I was first introduced to the concept of connecting movement with the breath when I was very young and my father was teaching karate in a local dance studio. While I really enjoyed martial arts, I was never interested in testing for a higher level but always appreciated knowing how to defend myself. There was a physical discipline that I felt deeply and carried with me for the rest of my life.

As I grew up, the first thing I would do most mornings was exercise. I loved getting up and stretching my muscles! I tried many different sports; basketball, soccer, softball, floor hockey, cross-country running, and weight training. The one thing that was in common with all of these different forms of exercise was the stretching. Before and after any team event, we stretched.

As I entered college, I considered going into fitness and exercise but felt pulled in other directions. Instead, I became a Philosophy major and focused heavily on the Philosophy of the Mind. I eventually earned my BA degree in English, as writing has always been a passion of mine.

After graduating from college, I travelled a bit and eventually settled in Eugene, Oregon. It is an inspiring town and its influence led me to a career as a glass blower. Ironically, the same year that I started blowing glass was the same year that I discovered Yoga.

I heard about a yoga class not far from my house and tried to get in. The class was full so I went to the video store and looked for yoga tapes. I bought one and the first 27 years of my life came full circle. I could not believe all of these “yoga poses” were similar to the stretches that I had been doing most of my life since I learned karate in my Dad’s karate dojo! There began my home practice. From that day forward, I practiced yoga at least once a week for the next 13 years. My career as a glass blower took me around the country and everywhere I went, I brought my yoga with me.

Life took a turn in 2009 when my husband and I had our first child. I started thinking about my dream in college of working in the field of fitness and exercise. It was hard to think of changing careers because of how much I love glass work and I couldn’t figure out what one path has to do with the other. Our second child came in 2010 and I began to seriously research different personal training certifications and yoga programs. That was when I discovered Yogakids.

Yogakids is an educational approach to yoga. Its program has been proven to improve kids memory and raise test scores, in addition to teaching children how to peacefully interact with the world around them. Having two small children of my own at the time, this sounded like a great idea to me! In 2012, I began my journey with Yogakids and completed my certification in April of 2013.

During the training process, I taught over 700 hours of yoga. My oldest daughter was working at one of the local YMCA camps and decided to write her Master’s in Education Degree paper on the behavioral effects of yoga on children, ages 3-9. We conducted a 10-week study of how yoga changed the behavior of the kids taking a one hour yoga class twice a week. It was discovered that the children were able to incorporate the lessons from yoga into their daily interactions with each other. At times, they even felt free to correct each other’s behavior without the need for a counselor to intervene.

To experience these results first hand gives me full confidence in the ability of yoga to change lives, no matter the age.

With this in mind, I decided to further my yoga education and received my 200hr certification from the Himalayan Institute of Buffalo in May of 2015 as well as my 500hour certification in July of 2018. This training has expanded my perspective on yoga as a path to meditation, deepening my understanding of the connection between the body and the mind. Learning is a lifelong process!

Currently I live in Naples, Florida with my husband, Marc and our two children, Mica and Iris. My oldest daughter, Lindsay, is a teacher and lives in WNY with her family. I have brought my Budding Tree Yoga for Kids classes to girl scout troops, summer camps and after school programs. My newest program, Budding Tree Yoga Branches Out, Into Schools, includes my workshop, Mindfulness Through Yoga and I have been invited to provide professional development to schools around the area.

Whether they are a toddler or an upper school age child, yoga was an activity they looked forward to every week! Through the yoga kids program, you could begin to see the children utilize the skills and strategies they learned to improve their positive expression and began their path to being a positive community member!
Lindsay M.
Julie brought Yoga for Kids to the YMCA summer day camp and it was a great success. Children from ages 3 to 10 participated in classes that allowed them to express themselves through movement and creativity. The child-centered sessions focused on positive messages such as self-respect, compassion for others, and caring for our wonderful earth. Many campers (and counselors!) expressed their eagerness to participate and try new yoga poses each week!
Laura A.