Yoga teacher, holistic health coach and founder of The Samana Project, Julie Weber helps busy professionals make healthy diet and lifestyle choices so they can live their lives without sacrificing the things they love.
As told to Fern Langham
Julie, how did you get involved in the yoga world?
I was a dancer growing up, so the link between movement and breath feels inherent to me. After I stopped dancing, I struggled to find a physical and mental practice that inspired me in the same way. My Mother-In-Law introduced me to yoga about eight years ago, and it’s been an important part of my life ever since. My passion grew immensely during my teacher training. I loved learning about yoga’s rich history and the many wonderful layers that make it what it is. Everything I was learning resonated with me in a really profound way, and that’s when I became so inspired and compelled to share it with others.
If you were a t-shirt slogan, what would it be?
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
I’ve moved around a lot and been on many amazing adventures. Almost always, there’s a bit (or a lot!) of fear associated with novelty and change – a new job, a new city, a new phase of life. Change brings uncertainty and uncertainty is scary. But uncertainty also carries opportunity – opportunities that will unfold in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. I think that’s marvelously exciting. Recently, I decided to leave the corporate world, change my career path and launch a boutique yoga and health company, The Samana Project. It includes an amazing retreats program which I co-founded with sister and naturopathic doctor Ashley Weber. That was, and still is, pretty scary. But I’ve learned that feeling and acknowledging fear, and then moving through it, from a heart-centered space to pursue your dreams, is undeniably liberating and empowering. So here I am, feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
What inspires you to share the yogic message?
Helping people to connect to themselves inspires me. I think it’s so wonderfully empowering to feel fully present and fully alive. We live in a very demanding world. We’re over stimulated. We have a lot of responsibilities. We have a lot of drive. We’re always going somewhere and rarely just being somewhere. I love that yoga can help people to be and accept exactly where and who they are, and trust that it’s the perfect place.
How can students bring yoga into their everyday lives?
One of the things I love about yoga is that after a little while, you find that all of the wonderful things that you cultivate on your mat—like patience, ease, balance, strength, flexibility, surrender, a sense of humour—start to weave their way into your everyday life. Other than showing up to your practice with an open heart and an open mind, I don’t think there’s anything you have to do to bring yoga into your every day life. It will just happen.
How do YOU live a balanced, wholehearted life? What’s your favorite food?
I check in with myself a lot. Living in New York, I am vulnerable to the work hard, play hard, work harder, get more mentality that drives so many of us here. So I try to be really aware and really honest with myself. I meditate, I write, I cook, I reflect and I try to be kind to and patient with myself, knowing that if I feel nourished, I will have much more to offer others. And as for food, I love it all! Anything that is fresh and healthy and made with love is best in my books. And I’m also partial to nice cheese platter every once in a while.
We have a fun Friday Facebook post called Thank Ganesh it’s Friday. What is one thing today that you are grateful for?
I’m grateful for so much. But today I just found out that one of my best friends has a little one on the way. So I’m grateful for new life.
What’s the last book you read?
I’m reading Start Something That Matters, by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOM’s Shoes right now. His story is super inspiring.
What is your favorite style of yoga?
It depends! Usually I like a lot of flow, because I love to move easefully through my practice and it reminds me of a beautiful dance. But sometimes I’m in the mood for some hot power action, or a restorative or yin class. I try and just listen to my body – it usually tells me exactly what it needs.
Imagine you’re on the cover of Yoga Journal. What pose would you strike?
Trikonasana! I love the expansive feeling of opening the heart and radiating in all directions. It creates so much space for me.
What advice would you give to those interested in yoga, but may be nervous about their first class?
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
When do you teach at YoGanesh?
Come and find me on Tuesdays at 7.30pm and Sundays 10am, and check the schedule for other times! Looking forward to meeting lots of Ganeshers!
Passionate about movement, energy, balance and healthy living, YoTeacher Julie received her yoga and health coach training in New York City, where she is based, and holds a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics. Her vinyasa-style yoga classes effortlessly balance flow and ease with alignment and focus. Check the schedule to find out when to catch her at YoGanesh.