What comes to your mind when you think about yoga? Is it a beautiful, lean, 6-foot woman? Is it a sunny beach? Doing the splits while you’re standing on your head?
These stereotypes and unrealistic expectations are just that, according to yoga instructor, personal trainer and Rexburg resident Juls Thompson. To echo the call of her business Find Your Fit, Thompson invites anyone who is interested in yoga to attend her free class at Smith Park this Friday.
The healing power of yoga
Thompson has an extensive background and experience teaching yoga. She and her family recently moved from Illinois, where she was a fitness instructor, personal trainer, and yoga instructor.
“I’ve always been looking for ways to help feel better so I can have a long, healthy, fit, and productive life,” Thompson says. “And yoga was the one way that made my body feel like it was healing, rather than getting stronger and more injured at the same time.”
As a personal trainer, she is certified and specializes in cancer survivor fitness, senior fitness, and women’s health. She believes strongly in the physical healing that occurs with yoga, which she has seen in her own life as well as others’.
“I had elderly people take my classes back in Illinois with arthritis whose arthritis was alleviated,” Thompson recalls. “Back pain was alleviated. Even for me, with yoga, I feel like I’m actually balancing my body.”
“I’m gaining the flexibility, the strength, and the endurance while everything kind of falls back into place rather than throwing it out,” she adds.
Thompson has also seen many other benefits on different planes, including with mental health, stress relief, and processing trauma.
“I’ve seen people who break down and cry during meditation,” she says. “Because it helps them to break through those mental barriers as they sit and focus and internalize,”.
Yoga is a very internal practice, Thompson says, even when doing it in a group setting like her classes. It is something that everyone, regardless of athleticism or any other trait, can do.
A practice for everyone
Thompson has a motto, a call to all those interested in yoga, in which she believes strongly: make yoga fit your body, don’t make your body fit yoga.
“So many people think you have to be flexible to do yoga, or if you’re not flexible you can’t do yoga,” she says. “But that’s really not the case.”
With her background and all those whom she has instructed through yoga, Thompson knows first-hand that there are no cookie-cutter prerequisites to practice yoga.
“Yoga’s about every body type, every human being finding a way to experience the benefits that yoga can provide them in whatever capacity that might be,” Thompson adds.
This adds much to the reason Thompson wanted to provide a free experience for yoga in the community. To not only offer yoga devotees an experience, but also those who may have thought they were unqualified.
“All ages, all body types, all fitness levels,” she emphasizes. “We just want people to come and experience it and see the value that yoga can give to them.”
Yoga classes in Rexburg
Earlier this summer, Juls Thompson began asking around to other yoga instructors in the area if there was any interest in running a free yoga class in the park. This was how she met Amie Einerson, a Yoga Alliance certified instructor.
The two yoga instructors decided to run a five-week session this summer, to work around busy summer schedules.
“It was something where both of us had a desire to share yoga with our community,” Thompson says. “To help people understand what it is, what its benefits are, and give them an opportunity to experience it for themselves in an affordable way.”
They held the classes every Friday for five weeks at 7:30 p.m. in Smith Park. This Friday, July 14, is the last class of the summer so as to accommodate their schedules.
Apart from the weekly class at the park, Thompson and Einerson also teach their individual classes.
Thompson conducts a twice a week class, on Monday and Wednesday nights, at Dance It! Studio. There she acts in her capacity as not only a yoga instructor but a fitness trainer and women’s health specialist as well.
“I like to focus on women’s health and try and help women recognize that it’s nice to find some kind of balance and keep ourselves healthy so we can keep taking care of our families and live our lives productively,” she says.
Einerson’s company, Integrated Counseling and Wellness, offers yoga as a part of their wellness program. She offers sessions in mindful yoga and conducts workshops in yoga for mood management.
A new step
Although the free summer yoga classes come to an end for this year on Friday, Thompson says she would love to do them for a longer period next year. Plus, come September, a new opportunity to teach what she loves will open up for her.
“What I’m excited about is that in September I’m partnering with Center Point Counseling Services,” Thompson says. “We’ll be offering classes through them and then using their space for my private classes as well.”
Center Point Counseling is at 393 E 2nd N, over by the junior high school. Thompson says that they hope to follow the example of Integrated Counseling and Wellness, and offer yoga for clientele and employees.
You can find class times and prices at her Find Your Fit Facebook page. And feel free to take advantage of the final free yoga class in Smith Park on Friday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m.