Julie in a Yoga studio in Asheville, NC

“I originally came to my mat nearly fifteen years ago when I was struggling with anxiety attacks. I had two little kids and quit my full time job to stay at home with them. I was convinced I was having a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t eat or sleep and was losing tons of weight. I was a wreck. Down to 87 pounds, I found a psychologist, who told me “You are so busy taking care of everyone else, it’s important to take care of yourself.” She suggested trying yoga.

That’s where the yoga all started. It eased my anxiety and restored my soul, but life took over and I lost my practice after a few years. Later, while managing three children and tackling my Masters Degree, I returned to my mat to find solace. 

I realized that I had to make significant changes in my life. 

Julie in a yoga pose in Asheville, NC

After taking time to examine my life, in December of 2012,  I made a New Year’s resolution to practice yoga at least 2 times a week and become a vegetarian. 

I practiced at a lovely studio for six months and when my instructor left, I went to search for a new place to practice. A friend suggested a new Baptiste Yoga studio in town. After my very first class, owner J.P. McClellan said, “You have a beautiful practice. This is where you belong.” I felt it so strongly. I knew I was home.

At that point in my life, I had a lot of negative self-talk and a toxic marriage. I felt disempowered. Within a few months of practicing Baptiste consistently, I started feeling more empowered in my daily life and was able to find the strength to make critical changes. Within a year, I had filed for divorce, got primary custody of my children and began life as a single mother of three. All of this hit me much harder than I expected. My life bottomed out.

I married young, at 20, and had been married for almost 17 years, so it was a seismic shift. The divorce and being a full-time single mom took a great emotional toll on me. I would come to my mat and cry. My mat became my sanctuary for healing through the divorce, through my issues of negative self-talk; my anxiety. To this very day, when a challenge arises, I take it to my mat. 

Julie in a Yoga studio in Asheville, NC

Although my mat was my sanctuary, I felt that it was also a hiding place- away from actually taking action to deal with my issues.  I decided it was time. Serendipitously, a Yoga Teacher Training at my Baptise studio was about to begin. I just need to do this. I told myself. I didn’t have the money, but they took credit cards, and so I said: here you go,  I’m going to do it! Come from “you are ready now”, I told myself.

The training was very, very intense. I hated it at first. The Baptiste methodology of breaking down to break through had me thinking: I’m broken enough. I don’t want to break anymore. Demoralized after my second weekend of training, I talked to a good friend who said, “I invite you to consider that this is not your path.” His words sparked my warrior spirit. At that moment, I knew this is exactly where I was supposed to be. I shifted my mindset and powered through. 

Shortly after completing my RYT 200-hour, a Baptiste affiliated studio opened right by my house. Crazy. The owner, whom I did training with said, “do you want to teach?” I responded, “not really” as teaching wasn’t my intention, but I ended up agreeing, getting out of my comfort zone and teaching a couple times a month. I quickly discovered how much I loved having the opportunity to hold space for others and facilitate “awakening”- which is what I believe Yoga is all about. 

Teaching yoga for me is about awakening, empowering and inspiring my students. It is about awakening them to the present moment and creating a safe space to come as they are, and work through their challenges. I had been very disempowered in my life before yoga, so to have the opportunity to empower others and watch them blossom is an incredible honor.

Julie in extended mountain pose in Asheville, NC

I went to a Yoga retreat in Belize at the end of 2014 and I absolutely lit up- my energy was on fire. The seed to run transformational retreats was planted.  

I left management at the yoga studio I loved to pursue a different path. So, I filed the papers and started my own small business: Awaken Life Yoga LLC. I bought a domain name and after 36 straight hours on my computer, I had a website. My vision had become a reality. 

When you are deeply connected to your center and you quiet the noise around you, you gain clarity. Even though I didn’t know where my path would take me, I continued stepping out in faith. I had to quit my salaried job to teach Yoga, then I managed a yoga studio and discovered it just wasn’t aligned with my higher calling, so I had to leave. Every decision has been led by my intuition. I step out in faith without actually knowing what’s next! A complete shift from a woman who struggled with control and anxiety issues a decade before. 

It’s ironic that the anxiety that prompted me into Yoga nearly fifteen years ago was all about things I couldn’t control, and now I’m living my life never knowing what’s next. I know I’m on the right path and believe 100% that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. 

It’s the universe…showing up in unexpected ways. 

Julie in a Yoga studio in Asheville, NC

What I’ve learned is the breath of Yoga is critical in my daily life because instead of allowing struggles to throw me into a full-blown panic attack, I now pause, reconnect with my breath and move forward. What’s next? What must I do? There’s always an option, it’s about pausing, getting grounded, and staying open to possibilities.

During my Baptiste Level 1 Teacher Training, that became my mantra. When difficult times would arise, I remember thinking get me out of here, and then repeating: Stay open, just stay open. I wrote that down all week, every time I felt myself closing up. Stay open. It’s a life practice now: staying open to the possibilities because you have no idea what opportunities lie ahead.  None of us really know, even if we think we do. If you’re open to alternative paths and alternative truths, then the road can bring you some amazing things. I feel so deeply blessed right now. 

I’ve been stepping out in faith, trusting that what’s meant to happen, will.  Whatever comes next I’m stepping into it: Be a Yes, come from a place of I am ready now. ” – Julie Hruska

Check out Julies website here: https://awakenedlifecoaching.pro/start-today

Posted by:theselfstories

Our purpose is to provide yoga practitioners the opportunity to share their stories as they realize and live in the infinite benefits of the physical asana practice of yoga, meditation and self inquiry. We aspire to expose others to, and inspire them to believe that they too, can live fuller, more freeing and empowered lives.

Leave a Reply