Padiham mum of two on a mission to banish 'Instagram perfect' image surrounding yoga
If anyone can persuade a group of wagon drivers to try a spot of yoga in their break then Julie Smith is your woman!
After a hugely successful 30 year career in the public sector, which began at Pendle Council as a YTS apprentice, Julie has taken a sabbatical to launch Purpose Wellbeing, running yoga classes and courses for people of all ages and abilities.
The list of the benefits of yoga is long. It improves strength, balance and flexibility, helps with back pain, eases arthritis symptoms, benefits heart health, helps to relax you and improve the quality of sleep.
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Yoga is a 5,000-year-old discipline from India. It was developed as a practice to unite the mind and body. It is gentle, almost anyone can do it, regardless of your age or fitness level.
And if you want a real life testament to how yoga can help, Julie has a client who suffered from excruciating sciatic pain that has eased considerably since he took up yoga.
Julie said: "This man had suffered with sciatic pain on a daily basis despite doing the stretches his doctor recommended every day - he has found yoga and it has changed his life.
"Regular yoga sessions and exercises he can do himself have helped to ease his pain. He told me he couldn't believe the difference it had made. Instead of being in pain every day he rarely gets sciatic pain at all now.”
Julie, who lives in Padiham with her husband Jonathan and their twin sons, Max and Toby who are 17, certainly practises what she preaches and is also studying for a diploma in teaching yoga.
And Julie is helping to banish the 'Instagram perfect' image surrounding yoga and the belief that you have it be ultra-fit or flexible do to it.
"Anyone can do yoga," says Julie with a real passion. "So many people rush off to their GPs with aches and pains expecting tablets to be a magic cure when there are so many other things they could try."
And the subject of mental health has perhaps never been more important or relevant than now as we emerge from a pandemic that has affected so many people.
As a form of low-impact exercise, yoga has been shown to lower stress hormones in our bodies while simultaneously increasing beneficial brain chemicals like endorphins and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) feel-good chemicals which help to decrease anxiety and improve mood.
And Julie plans to put yoga at the heart of UK businesses. Statistics show that poor mental health among employees costs UK employers on average £1,700 a year per employee. To help combat this Julie runs staff well being sessions, colleague 'away days’, breathing and relaxation classes and yoga courses.
Next month Julie will run a course aimed at women coping with menopause symptoms. Tame the Menopause with yoga starts on Tuesday, September 6th at 6:45pm at Fitness Evolution on the Burnley College campus. This course is ideal for anyone, even absolute beginners. Booking is essential via purposewellbeing.co.uk
And what about those wagon drivers? Julie is ready to get in the driving seat and show them how a few moves and exercises can help them maintain their physical and mental health. Watch this space!
Julie can be contacted at [email protected]