Yoga at AS220: Instructor Julie Shore Convinces You Her Class is Awesome

Julie Shore teaches Lunchtime Vinyasa Flow in the 3rd floor dance studio at 95 Empire. The class is on Wednesdays from 12 – 1 and only costs $5! You probably just said, “This is the yoga class for me!’ And you are absolutely right. 

Julie started practicing yoga as a young person and even began a teacher training program at only 17 years old. After leaving home and going to college and experiencing some of those life things that happen in your early twenties, Julie began practicing yoga at Eyes of the World and her “life started getting better,” and she reconnected with the idea she had when she was younger of wanting to be a yoga instructor. She followed the teacher training program at Eyes of the World and that’s what led her to teaching at 95 Empire.

Director of 95 Empire Ric Royer and Education Coordinator Leigh Hendrix talked to Julie about the class, her philosophy of yoga and who yoga is for (hint: it’s for everyone).

95 Empire: Why this class at 95 Empire?

Julie Shore: I decided last year to do teacher training for yoga at Eyes of the World and the second part of the training was to start teaching a class in the community somewhere. It was meant to be a beginner Vinyasa that was supposed to just give me an opportunity to practice my craft and that’s where it came out of. When I first billed it, it was a beginner Vinyasa class.

95 Empire: What can folks expect from the class now? Who is this class for?

JS: I would say now that’s it’s beginner friendly but it’s not a beginner class – so it’s for somebody who has some experience with yoga, particularly Vinyasa yoga. That said, if I have students show up who’ve never practiced yoga before, they’re completely welcome and I would take time to break things down. I really want this class to be accessible to anybody.

The class is really for anybody. I want to spread the message that yoga is not only for limber women in their twenties who look good in spandex – that’s not what I’m doing, that’s not what interests me about yoga, it’s not what yoga’s for in my opinion – obviously those women are welcome to my class but I think there’s this misconception that yoga is for people who are flexible and the truth is it’s for everybody. There’s so many benefits that you can experience without getting yourself into these certain aesthetic shapes and that’s the foundation of where I teach from.

95 Empire: What are those benefits, just to go back to some basics?

JS: There’s numerous health benefits from bringing attention to the breath and becoming more flexible. What draws me to yoga in particular – the stretching is great, the breathing is great, all of that is good for you – but what I think really yoga addresses that other fitness activities don’t address is mindfulness and coming into the present moment and when you have the ability to do that or you take the time to do that regularly you start to see a certain ease come into the rest of your life.

[Yoga] is really what has helped me stay sane. Relatively sane.

Ric: Maybe I should start going.

JS: I would love to have you! I mean people who exercise will say I need to run because that’s really how I set my head straight or I need to swim or go to my Zumba class or whatever and yes, coming into the body, sweating, stretching, moving around all very good things to do. But there’s something about being in a yoga class, you take the time and you draw away from the rest of your world, and you’re just on your mat with your breath and you’re in your body, it gives you a chance when you’re in the rest of your life, and  you’re standing in line and you’re pissed off or somebody yells at you in traffic or whatever it is, to take a moment and take a breath and go ok this is what’s going on and it just gives you that much more space in your life. That’s why I practice yoga.

I guess that’s all I have to say in response to that question.

95 Empire: Yeah, no big deal, just that big thing about changing your life. There’s something too about this class being at AS220, as a community class, this is where you wanted to teach it.

JS: It points back to this idea that I want to teach in a way that’s accessible to all different kinds of people and a lot of people that would never step foot into a yoga studio  might feel ok to check it out at AS220. And that’s part of the pricing idea.

95 Empire: Just $5 for a yoga class!

JS: Yoga’s great but it’s prohibitively expensive for a lot of people so I really like being able to offer a class that is only $5 and that you just show up with your five bucks and we have mats and it’s very welcoming I think for people.

I was really surprised when I started telling people that I was going through teacher training and I was going to start teaching, the primary reaction I got from people was oh that’s great but I’m totally afraid I would never go to a yoga class or I would never set foot in a yoga class or I can’t do that I’m not flexible. And I didn’t know how to articulate to them it’s okay, you can still come. If you can’t touch your toes or your balance is really wonky you can still come to class. In fact, if you can’t touch your toes and your balance is really wonky, you should definitely come to class, it’d be really good for you.

For me it’s really exciting to offer [this class] to people who wouldn’t normally come.

Join Julie on Wednesdays at 12pm in the 3rd floor dance studio at 95.