a little over 3 years in Paris, and during the confinement periods I was dreaming of living in a place that was more accessible to nature. Because of my former study abroad experience in Cannes back in 2005, I had considered the Côte d’Azur as a viable option.

I didn’t yet know anyone in the South and had built a lovely community in Paris, so I decided to stay in the city until the lease on my apartment was finished in August 2022.

As this was happening, I met my current partner, who eventually happened to receive a postdoctoral position in the French Riviera.

We relocated to Nice in November 2022 and have been blown away by the diverse natural beauty here – it’s pretty incredible to watch my confinement visions come to life.

Could you tell us about your professional career? What do or did you do for work?

I have been teaching yoga and meditation, health coaching and consulting, writing, leading workshops / events and retreats, and writing on these and other related topics since 2012/2013.

Dance is what eventually led me to yoga and initially piqued my interest in the physical body, including our physiological and spiritual responses to things like art and music, emotions and feelings, nature and food, relationships with ourselves and each other, etc.

I had also grown up around Italian Catholic grandparents on my mother’s side, so spirituality was always part of my adolescence in various ways. I studied sustainable fashion in my Master of Fine Art degree, in which my business plan partnered with local ecologically conscious brands.

These and other components naturally culminated into what I do now: teaching yoga and meditation for groups and private clients, conducting corporate wellness classes and workshops, organizing and leading yoga and meditation events and retreats worldwide, collaborating with like-minded ethical brands and products, coaching clients on mindfulness and holistic health, studying and implementing sustainable lifestyle practices, and sharing all of this through virtual classes and writing (my newsletter is still rolling after starting it 11 years ago!).

Why did you decide to start your own business?

During and after the completion of my yoga and health coaching certifications, I worked full-time for an online holistic nutrition school, then part-time for a small organic yoga apparel company.

Throughout that time, I was constantly envisioning what I wanted to teach and write about.

I had started a blog a few years earlier as part of my Master’s Thesis on sustainable fashion (another story!) and had kept it up for the joy of sharing topics and insights that I personally felt were valuable for the health of our minds, our bodies, and our planet.

I was always eager to learn and share more about yoga, mindfulness, spirituality, meditation, anatomy, nutrition, cooking, sustainable lifestyle practices, and holistic healing.

This eventually led to teaching and coaching part-time, and I started my newsletter as a component to engage with a larger audience.

When I picked up more classes and corporate clients, started running retreats and events on my own, and writing for other blogs and publications, I decided to pursue full-time entrepreneurship.

What is your best advice to others thinking about living or working on the French Riviera?

To live and work in the French Riviera is such a privilege and pleasure.

I would advise that people follow their heart / gut / instincts (etc) when deciding where to live and what to do for work if either of those topics feel uncertain.

Certainty will always come, especially when we make decisions and trust ourselves; when we trust that things work out.

If someone has already decided to live and work here, I would encourage them to take advantage of the outdoors (there is an endless well of places to explore!) and to have fun with attending group meetups or in accepting connections that others might make for you.

Take the pressure off of the outcome and the timeline – you never know what you’ll discover, who you’ll meet, who will inspire you, and who might become a great friend or business partner.

Even if things take time, and even if you don’t go to every networking event, there is really so much to enjoy by just being in this beautiful corner of the world.

What are your thoughts on the club and events?

Although I’ve only been able to attend 1 group event, I have really appreciated the group’s consistency in connecting its members via in-person events and online.

It can be very intimidating to show up to a new place – especially as an entrepreneur, and especially as a non-native speaker of the language – and this group does a wonderful job of giving people a nurturing space to integrate.

Fun facts about Sasha Nelson

Since when do you live on the French Riviera?

I moved from Brooklyn to Paris in February 2019, then to Nice in November 2022.

Where are you originally from?

I was born in the suburbs of LA, California.

I moved to the Bay Area for high school, followed by Santa Barbara for university and San Francisco for graduate school, and lived in Brooklyn / NYC for over 8 years before relocating to Paris.

What languages do you speak?

English, French (slowly learning Italian – where my grandfather was born, and German – the native language of my partner).

What is your favourite wine?

Pét-nat, Grüner, or orange wine 🙂

What is your favourite spot on the French Riviera?

My partner and I love to take our SUP boards to the bay of Villefranche-Sur-Mer. I also love the coastal paths of Cap de Nice and Cap d’Antibes.

What French word do you find difficult?

My friend taught me this tongue twister with my name in it – try saying it fast: “Attention Sasha, c’est chaud!”

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