My yoga journey began just over 10 years ago when I very reluctantly stepped onto a yoga mat after being dragged along by a friend at work. I was always into fitness and used to go to the gym a few times a week but I thought yoga was too slow for me and, to be honest, a waste of time. If I was working out I wanted to sweat and feel my body ache. However, that first class showed me very quickly how wrong my preconceived ideas were about yoga. From then I was hooked.

After 2 years of building up my own practice and feeling both the physical and unexpected mental benefits both on and off the mat, I decided I wanted to explore yoga a little deeper and did my pregnancy yoga and mum & baby teacher training. I was teaching around my full time job as an events manager and really wanted to make teaching my full time job but I was nervous and afraid to take the leap. I moved to London in 2011 and after a year as a Marketing manager working crazy hours and feeling very stressed constantly with work I decided to bite the bullet. I’d had enough of the Sunday night fear and felt I could be so much happier doing what I loved so left my job and did my 200 hour yoga teacher training. It was daunting but also really exciting. I built my classes up slowly and started working with a number of professional rugby teams and athletes which took me down a more sports yoga focused path.

Teaching yoga for me is so much more than a job, it is my passion. Since I started teaching full time I never feel like I’m going to work. I almost feel guilty for being able to do what I love every day. Don’t get me wrong it has its own challenges and it’s hard work but I am so much happier in myself and in my life since I made the leap. Yoga has helped me both physically and mentally in so many ways on multiple occasions. One of my favourite quotes and one I live by really defines my yoga journey: ‘Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self'. It took me many years to realise the full benefits of yoga. I focused purely on the physical side initially and almost resisted the mental side. However, as I started to let my walls down and explore the more mindfulness aspect I was even more surprised at the positive impact yoga had on my life and what it taught me on and off the mat. I love being able to share that with people and help my clients realise the same benefits.

I moved back to Dublin in July 2016 and was very pleasantly surprised to see such a shift in the whole health and fitness space since I left. The yoga community had totally transformed and it’s great to see so many yoga studios across the city but the shift goes a lot further. People are a lot more aware of what they eat and how they spend their free time. It’s great to see people out walking and running before and after work and not letting their day job be an excuse to not lead a healthy active lifestyle. Dublin has transformed into a health and fitness hotspot with everything from weekend park runs to healthy foodie places not to mention a huge shift in our coffee culture. I’m not going to lie, I bring a strong Americano to my early morning classes. I’d love to say it’s a green machine juice in my mug but I usually have that mid morning. For those early morning classes I need my coffee.

I think we are only at the start of this health and fitness movement and I’m very excited to be working in this space. There is a great community, which is growing daily and includes a wide range of options for fitties, foodies and fashionistas. It’s moved far past people going to the gym a few times a week – now that’s not enough. Dublin has realized it’s a lifestyle- what you wear, what you eat, how you fuel your body and how you keep active and fit are all interlinked.

I am very proud to be an ambassador for Gym+Coffee and love what they are all about. Taking the leap to teach yoga full time was a big stretch for me, excuse the pun, but it does challenge me and stretch me constantly. It also makes my life richer and has given me so many opportunities that I am truly grateful for.

Julie B
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