Yoga practitioner helps create community along the Lakeshore

Muskegon resident and local yoginis veteran Julia Fisher is part of a passionate movement on the Lakeshore to bring people together to connect through recently reopened in-person classes. She wears many hats, serving as a private and group yoga and meditation instructor, Clarity Breath practitioner, Hawaiian massage and healing artist, and wellness travel guide.

Julia teaches vinyasa flow yoga at Muskegon Yoga and Rootdown in Muskegon, and at Wildflower Yoga Studio in Grand Haven. She also just launched Clarity Breathwork sessions that will begin in March at Wildflower Yoga Studio. The Lakeshore caught up with Julia on how her work is helping to support the greater community.

The Lakeshore: How has the pandemic impacted your practice and what can we learn about taking better care of ourselves?

Julia Fisher: Our work is more essential now than ever. COVID-19 has also resulted in a mental health pandemic. We don’t know the long-term effects on education and youth. Many have lost jobs, income, and overall security. Our elders have faced mounting threats to their lives and quality of life. We’ve also had time to gaze inward, to contemplate our being. Now that we are navigating unprecedented changes in our culture, we need new tools to help us. We especially need new tools to foster connection and holistic health. Those willing to take their health into their hands as quickly as possible will fare better.

TL: Muskegon is a very yoga-rich community. It’s very common to see students at both studios. How does it feel to be back in an in-person environment?

Yoga instructor Julia Fisher is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of yoga. She’s helping people find connection through yoga at several lakeshore studios.
Being in another person’s electromagnetic field is so healing. It’s been very rewarding to connect again in this way and encouraging to see new students join. This community is incredibly inclusive and here for everyone. The classes range from very gentle to high intensity. Every studio has safety measures that include wearing masks and have limited capacity — up to 12 participants per class. The studios also offer online and hybrid models, offering flexibility for every schedule.

TL: There are so many health benefits of yoga and meditation. Why is going inward so transformational?

JF: Everyone I’ve met who thought transformation wasn’t possible has found it. Beyond getting a yoga booty, what’s there for them is so much more than the physical practice. It’s an ancient art, an ancient science. I feel so blessed to have found it.

Individually, we are all seeking connection, harmony — with ourselves and our source, with all of our relations, especially those close to us. In the U.S., we’ve been conditioned to rush constantly, so we really need practices that are efficient. The beauty of yoga is the practice meets us all exactly where we are in our own human evolutions — mind, body, spirit. Whether someone is dealing with chronic pain, work issues, grief — or they are unable to sit down over Zoom with family and friends with different political views — yoga is the exact medicine for the seeds to the next problems. The secret is out. There is more to it than the physical practice. You become flexible in all areas.

TL: How did you get started practicing yoga?

JF: I’ve been practicing for more than 20 years after discovering yoga in college. It made me feel better in every way, so I wanted to learn more. I completed a 200-hour training through the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta school of yoga following the traditional gurukula ashram method in 2006. Today, I integrate trauma-sensitive yoga teacher training, Usui Reiki, Lomi Lomi Hawaiian healing arts, and Clarity Breathwork. I also teach ancient and modern literature and music as a way to open access points to ever-widening rings of being. I have taught and practiced yoga throughout the Americas and studied with teachers from many lineages.

TL: What is breathwork, and why is it finally catching on?

JF: Breath to me is probably the most accessible for all people as a self-empowerment tool. The results are steady and rapid. That’s why it’s often called the miracle medicine of our time. It’s snowballing across the globe right now. The ability to take deep breaths has never been more crucial. Answers to questions of unease and unrest will gently whisper to us through this breathwork. Many of us tend to mull things over for years. For me, answers appeared in just one class.

TL: Can you give us a sneak peek into upcoming experiences you are looking to offer our community?

JF: I feel very passionate about finding ways to connect people outside. We are so lucky to have this incredible land and water, so to be able to connect people around health in ways people are really yearning for is what I’m excited for. People who knew each other, or who didn’t, are looking to gather in a way that doesn’t include a bar. I think people are ready for more. Last September, I led a guided meditation through Muskegon Yoga on the beach at sunset, and we had a wonderful turnout. The Hawaiian Bowl of Light parable is all about releasing that which has been depleting, weighing on us, holding us back, and dimming our light. It was held on the new moon during the final days of summer. Activating our intentions is much easier when we let go of the weight of past experiences. The meditation ended under starlight, and we even saw Jupiter and Saturn. I plan to offer international retreats this summer.

Julia practices every day and teaches three days a week. To sign up for one of her classes and to learn more about ways you can connect locally, visit Wildflower Yoga Studio, Muskegon Yoga, and Rootdown Yoga-Juice-Greens.
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Read more articles by Kristie Burns.