Centering And Transitioning With Yogi Justine
Tell us about your journey to becoming a Yoga Teacher?
I am inspired by movement and the body. I started walking super early at 8 months old, and I haven't really stopped moving since. I was a competitive figure skater for over 10 years and through skating, I was introduced to Pilates. I transitioned out of the world of competitive athletics just as I was transitioning into my first year of college, which was when I was introduced to Yoga Soup. Yoga Soup is my home studio in Santa Barbara, this is where I truly fell in love with yoga. I've understood from a very young age that movement effects us in so many ways, and not just physical. Our relationships with ourselves and with others are directly impacted.
What practice or treatment can’t you live without?
Yoga. It's the reset. When anything or everything feel stuck, yoga is the way to get back into flow. Sometimes that reveals itself as a more dynamic movement practice, other times it's simply a deeper breath
Who was your great mentor/teacher?
I have quite a few...Eddie Ellner, Tara Judelle, Scott Lyons & Schuyler Grant continue to all have a pretty profound impact on me
Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your teaching methods?
I often describe it as weaving in movement. I've studied a wide range of modalities and love to pull from all of them. I build my classes out in this way depending on who I am teaching.
For example, I taught a workshop on transitions earlier this year. The focus was on transitions in asana, and the workshop took place on the spring equinox, which was perfectly aligned with the seasons transitioning into spring. I also focused on the liver & gal bladder meridians from Chinese medicine; they balance one another and are especially important to pay attention to at that time of year.
What obstacles has developing your teachings helped you overcome in your own life?
The more I teach, the more I learn. To a certain extent, it feels like I'm learning to speak different languages. I often ask myself how I can say things clearer or how I can say things in a different way so that more people can understand. There is such an art to facilitating a yoga class; as a teacher, I think the most important thing is to meet people where they are. Regardless of my plan, I aim to teach to the room....to the people the show up.
Who do you admire in the holistic world?
So many people! My mom especially. She's getting her doctorate in Ayurveda. We talk about it all the time and she's teaching me a ton!! I love it. She also just started a super inspirational Instagram that focuses on Ayurvedic cooking & healthful living : @mulberriesandsaffron
Which ancient modality systems attract you most?
Aside from yoga, I'm pretty fascinated by traditional Chinese medicine. The meridians are these powerful lines of energy that pulsate through our bodies and all that we are. I love the overlap between all of these different modalities. It's so beautiful to explore the meridians through movement.
How do you remain authentic within a commercial world?
There is nothing in the world I find more centering & grounding than core work because you are fully connected, both mentally & physically to your centre. I live and breathe this work and because all that I teach is intrinsically related to my own life and experience, I can only hope that it all continues to feel authentic across broader audiences
Tell us about where we can find you?
I teach yoga at Wanderlust Hollywood & Pilates at Pilates Metro in Atwater Village. I also teach in-home private sessions. I've been teaching for about 5 years. I originally was based in Santa Barbara and then I was teaching in Melbourne for a while. I'm so happy to have landed at these specific studios back in LA.
What is your favourite treatment that you like to spoil yourself with?
Deep body work massage. Love love love.
What do you do on a daily basis that you find keeps your life on track in a holistic way?
I'm a big believer in living the little things. To the best of my ability, I strive to make time for myself; and quite often, I am able to make it to a yoga class or to squeeze in a solo practice at the pilates studio. Other than that though, I try to eat Ayurvedically. And little things feel good, like starting the day with a cup of hot water or ending the day by massaging coconut oil on my feet.
Where is your favourite place to nourish yourself?
Home. I love going to the farmers market and stocking up on seasonal produce and enjoying a healthy meal at home. I'm also a huge fan of the "I am whole" macrobiotic bowl at cafe gratitude. So yum
Tell us about your studies. How did you build on previous educational experiences?
It all evolved so organically. When I first started working at Yoga Soup, I worked one shift a week in exchange for unlimited yoga. It felt like the most amazing internship. Eventually, after going through my first teacher training, I started teaching there. I later completed a comprehensive pilates training and have also studied deep body work massage and resistance flexibility strength training. It's wonderful to see how these different modalities support and balance one another.
What is the easiest way for you to connect to your holistically minded community?
Showing up. Yoga studios attract the widest range of holistically minded people's. Showing up and being present goes a long way.
How do you morally react to practicing new age spirituality and using western medicine?
I think we will all find the balance that works best for us as individuals. Personally, I've been so frustrated by certain aspects of western medicine, especially in regards to addressing symptoms of an issue instead of the cause. I check in with an Ayurvedic doctor pretty regularly as well as a naturopath and I've never felt healthier. I absolutely recognize the validity of western medicine and believe there is a time and place for everything.
What led you to seek healthcare opportunities outside of traditional western medicine?
I was lucky to be raised in a very open minded home. I think it was ingrained within me from a very young age that there alternative practices and that these alternative practices absolutely hold truth.
What unique challenges and rewards come from working with your clients?
There really is nothing better than hearing that someone feels more connected to their bodies or stronger or lighter or more mobile. It's so rewarding to facilitate that journey. As with any industry that involves people, navigating various personalities can always present surprising challenges.
What are some of your personal and/or professional goals for the future?
I'm pretty stoked to be a part of the team at Wanderlust & I'd love to teach at one of their festivals sometime soon.
Describe a typical day (or week) of work for you.
A typical day involves teaching a yoga class in the early AM, working at Wanderlust during the bulk of the day, squeezing in a class in the afternoon, and heading to the pilates studio after that to teach a couple of clients.
What do you think will be considered the hottest holistic specialties developing over the next decade?
Ha! I don't know. That's a good question. But my hope is that people are moving away from the desire to find a quick and immediate "fix." All of these holistic health practices take time, energy, care & effort. The more people recognize the value and potential to prevent so many health complications, the more people that will integrate them into their lives. Maybe the next biggest thing will be cupping. Who knows?!
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you so much for asking me to be a part of this! Such an honor. Xx