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Local yoga teacher shares techniques for restorative practice at Bookworm event Tuesday

Daily staff report
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Julia Clarke started practicing yoga with her mom at a young age.
Richard Cummings | Special to the Daily

if you go ...

What: Restorative Yoga workshop with Julia Clarke

When: Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m.

Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St. Riverwalk in Edwards

Cost: $25, includes appetizers and a copy of the book

More information: Call 970-926-7232 or visit http://www.bookwormofedwards.com

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is the new American health crisis. Luckily for us, ancient wisdom may provide a very necessary remedy.

Join local yoga teacher and studio owner Julia Clarke at The Bookworm of Edwards for a deep dive into restorative yoga. Leave the mats at home; all the yoga she will teach can be done from your chair.

Clarke first found yoga at 11 years old, growing up in Scotland.

“I was raised in a single-parent home, so wherever my mum went, I went, and that included Wednesday night yoga classes in the gymnasium of a local primary school,” Clarke said. “I didn’t honestly know what yoga really was but I was captivated from the first lesson and kept seeking out yoga anywhere I could throughout high school and university.”

“People come to yoga for many different reasons, but to me the ramifications of helping someone be a little more aware are huge.”Julia Clarke

In 2009, just one year after receiving her own teacher certification, she got into a bad bike accident, making her feel distant from yoga for the first time since she first stepped foot on the mat.

“I heard about a teacher in Denver named Shannon Paige who was teaching restorative yoga, and I went to her class. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before,” Clarke said. “I left totally blissed out.”

The reason she was so relaxed was because of the way restorative yoga interacts with the body, which is strikingly different from other types of yoga that first come to mind when thinking about the activity.

“Instead of postures that build strength or that focus on improving mobility, restorative yoga puts the practitioner in very gentle, relaxing postures for periods of three to 20 minutes where the body is completely supported by props,” Clarke said. “Because restorative yoga encourages deeper breathing, it supports vagus nerve function, which can slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, improve sleep and decrease inflammation. Its benefits are tremendous, especially to those of us that lead busy, active lives.”

Since her initial foray into restorative yoga, Clarke has become somewhat of an expert on the subject, leading her own trainings worldwide and writing a complete training manual for the practice. Callisto Media took notice and asked her to write the book that would become “Restorative Yoga for beginners.”

“My favorite part was getting to pour years of dedicated practice, teaching and study into a work that was entirely intended to be for beginners. I love taking ancient wisdom and relatively complex subjects and breaking them down and making them really digestible and relatable. It’s really rewarding work, and I love getting to connect with people in such a special way,” Clarke said.

Overall, she’s honored to have the opportunity to reach more people than her classes in a small mountain town ever could.

“People come to yoga for many different reasons, but to me the ramifications of helping someone be a little more aware are huge,” she said. “What’s more important than refining how you show up in the world?”


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