written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
Born in Greenville, South Carolina, Julie grew up all over the South. She recalls changing locations about every two years. She graduated high school in Scottsdale, Arizona. She returned to Greenville to attend Furman University and describes herself as a ‘southern girl at heart’.
Finally planting some roots, Julie has lived in Maryland for the past 15 years. It’s the longest she has ever lived anywhere! She has three beautiful children, two daughters and a son, adopted from China. “It’s a special path to parenthood and we adore being parents to them!”
“I’m a mom first, and a wife, above all else,” she shares. In the little spare time that she can find, she likes to read, knit and exercise. She also spends time on iTunes. “I love building playlists. It’s one of my hobbies.”
And, she really enjoys pointing out the many benefits of yoga, including —
* Improved Flexibility and Mobility
* Strength Building
* Improved Balance
* Increased Self-Esteem
* Stress Reduction and Management
Julie views yoga as pre-habilitative. “Instead of spending a ton of time in physical therapy undoing stuff, studies show that if you incorporate yoga into your weekly lifestyle (yes, even just once a week!), you’ll be less likely to get injured.” And, you can work on handling the stress in your life at the same time.
“In some of the postures and positions, you’ll be encouraged to focus on a breathing pattern. You may feel like you can’t get enough oxygen into your body. That’s conditioning you. You’re strengthening the part of your body that responds to stress.”
“When there’s a little bit less oxygen and you’re still able to breathe through that, you learn how to function in stressful situations and stay calm. You learn how to not panic but how to tap into your own innate ability to figure it out and to do what you need to do to survive.”
Once Upon A Time, This Yoga Instructor Didn’t Take It Seriously
Julie enrolled in a functional fitness class that was required in college. “I fell in love with running. I didn’t necessarily run super long distances but it was a constant in my life. I never stretched.”
At that time, Julie didn’t picture herself as the type who would ever practice yoga. She didn’t think it was ‘real exercise’. Then, she trained for the Marine Corps Marathon in 2007 and became a little more serious about her running. It was time for yoga.
“I incorporated yoga as a part of my weekly training regiment to stay healthy. I ran injury-free. It was amazing!” She later challenged herself even more by entering a triathlon when she was turning 40.
“I completed it but I was super injured at the end of that process!” Julie never stretched. She found herself trying to remember a time when her ankles didn’t hurt and then recalled her experience with yoga.
“That’s when the light bulb went off and I went back to taking yoga classes. I really started investigating it as a discipline I can incorporate into my life so I can do the things that I love for my whole life.”
That was also the start of Julie’s endeavor to become a yoga teacher. She was an elementary school teacher prior to having kids and found that experience to be an asset when teaching yoga.
“I’m really grateful for my background in education. Not that I teach my yoga students like they’re kindergartners but there can be a lot of mystery around yoga.”
She continues, “People think it’s going to be very spiritual or taught in the Sanskrit language and they’re not going to be able to understand what’s going on. Part of my background as an educator helps me to be able to break it down into relatable chunks.”
Julie Melton Yoga Welcomes Students Of All Levels
Julie finished her yoga teacher training in 2012. “I traveled to China in the middle of my teacher training to bring Levi, our youngest, home.” She recalls her mentality after completing the training. “Get a million classes under your belt. Work out all the kinks. Find your own voice so that you don’t sound like you’re trying to be a yoga instructor.”
“A student who comes into my yoga class feels really comfortable and confident in what they’re doing. There are totally different levels of yoga classes. You start where you are and whatever happens..happens. So, you start as a beginner and you see the progress come in each moment. I teach classes for all different levels.”
“It’s a slow progress in yoga. Sometimes, there can be frustration. Our culture is really wired to perform and achieve.” But, Julie makes it an enjoyable experience. “I say goofy things and make jokes that nobody laughs at! We just have fun! It’s really fun to challenge yourself and accomplish new things.”
Most classes are an hour, although some run for seventy-five minutes. There are also some specialty classes available. They’re more endurance oriented and can last up to two hours. “They’re like workshops. There might be a lecture involved. It’s not all exercise for the full two hours.”
Entrepreneurship Is Balancing A Math Equation
“I need to be contributing. It’s a math equation. I want to — and I need to — contribute to the family budget, with kids going to college. And, I really believe in being able to do what you’re passionate about. The way that made the most sense was not to be working for someone else but to be working for myself.”
So, after instructing classes in a big gym and the studio where she practiced, Julie went out on her own. “It’s been great! There’s a really steady incline in clients but at a pace that’s bite-sized. It’s really good organic growth.”
“I really want to be in alignment. That’s a part of yoga, too. It’s feeling like things are aligned with who you really are. Not forcing a square peg into a round hole. It’s a risk and scary at the same time but it really feels good inside to feel that alignment that I’m choosing what’s the right thing for me right now.”
Julie’s Greatest Challenge Was Standing Out In A Field With A Bazillion Instructors
“The market is flooded. There are a bazillion yoga instructors! So, the greatest challenge was differentiating myself and really being able to reach my particular client base. And, learning a lot of new skills and social media.”
Julie’s personality and ability to put everyone at ease contributes greatly to the growth of her own yoga instruction business. “I really believe that it’s about creating community, friendship and a warm environment for people. I work really hard to allow that to happen.”
If she could turn back the hands of time and give herself some advice, she knows exactly what it would be. “Remember your yoga. Life is a flow. Don’t worry about the one moment or the one negative. Focus on the very next step and being very faithful to that next step and everything is going to work out. You don’t need to stress.”
Making A Difference Every Time She Teaches A Class
“I can remember a time when a student was struggling with a particular issue with her knees. We did a one-on-one class that was all oriented toward strengthening the right muscles to help support her in what was going on with her knees.”
“It’s not taking the place of a doctor or traditional medical system at all but sort of coming along side and supporting her. She finished class and she felt so good. Her knees didn’t hurt and she practically had tears in her eyes thanking me.”
“I felt really lucky that I have studied and that I’m able to pass that on to other people and help them. That’s what it’s all about for me.”
Julie Melton Really Believes That Yoga Is For Everyone!
“I really want it to be accessible to the everyday person. I’m not some guru type of Yogi who’s going to speak in a way that doesn’t make sense. I really think that yoga has a strong benefit for every person. It’s about finding the right class.”
“My class might not be the right one but seeking it out and finding the class that works for you so you can experience happiness, feel stronger, learn how to cope in stressful situations and getting a better night’s sleep — those are all the things that, over and over, we see yoga producing in people’s lives.”
Julie recommends yogainternational.com for practiced yoga enthusiasts and also for yoga newcomers who are simply curious and want to learn more about the benefits. “They have articles about how yoga helps you and yoga routines you can do on your own!”
It’s Not About Being Perfect!
When asked to share one of her favorite quotes, Julie selects one by Sri Pattabhi Jois, “one of the main people who brought yoga to the western culture.” The quote? “Practice. Practice. All is coming.”
Julie explains, “It’s not about being perfect. It’s about doing the work that’s in front of you and trusting that you’ll know what to do next. And, in yoga, that your body will know what comes next and you’ll figure it all out as you go. Just start the practice and trust and have faith that all the rest is coming along the way.”
She sincerely hopes that everyone will give yoga a try. “It’s a life-changing great thing that you can add into your exercise schedule.”
In keeping with her belief that yoga is for everyone, there are classes available for ‘one on one’ yoga, corporate yoga for the workplace and Kid Power Yoga for preschool through teen. Julie also welcomes inquiries by social and community groups interested in starting their own group yoga clubs.
Here’s where to get in touch with Julie today to get started. Remember, it’s not just beneficial in lots of ways…it’s fun!
shineyogafrederick.com (a new studio in town!)
And, of course, on Facebook!
Content Provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #035