Julie Martin Worldwide
When I think of Julie, it’s her voice that I hear…it is so clear not only in what she is communicating, but her speech itself is so succinct, her voice rich. Her voice is almost a yoga in itself, it only adds to the clarity of what she is communicating, what she wants to say. Sounds corny I’m sure, but truly communication is a gift for Julie and she has been given such a powerful tool with which to share it. So when she told me, “I teach because I have an inherent desire to communicate information”, I wasn’t surprised. She added, “If I didn’t teach yoga, I’d teach something else. It’s the recognition of being able to clearly express ideas, concepts, and possibilities to others and let them do with that information what feels right. It’s not about trying to get someone to do something that appears to be yoga. It is more important to give guidelines and knowledge to allow the students space and time to let their own yoga unfold”… yes, yes, yes…I love this! Practical and to the point.
Needless to say, Julie doesn’t adhere to one yoga lineage, she teaches what she knows without putting names to it. This is so evident in my experience of Julie as there is such a fluid and free experience when taking her classes. I think they demonstrate what yoga is to her, “one’s own internal unfolding and it doesn’t have to fit anyone else’s ideas or expectations.” There is such a free spirit in Julie that is so beautifully connected to her intelligence. And perhaps is due to the yoga practice she was raised by…” my parents brought us up as Advaita Vendanta. I never knew anything else and couldn’t understand until I was about age ten or twelve that everyone didn’t meditate at home, or knew about the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, etc.”
She described her first experience of yoga as asana: it was an Iyengar class, which she attended because of knee injuries from years of dance, “I remember my body felt good afterwards but the teacher was really harsh and I hated that. I continued because my knees started to heal.” Today, her own classes, workshops and Yoga Teacher Trainings are so easily accessible…she goes to where her students are, offering trainings throughout the world. Julie has students everywhere who “seem to still want to hear what (she) has to say”, so she goes where they are.
The classes that have an impact on Julie the most are the ones when “I feel I just showed up, guided intuitively and walked away without acknowledging I had anything to do with what just happened in class. Each student had their own experience and can take that away with them. I’m just a messenger.” Essentially wanting for her students the same individual freedom of practice that she has so benefited from.
When asked what yoga offers her, it was so uniquely put by Julie though not a unique concept in itself…but incredibly refreshing to hear from a person of her experience: “It allows me to continue to learn, if I’m going to be honest about what is evolving in our understanding of what it means to be a yogi in this modern day and age. It is very confusing. And I strive to understand developments in anatomy as well as philosophy. Nothing is as it appears, more often than not…so yoga drives me to learn more. “
Teaching yoga began for Julie because she was already teaching dance and she wanted her dance students to learn yoga to prevent injury (“…hilarious that so many injuries are now coming from the yoga and the way people practice”…she adds). She started at a time twenty years ago, when there were very few teachers, so she was encouraged to go ahead and start teaching…”It was a pivotal point in my life as I had only intended to do it “alongside” dance, choreography and teaching dance. But as soon as people found out that Sting and Madonna did Ashtanga yoga (that was what I was teaching at the time) it became my main source of income as I had more offers to teach yoga than anything else”. This seems so common for teachers like Julie…that yoga almost seemed to find them at the start. And then as she grew, any natural obstacles that have unfolded are seen as an opportunity to practice, as practice begins when the edges get rough.
Julie is so direct, with both feet on the ground around who she is in yoga, that it seems pretty clear to me that her hopes are fulfilled when teaching…” I hope I inspire students and teachers to be authentic within themselves and not care what the rest of the yoga world is up to. I hate what social media has done to yoga.”
My final question to Julie asked what is her favourite aspect of yoga? Her reply: “That it doesn’t belong to anyone.”
This girl is gorgeous!