I first met Julia when I was in grade 9. She was the new girl in school and everyone was curious about her. She was beautiful, quiet, and very kind. We quickly became friends and I enjoyed hanging out with her at lunch and on the weekends.

That was 18 years ago and while we don’t hang out at lunch anymore I love that we’re “Facebook Friends” and enjoy seeing what she’s been up to… it’s really quite inspirational!

So, let me tell you more about this cool chick I used to share lunchtime with:

Basic Introduction: Julia lives in Ko Tao, Thailand where she regularly practices SUP Yoga and teaches yoga classes. I’ve featured several photos throughout this blog just so you can see what I’m talking about! Not only is her physical discipline inspiring, but it’s also very artistic and beautifully captured via photography. The real reason though I chose to highlight Julia as an inspiration is because of the wisdom and insights she regularly shares in her classes and online.

For example, today’s was, “Julia – “Friends are angels who lift our feet when our own wings have trouble remembering how to fly” – unknown.

This beautiful silhouette symbolizes their amazing friendship. Yoga is good. Yoga with friends is better!

This beautiful silhouette symbolizes their amazing friendship. Yoga is good. Yoga with friends is better!

Jami –  “What are your recent accomplishments?”

Julia – “My most recent accomplishment was a Thailand yoga retreat that I organised and hosted alongside my very good friend and business partner Rachael Waring. One of our students Beth Kendall who came wrote two fantastic articles about the retreat, one for Yoga Magazine’s online blog and one for Health and Fitness magazine (online and print). That was more her accomplishment then ours, but was pretty great to be recognised for our retreat!”

A beautiful backdrop gives this Yogi the perfect place to practice. "Headstands, lots of headstands"

A beautiful backdrop gives this Yogi the perfect place to practice. “Handstands, lots of handstands”

Jami – Julia regularly posts inspirational quotes, sayings and thoughts on her blog and I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you throughout this article:

“She is a constant dreamer
A believer
A doer
She found what she loved
And she went after it
With a burning passion
Enough to light her
Soul on fire”
– beautiful words by ‪#‎joyf

adventureawaits-1

Jami = “What do you do when you’re not doing Yoga?”

Julia – “I go exploring on a stand up paddle board (which often includes yoga…), rock climb (which also sometimes includes yoga), hike, drink fresh coconuts, play guitar, drink pina coladas, cook, hang out with awesome friends, eat dark chocolate, drink red wine. And LOTS of handstands :)”

Jami – “Okay so tell us all about YOGA!”

Julia – “That’s a loaded question, there is so much to tell!

Yoga means “to yoke” or “to unite”. It is integrating body, mind and soul, practicing presence through awareness of the breath and our bodies. Using our physical bodies as a guide we learn to challenge ourselves, but to also be compassionate and know our limitations. As we grow and learn more about ourselves and what we are capable of, we begin to let go of our stories, and become empowered from within. We learn how to better deal with the every day stresses and trials that life brings. Somehow all of the little things that bother us begin to matter less and less.”

Jami – Here’s another excerpt that Julia recently shared, “Beautiful words from my favourite yoga teacher @meghancurrieyoga  The pressure to let go, perfect, succeed, overcome, be better and grow is high…nothing in nature blossoms as fast as we expect ourselves to. Let yourself take sweet time to blossom, digesting every rich experience along the way…especially the ones that you wish to hide from the most…let us not miss the real meaning of life this time around..pressure off, expectation dropping, ease coming. ‪#‎meghancurrie ‪#‎letgo ‪#‎livefree

Good Morning beautiful day! A little Yoga to start off the morning!

Good Morning beautiful day! A little Yoga to start off the morning!

Jami – “Tell us about Thailand. Why Thailand? How did you end up there?”

Julia, “I had been to Koh Tao on vacation a couple of times before and just fell in love with it. I had the opportunity to do some travelling, and since we had decided to do our next yoga retreat on Koh Tao I thought it would be the perfect first stop on my adventure. The day I arrived I decided I would stay, it’s just such a special place!”

Jami, “What is your favorite inspirational quote?”

Julia – “We must always welcome the end of all things. For sometimes knowing that nothing lasts forever, is the only way to fall in love with all of the moments and all of the people that are meant to take our breath away.” R.M. Drake. A beautiful reminder to stay present.”

I love this action shot of Julia on the water.

I love this action shot of Julia on the water.

Jami – My favorite quote Julia ever shared. (And the day I asked her to be on my blog)

“This is one of my favourite poems that I shared in class recently. I’ve had a few requests for it, so here it is:
Tragedies will always be found in the things we love. And if we are not willing to see the beauty in losing something that means the world to us, then imagine how terrible it will be to live for them. We must always welcome the end of all things. For sometimes knowing nothing lasts forever is the only way to fall in love with all of the moments and all of the people that are meant to take our breath away. ‪#‎rmdrake ‪#‎livefree ‪#‎loveeverymoment

I love this photo and the quote that she presented with it. Wouldn't it be amazing to take one of her classes?!?

I love this photo and the quote that she presented with it. Wouldn’t it be amazing to take one of her classes?!?

Jami, “What’s a lesson you learnt from a time where you “failed”

After I did my yoga teacher training I was so excited to get started. I decided to quit my other job so that I could focus solely on yoga. I was a bit naive and I still had much to learn. After less than a year of teaching only a few classes a week, out of money and feeling discouraged, I decided to throw in the towel and find another job. This was the best thing I could have done. It gave me the time I needed to focus on gaining more knowledge and building on my own yoga practice. When I was ready and the time was right I began teaching again. Now I am happier than I have ever been, doing what I love and living my dream. I learned to look at my life as a whole and to see the positives in every circumstance (which is not always easy, work in progress). Every occurrence in your life is just a puzzle piece in a bigger picture. If you look at that picture you’ll usually find that all of the pieces fit together just the way they should to create something beautiful.”

Another great thought Julia recently featured, “Most of us say we have freedom but sadly this is society’s illusion. Most of us are stuck in cages with bars barely big enough for us to spread our wings. What is cruel is that we can see through the bars at those who are truly free. Free from limiting beliefs, free from insecurities that prevent them from chasing their dreams. It’s utter torture. We ask ourselves why are they free and I am not? Most of us will die never escaping. The sick thing about it all is that the cage is not LOCKED. All we have to do to be free is open it.”

Jami – “Who inspires you? Why?”

Julia – “That’s easy, my mom. She has always taught me to follow my dreams and live with an open heart. She is my BIGGEST supporter and I am so incredibly lucky to have a mom like her. She has the biggest heart of anyone I know, and although she’s not been well for most of my life, she has always kept a smile on her face, never complains and is just a bundle of love. Ask anyone who knows her and they will say the same. She inspires me every day.”

Who inspires you? "It's easy, my Mom"

Who inspires you? “It’s easy, my Mom”

Jami –  “What is one song that always makes you get up and dance?”

Julia – “When I need to shake something off I put “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine on full blast and dance/jump/twirl/flail around like a complete crazy person. It’s one of the best feelings in the world, and you feel amazing after. You should try it.”

Jami – I HAVE tried it, I LOVE that song. We regularly have family dance parties to it!

 

Jami – “Please finish this sentence, I think it’s important for children to connect with nature because…”

Julia – “They can play, explore, be curious and ask questions. Being outdoors gives them an opportunity to be stimulated by something other than television and video games and toys. They become more mindful and learn to respect the earth and all living things.”

 

Jami – Another finish the sentence, My favorite family adventure is…”

Julia –  “The Vancouver aquarium. I took my nephew there once and it was wonderful to see the magic in his eyes, the curiosity and excitement.”

 

Jami – “My favorite solo adventure is:

Julia – “That depends where I am. Since I’ve been living in Thailand it’s going out for a stand up paddle, in Bournemouth it was a long walk down the beach on the waters edge, in Vancouver it’s a trail run or meander through the forest somewhere in North Van.”

 

Jami – It’s  Girl Guide Cookie season!  Do you like the chocolate or vanilla ones best?

Julia – “Wow, I haven’t had a girl guide cookie in ages! Hmmm, that’s a tough call but I’d say vanilla wins out for me :)”

 

To learn more about Julia and follow her https://www.facebook.com/juliacobbanyoga