Let's talk about this thing called life ...
First of all Julie was destined for the path of Bhakti Yoga. When Julie's mother was pregnant her father used to put his ear on her mother's belly to listen to the heartbeat and say, "Thump, thump thump, tambura, tambura, tambura, this is the sound of the baby's heartbeat." To give you a little background, the tambura is an instrument used to drone in traditional Indian music. Much of both traditional and modern kirtan and chanting includes the droning sound of a tambura. So you see...the destiny was unfolding even before her birth.
Julie was born in Colorado, on the plains. She grew up as a country girl, an only child, an animal lover, a sweet, kind and mischievous little girl...adored greatly by both of her parents. Life as an only child can be lonely and some days were very lonely for her, but her imagination was unimpeded, nothing could stop it. Always creating somewhat of a sanctuary in her back yard, she would create rivers and ponds with the water from the hose. She would create tents in the bright Colorado sun, using sheets over the clothes line. She might have snuck one or two of those sheets away to create a hammock between two trees, whose real job was a windbreak. She loved the feeling of the sun on her face, it made her happy, she loved being creative and using her imagination to create a world that was bright, fun and sometimes different than what the plains offered. This is what children do they live in a world that is all theirs, living in the moment and only crying when the sun would go down (ok not all children do this, but Julie did do this, regularly, her mother said, "Julie would cry when the sun would go down and ask me to, 'Make the sun come back up mom, I wasn't done playing outside, make it come up!!!'" We all know that not every day is glorious and sun filled, some days the sun goes down before we want it to, and yet there is still something that propels us forward...this 'something' that we are meant to do, be, find, manifest, we have no idea what it is or what we are destined for. The best we can hope for is that we travel on an unobstructed path to the life we were meant to live...and that was Julie's childhood.
Let's skip forward because Jr. High and High school were kinda...hhmmm...lack luster. Although, one thing that Julie did start to develop was the ability to connect with many different people...her ability to talk and relate to people was developing at a fast pace, sometimes too fast. Depression also became a part of her life when she was in Jr. High, it was often offset by spending all of her free time with friends, playing basketball, riding around (cruising...because you know all of the cool kids were doing it...ha ha) listening to music and getting into very little trouble. In High School, Julie became an overachiever, graduating with nearly enough college credits to suffice as an Associates degree.
Julie's first attempt at college out of high school ended with her owning the title of 'College Drop Out', she switched between Pre-med, bio-mechanical engineering, and civil engineering as majors. The path hadn't become too Bhakti yet. She had learned that she loved dancing and was quite good at it. The choice to leave college behind was not easy, but made sense to her. She didn't know what she wanted out of life, maybe she wanted to get married and have a family, maybe she wanted to work different jobs to find if there was an industry she was passionate about, or maybe she wanted to spend more time with friends. Her view was, 'why get a degree when you don't know what you want to do,' it made total sense to her. So she left college. She moved several times, from Colorado Springs, to Sterling, to Fort Collins, to Akron, to Thornton, to Westminster, to Littleton, to OHIO. Through all of these moves she began learning so much about her self, good and bad. Loss, she learned what loss was when her father abruptly passed away, soon after her grandfather passed away too. She learned what real physical pain was when she had to have back surgery at 22 years old (partial discectomy at L4/L5 and L5/S1). She experienced love and heartbreak just as many people who fall in love do. Some friends were in and out of her life and some are still the very best (even one from 4th grade who she still talks/texts with weekly/daily). After several years working as a professional in the banking, call center and sporting goods industries she realized she was especially good at, accounting/auditing and customer service.
The next big commitment was the move from Colorado to Ohio. She would no longer be living alone, but instead would be living with her mother and grandmother. She was enrolled back in college to become the next best accountant (or student...she is a GREAT student). She loved college with every ounce of her being. It was often that she would enroll in more than 18 credit hours a semester just so she could learn more.
And...it was in college that yoga made it's first physical appearance. It was her 2nd semester at Tri-C and she was excited to sign up for Aquatic Kickboxing! Except she had to rearrange her schedule last min (she wanted to get in with the best Managerial Accounting professor) so she had to drop Aquatic Kickboxing and pick up another 1 credit hour class...which would later be known as Yoga 101 with Tiiu Gennert. Well the very first class was mehhh, there was a sub because Tiiu was traveling in India. Julie was extremely intimidated being surround by so many thin and athletic people. She was the largest, fat-bodied person in the class (which is exactly what worried and intimidated her). Julie's struggle with body image started when she was a child. She had always been bigger, she had been called every fat name in 'the book' (and what ever book that is, it should be destroyed). She had difficulty feeling pretty, confident and acceptable when it came to her physique. This 1 credit hour college class grade was based solely on attendance and Julie was determined to get a 4.0 (all A's) in college. To her she couldn't miss a class no matter how uncomfortable or unacceptable she felt her body was. She bought some yoga pants (cheap, very cheap) and continued to attend both required classes a week. When Tiiu started teaching Julie started to feel the change, not just in her body (she suffered residual pain from her previous back surgery) but in how she felt, her mood, her depression, her suicidal ideations, seemed to feel not as extreme. Every day Julie was becoming more flexible and her body was feeling less foreign, her mind was more calm and at ease. Her other college classes were going GREAT! She was getting amazing grades and was even accepted into the Honors Program which helped her receive scholarships while she was attending Tri-C. She later became the Tri-C West Philosophy Club President, running meetings, debating and arguing her points flawlessly (although she wasn't always right...). Life was changing for the better, every day. Julie attributed so much of this positive change to yoga that took the 1 credit hour yoga classes with Tiiu for 4 semesters, even after Julie had moved on to Cleveland State University she took the Yoga Class with Tiiu.
Tiiu became Julie's unspoken mentor and friend. Julie helped with activities at the yoga studio that Tiiu owns, Studio 11. She started taking yoga classes at the studio and built a home practice with dvds (mostly from Barbara Benagh). She started to make some amazing friends in the yoga community who have helped her continue to grow and flourish.
First Julie was inspired to become a Thai Yoga Massage practitioner through Lotus Palm in Canada. She was able to receive training in Cleveland from Tiiu Gennert and Carrie Kemenys. College life was not typical for Julie, she didn't go out 'partying,' she made friends in the yoga community and she spent time with them eating vegetarian meals and discussing life and it's semi-complicated process. Tiiu traveled to India on two occassions, and Julie was asked to watch over the studio both times. She did this with much respect and excitement. Little does Tiiu know, there was a card that was taped to the wall that said something to the extent of, "You do not need to rush through life, if there is something that you do not finish (and you were meant to finish), you have many more lives to finish it." For so many years Julie felt like she was missing out on life and experiences. She found comfort in this little saying...no longer did she need to feel bad about things that might have passed her by in life. This opened new doors, since she no longer had the pressure to be everywhere all of the time, doing everything all of the time, have her shit together all of the time, she could actually be in the moment and live life. At the very least this idea sat in the back of her mind for years and reminded her that if something was not going to get finished, it was ok, it would happen if it were meant to.