Meet: Julie Havelund-Willett

October 21, 2017

 

How did you first get into yoga?

My first ever yoga class was on a sunny autumn morning at a sports resort in Lanzarote when I was about 18 years old. But it wasn’t until a few years later, during my Bachelor studies, that I began practicing regularly. I think I initially started practicing yoga as a supplement to my dance practice. However, through the years my curiosity and appreciation of yoga grew beyond the physicality of asanas. I love that there’s always more to learn, and so many ways to grow as a yoga practitioner. 

 

What changes did you notice after you began yoga?

  • My breath. Yoga offered me a whole new way of thinking about my breath and how it’s linked to everything I do in life.

  • That progress doesn’t always look like progress. Sometimes it’s two steps ahead, and one step back. And that that is completely fine, and can teach me a lot about accepting my journey through yoga. 

Practicing yoga has completely shifted my approach to dancing. And conversely, I love bringing my experience as a Dance Artist to my yoga practice to put together creative and fun flows, which involve playfulness and a bit of improvisation. Yoga is an individual practice. I hope I can inspire some independent practice even in group classes. 

 

What has been your funniest yoga experience?

When I was in Ibiza last year for my friends’ wedding, the brother of the groom, who is a yoga teacher, taught a class for my friends and I under the sun. There were about 12 of us, of which only a couple of us had practiced yoga before. Needless to say there was a lot of laughing, trial and error and lightheartedness in the air. 

 

What is your yoga philosophy?

This is a hard question. But trying to narrow it down, it becomes about curiosity for me. Yoga is a life-long practice, philosophy and science, which can be overwhelming if you study it methodically. But if you approach yoga, like life, with a dash of curiosity and genuine interest in whatever life throws at you – or what you throw yourself into, I believe that your scope for learning and developing will flourish. 

 

Who has been your greatest influence throughout your journey?

I am grateful to all the teachers who have taught me yoga in one form of the other – in Europe and in Asia. Especially my teacher, Mahesh from Vinyasa Yoga School in Rishikesh, India, where I trained for my 200 Hours YTT, has been a very important figure for me – and still continues to be. He has opened my mind to what yoga is or can be, to what is possible, and to rethink values and belief systems I have had ingrained in me. 

 

What would you say to someone to encourage them to start their yoga journey?

You don’t have to be flexible to start. You don’t even have to be “good”, like so many people say, to start. But you have to start to become “good”. Flexibility, strength and control – both physically, emotionally and mentally will follow. Be patient and have fun. After all, yoga is not about nailing certain asanas, it’s about what you learn on your way there – whether you get there or not. 

 

What's your favourite asana and why?

Inversions - I love living life upside down! Perhaps this comes from my training in aerial circus. Perhaps I was a monkey in a previous life. For me, inversions are some of the best asanas – they increase your spatial awareness, get the blood flowing the other way so you heart can take a chill, they challenge your balance, engage your core, and they’re fun to do! I love playing with different leg variations when I’m in Sirsasana – headstand.

 

Julie is the newest member of the team; be one of the first people to check out her class!

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