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Downtown Fairbury Welcomes
April 2016 - By day, Elkhorn native Julie Petersen can be found teaching mathematics and computer classes at Fairbury Junior-Senior High School, but many of her evenings are spent leading local residents in the ancient physical and mental discipline of yoga, a practice that has survived over 5,000 years in civilization. Its description only hints at all it means and can do. Ancient. Reflective. Modern. Disciplined. Relaxing. Meditative. Empowering.
In the Fairbury, Nebraska area, yoga enthusiasts and wanna-be yogis can experience all the possibilities this practice offers at Breathe Yoga, instructed by yoga mentor Julie Petersen. Classes meet twice weekly on Monday and Wednesday at Husker Rehabilitation, 504 E Street, in downtown Fairbury. Petersen plans to add adult beginner classes, children’s yoga sessions, and much more in the future.
Petersen’s interest in yoga began in 2013 as she searched for an opportunity to help her get back into shape following the birth of her second son. She started attending a beginner yoga class taught by instructor Sara Paige of B-MOVED Yoga in Fairbury, who continues to be her mentor to this day despite moving out of state.
“I attended the class hoping to improve my personal body image, but I enjoyed the classes so much that I continued practicing and progressing, due to the relaxation techniques I learned and deep breathing to help with my overall respiratory health,” Petersen said.
Hooked on the benefits of yoga, Petersen began to look for more ways to increase her knowledge and training. Petersen completed several training certifications with Take 5 and Core Strength Vinyasa-Rock Star Teacher Training as well as online classes from Yoga International. She has also attended onsite yoga training in Seattle, Washington, Ashland, Nebraska, and Lawrence, Kansas, and currently takes classes in Lincoln at Studio 4:8. Petersen masters even more yoga teaching by reading and adapting various methods from a large selection of books. In the future, she plans to add more instructional training from the Lincoln Yoga Center teachers and plans to participate in more online classes from yoga master Sadie Nardini.
When B-MOVED Yoga relocated to another state in 2016, Petersen stepped in to fill the void in Fairbury with Breathe Yoga. As Petersen can vouch from her own personal experience, people can gain a great deal from practicing yoga.
“I think participants start with a focus on the external benefits – balance, flexibility, strength. However, the real benefits are internal – quieting the mind, slowing the breath, and relaxing!” Petersen said.
As Petersen explains, yoga is for everyone and every body. It provides the opportunity to relax the body, calm the mind, and soothe the nervous system.
“I hear people say, ‘I’m not flexible so I can’t do yoga.’ That’s exactly why you should do yoga! It’s ok if you can’t touch your toes. What matters is what you learn on the way down,” she explained.
Petersen points out that society sees the pictures of yoga poses, showing incredible strength and flexibility. This can discourage people who don’t see the full perspective. “During class I like to remind everyone, it is not about what it looks like, it is about what it feels like. We need to honor our bodies. My students are learning the benefits of deep cleansing breaths to release the physical and mental toxins of life,” she said.
During Breathe Yoga classes, Petersen also introduces the benefits of essential oils through her own consulting experience. “Essential oils blend beautifully with yoga. I provide aromatherapy via a diffuser during class and a washcloth inhaler for final resting pose. My students have enjoyed take-home products, such as lavender bath soak after a detox, twisting yoga practice,” she said.
Petersen sells many essential oil products, including roller bottles, inhalers, spray bottles, lip balm, and other homemade health remedies. In addition, Petersen creates essential oil gifts for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas, and other holidays and special occasions, teaches classes like the upcoming Spring Cleaning on May 7, and hosts spa parties in homes with friends.
Providing affordable opportunities in Fairbury for individuals to improve their holistic health motivates Petersen in teaching yoga. “The blend of yoga and essential oils has kept me grounded, balanced, and centered. My training and teachings emphasize Foundation, Core, Expression in all yoga poses. This easily transfers to life off the mat to stand your ground, find your strength, and be you!” Petersen said.
In order to show more local citizens what yoga has to offer, Petersen plans to broaden her classes. An adult beginner class will launch April 25 for $40 for 8 sessions. Onsite child care will be available. She also wants to give back to the community with free classes for youth at Kids Connection during the summer months, and plans to volunteer her teaching with the high school basketball team open gym this spring.
Currently, Petersen teaches vinyasa-style yoga, connecting breath with poses during a 6 p.m. All Level Yoga class on Mondays and a 6 p.m. Gentle Flow Yoga class on Wednesdays. Her classes are based in Christianity, including Bible scripture verses for meditation each night.
What Petersen has discovered about yoga pushes her to pay it forward to others to help them find their own remarkable benefits. As she shares, “The American yoga community likes to say, ‘If you practice yoga once a week, you will change your mind. If you practice yoga twice a week, you will change your body. If you practice yoga every day, you will change your life.’”
Petersen and her husband, Joe, have two sons, Cody, an active sixth grader and Carter, who at 2 loves life. She has lived in Fairbury and taught in the Fairbury Public School system for 17 years.
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