MEET CSOY TEACHER JULIA CLARKE of Mountain Soul Yoga in Edwards, CO!
What is your first memory of yoga being something significant and more than a stretch class?
My first yoga class. It was around 1991 in the gymnasium of a local primary school with a Dru Yoga teacher named Tilly. I was only about 10 years old but I knew instantly that yoga was powerful and I remember thinking "I want to be a yoga teacher when I grow up."
What catalyzed you into pursuing becoming a yoga teacher?
It was a desire of mine since taking my very first class as a child. When I moved to New York City in 2007 to work in music promotion it was the first time I had lived in a place where there were studios and teacher trainings everywhere. Prior to that I'd spent many years practicing yoga at home and in gyms and teaching seemed like a lofty, far off endeavor as a "tight white girl". I dove in headfirst and quickly found a teacher, Marty New, who guided me towards the 200 hour training at Integral Yoga Institute after I begged her to take me on as an apprentice.
How has your teaching changed over time?
In many ways, completely. I'd describe my teaching as having evolved from humble to discerning. I was lucky enough to have many great teachers early on and as a good student I certainly took everything they said as gospel, as they might have taken it from their teachers. Yet over the years I've been fortunate to be able to invest a lot of time in my study and practice and the question "why?" started to become the main influence of my inquiry. I bow down to all my teachers and yet when I ask "why?" I often find that I come up with different answers from the ones I received early on. When I started teaching from this place rather than ancient texts or trickle-down interpretations I found my classes becoming more alive, more vibrant, more me. And of course moving to a very active community has really aided me in valuing the therapeutic aspect of Lunar yoga!
If you could tell new yoga teachers one thing what would it be?
No one is showing up to class to see you fail.
Is there an old classic posture or a new variation that you’re especially loving right now? Why?
With so much time spent on the hiking trails and on my road bike, I feel like when I hit my mat all roads ultimately lead to Urdvha Danurasana so I can open the front of my body up.
Where will we find you when you are not teaching?
Depending on the season, i'm on any one of the Vail Valley's beautiful hiking trails, lounging in a hammock by an alpine lake, mellow back country ski touring, or travelling the world!
What are you focusing on in your personal practice these days?
I'm opening a yoga studio, so my current practice is simply about giving my mind a rest and staying connected to the pulse of what has driven me to go down this crazy road! My practice always follows a long hike or bike ride so generally i'm drawn to backbends which reopen the front of my body, then deep long hip openers and forward bends. But as a mountain girl i can never resist throwing in a few handstands and forearm stands for strength and focus!
Come see Julia in Boulder on 9/3 for her Advancing Your Asana workshop on Demystifying Handstand and Forearmstand! Details here: https://goo.gl/FjnlM2
More on Julia at her website www.juliaclarkeyoga.com