Middleton Yogi of the Month: Julie Waldren

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I discovered Dragonfly Hot Yoga in January 2014, during what was the longest and most frigid winter I can remember. I was also struggling with built-up shoulder tension from working at a desk all day, so I decided to try a hot yin class. I didn’t immediately know how I felt about hot yoga, but I knew that I loved the warmth and felt at home in Dragonfly’s spacious, cheerful studio. So I kept coming back. That winter I attended almost exclusively hot yin classes because what I needed most was relaxation and relief from built up muscle tightness. I was intimidated to try flow classes because I didn’t feel strong enough to stay in down dog for longer than a few seconds or to flow quickly through postures. My yoga experience prior to Dragonfly had been with gentle Kripalu yoga classes offered through my healthcare clinic, which I had taken on and off for several years.

Eventually, I tried a few hot slow flow classes at Dragonfly. Moving through the postures in the heat felt awkward at first, but by the time the class ended, I was loosened up and sweaty and I felt more relaxed than I had in a long, long time. My shoulder tension felt like it had melted away. After that, I was hooked. I kept coming to Dragonfly over the next winter and through the following summer, trying more flow classes as well as yin and dabbling in BarreAmped. I thought I wouldn’t want to attend classes in the heat when it was warm outside, but my muscles craved the heat no matter what the weather.

Over the years, I have become stronger, especially in my arms, shoulders, and core. I now see muscle tone where I didn’t before, and I can tell I’m more flexible, both in my spine and all over. I’ve also developed the ability to relax more easily, to notice muscle tension when it creeps in, and to breathe more mindfully. Last summer, I attended all three nutrition workshops with Marie Norris and learned how to eat a better breakfast, snack smarter, and cut back on sugar—all of which have helped me fuel my energy more effectively throughout the day.

I attend classes on average about 2 or 3 times a week. I like to balance a couple of flow classes with at least one yin class. My favorite teacher is Kathryn Keener. I love how she takes a restorative and meditative approach, teaching the practice of mindfulness by infusing it throughout class. In my daily life, I often find myself pulled into spirals of busyness fueled by to-do lists and consumerist culture; attending Yin + Mediation helps me return to a quiet, reflective part of myself that’s so important to cultivate. The “loving kindness” meditation, for instance, reminds me to be kinder and more compassionate to myself and those around me.

I think the yoga I practice at Dragonfly helps me to be a better, more patient mom to my 4-year-old daughter. It also helps me cope with work stress and keep a balanced attitude about life. I am so grateful to be a part of the Dragonfly community.

Instructor Kathryn Keener: “Julie is very deserving of Dragonfly’s Yogi of the Month recognition. In addition to being a devoted practitioner and attendee of a variety of classes, Julie is a genuinely warm individual. She contributes to the kind, accepting atmosphere that defines Dragonfly. Every conversation that we share leaves me feeling uplifted. Julie has a special ability to convey intense enthusiasm with softness. I am so grateful for Julie’s thoughtful suggestions and willingness to relate her experiences, especially regarding Mindfulness.

Thank you, Julie, for gracing Dragonfly with your presence!”


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