Name: Julia Gundermann
Years teaching: 1.5
Years practicing: In this lifetime 2.5, my soul: eternally
Studio/business owner: Naamasté for 10 months
Favourite yoga style: Naam Yoga Therapies
What drew you to Naam yoga?
I found Naam Yoga when I burned out from my high-pressure job as a Personal Assistant working in different time zones and travelling the globe. For a while I thought I had it all; I visited places and stayed at luxurious hotels I had always dreamt of (my career started out in the Hospitality Industry) yet I soon realised that money and prestige don’t equal happiness.
Through Naam Yoga I learned practical tools that helped me heal physically, mentally and emotionally and allowed me to reclaim my truth. As a PA your job is to be invisible and always put your boss first. For me, this meant I stopped paying attention to my wellbeing and also lost a sense of confidence, as I was ‘nobody’.
I was fascinated to see my energy shift through my regular home Naam meditation practice and began to be in charge of my thoughts and how I felt, a lifestyle that lasts way beyond time spent on the mat.
Naam meaning ‘sacred word’, sound or vibration combines movement, breath and vocal vibration of mantra. I admit that chanting seemed weird at first but I quickly fell in love with these ancient sounds as they helped me to clear my mind, which was something I hadn’t achieved before through other forms of (silent) meditation.
Favourite asana at the moment:
My favourite posture at the moment is the Naam Star Kriya, which is a previously kept secret posture that the ancient Egyptians used to develop pristine powers.
It’s a standing posture and meditation where our body creates the shape of a five-pointed star, which is a mathematically perfect symbol that re-establishes the perfect healing conditions within the body. With regular practice you will gather a lot of strength (physically and energetically) and become so bright that people around you begin to ask what it is that you do! It’s amazing.
What is Harmonyum Healing? How does it relate to yoga?
Harmonyum Healing is a holistic and energetic type of bodywork that works to harmonise physical, mental and emotional challenges by clearing negative habits or patterns and facilitates change at the root level.
Thoughts and emotions are forms of energy that create our reality; therefore to clear negative habits that we spent years unconsciously creating and are now deeply engrained in our psyche, we have to work with energy to go back to the root of any issue.
The path of yoga and meditation is to unite body, mind and soul in order to raise your consciousness, your awareness, and your energy to live your highest destiny. Harmonyum complements that journey as the treatment brings challenges to the surface so they can be dealt with, allowing you to get to know yourself on a deeper level. Knowing yourself is the key to moving forward in a positive direction.
Imagine your mind as a house: You are cleaning your own house most days (with yoga and meditation) but every now and then it’s good to get a professional to come and give your house a proper clean (Harmonyum).
What inspired you to teach?
That burnout was the best thing that happened to me and I have a deep desire to help others prevent that health challenge. I feel privileged to have found the tools that help manage stress and emotional imbalances and I realised that I am here to share and guide people to live a balanced and healthy life filled with clarity and abundance.
Describe a typical day now compared to when you were in the corporate world:
Do you know the movie “The Devil wears Prada”? My role was very similar, only different industries. Forget mindfulness. I was a great PA; focussed, well organised and efficient but I did not live in the present moment. I checked my emails while walking, dinners were interrupted by phone calls and at night I often dreamt about forgetting to pass on an important message. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job but unfortunately our bodies (and minds) are not designed to withstand that pressure, unless we learn techniques to be still and develop the discipline to do them regularly.
Now my days are filled with daily meditation and yoga practice, spending time in nature and teaching others what I’ve learned. I continue my journey by studying and immersing myself in spiritual texts and ancient philosophies. I enjoy mindful cooking (and baking), staying in touch with my tribe through social media and work on growing my business.
Biggest learning curve in setting up by yourself:
Honestly? Before I embarked on this journey I had money and little time. Now I have time and less money. I’m yet to find the secret balance. But I am happy and I am deeply grateful for that.
What makes you leave a class you’ve taught with a smile?
When I feel the collective energy of the group calm down and students drop from their heads into their hearts. The best thing is when THEY leave with a smile on their face, wishing they could stay on the mat forever.
Best after class snack?
Depends on the time of day. In the evenings: artisan cheese on crackers. Naughty but nice.
What’s the best thing about your corner of Auckland?
Being located in Devonport and surrounded by three beaches it’s nice to go for a stroll along the beach or (in summer) a swim after class. For those who live in the city, catching the ferry to class allows them to slow down before they reach the mat, plus they save the environment. It’s a win-win.
Share something about yourself that your students might be surprised to know:
I’m a geek! This year I attended a code workshop and I loved it.
Thank you so much, Julia. Would you like to be a Featured Yogi? We’d love to know more about you! Or is there someone you’d like to nominate? Get in touch!
©The Yoga Connection 2014