Julie Norman, BS, E-RYT, ES
Aloha! Thanks for visiting my site. This is the page where I share my story, at least the short version. I believe doing so is important. I just hope I get to learn at least as much about you sometime!
First and foremost, I’m a lover of life. It’s often difficult, downright painful even but overall I find it fascinating. I believe there are no accidents. I believe we’re all here on purpose, that we have a purpose, and that life will constantly lead us back to this truth. I’ve found yoga to be a fabulous guide for the journey. My passion lies in making the gifts of yoga accessible to all and easy to apply everywhere in life.
Though I wouldn’t formally begin studying yoga until 2002, many of it’s tenets were shown to me prior. The greatest being my connection to horses. That’s right, my first yoga teacher was a horse! Truly, following my heart to be immersed in nature with these highly intuitive beings taught me mindfulness, compassion, self-worth and emotional congruence. These experiences helped me heal through an eating disorder I had from age five to twenty. When I found “real” yoga later, it felt like home. I was amazed that an organized system existed. Practicing this art and science deepened much of what I learned through The Way of the Horse.
Career wise, I originally wanted to be a marine biologist. I’m OBSESSED with sharks (I have two tattooed on my left forearm) and as a kid I wanted whales and ponies for pets even though we lived in the midwest. I eventually got the pony (actually a quite large horse), Patrick, which led me to stay local for college so I could continue showjumping competitions with him. My sport and recovery led me to the field of nutrition. I received a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from the University of Akron in 1998 and launched my own business, Real Nutrition, LLC, in early 1999. For over a decade, I worked mainly in eating disorders treatment with some sports nutrition and wellness consulting as well. As a registered dietitian, I had the pleasure of serving the following organizations:
- The Summa Health System NIH research study on wellness
- Laurelwood Hospital and Counseling Center (full-time clinical dietitian)
- Baldwin-Wallace College Health Services
- Jewish Family Services Association of Cleveland
- The Health Initiative Project serving the Akron Public Library
- Vita-Mix Corp and SummaCare
- New Beginnings Eating Disorders Center
- Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders (The Emily Program)
- Wellness Works for You Corporate Wellness Programs
- Laurel Lake Retirement Community
After seven years of personal yoga practice I completed my 200-hour teacher training in 2009 with Harriet “Bhumi” Russell who lived at Kripalu for eight years when it was still an ashram. She brought much of the spiritual teachings to our training which I appreciated and find not all teachers recieve. Beyond this, I sought more education by taking multiple workshops with leaders Todd Norian, Seane Corn, Ana Forrest and MC Yogi plus local mentors Tracy Heck and Nancy Lynn Holland. My own path and work with women in recovery has led me to teach from a trauma-informed perspective. I’ve completed two specialized trainings in this area and plan to go on with this study. I love continuing to learn and teach this sacred art and foundational science. In 2017 I became a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider giving me the ability to support other teachers in their ongoing learning. I plan to dive into my 300-hour training as soon as I decide which of the above teachers I want to learn with the most. Tough decision!
In 2010 I created Body Karma Healing inspired by my work with women in eating disorders treatment. This specialized yoga program enhances clients recovery efforts with what I call “Soul Skills” from yoga. These tools, which aren’t typically offered in conventional approaches, help women realize the deep and lasting body and food peace I know is possible. This program also addresses how patriarchal power systems in our culture play out in the way women feel in and treat their bodies and therefore how they navigate life. BKH facilitates self-empowerment beyond these patterns to help them fulfill their greatest potential.
Around the same time, an old trauma from a short marriage in 2000 surfaced. I realized I was a rape survivor. I took a year long sabbatical to focus on healing and began transitioning my business from a nutrition-based to a yoga-based enterprise. BKH remains one of my signature programs which you can access through my free eCourse. I see my work now as another level of evolution that moves beyond this niche and embraces all of who I am and what I want to offer the world.
From 2012-2014 I realized a dream of mine. I brought my worlds of yoga and horses together in Crystal Awakenings, a healing arts community I co-created with dear friend and colleague Madison Graves. During this time we facilitated groups and retreats with our sacred herd. I also got to coach clients and groups in the Body Karma Healing approach on the very land where I had found so much of my own healing. In early 2015, Madison and the herd were called to South Texas where we thought they would live out the rest of their years. Cut to July 2019, the herd came back to Ohio which is awesome. I was longing to share their magic with clients again but didn’t have my partner Madison to work with. That’s when I found out that another incredible group of my colleagues from the recovery field had opened Hope Meadows Foundation, an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning Center. I was honored to be invited into their herd and became an Eagala certified Equine Specialist in October 2019. I currently offer programs there like Yoga and Horses and Women, Food and Horses.
I’m a member of the Yoga Alliance, have blogged extensively for Recovery Warriors and have had the pleasure of being an expert speaker on two nationwide telesummits with Dr. Susan Albers of Eating Mindfully and Jessica Flint of True Warrior. In 2015, I published my first book Poems from the Path of Peace Vol. 1 and just recently Vol. 2 a collection of personal musings from my own healing journey coupled with fabulous nature photographs by Jim Lewis, Jr. and midwifed by celebrant, psychologist and publisher Kathleen Pichola.
Karma yoga is by far my favorite activity. I adore sharing yoga in my community simply for the love of it. I’ve volunteered extensively over the last six years with Stewart’s Caring Place Cancer Wellness Center , The Big Love Network and Free Akron Yoga. This past year, I added teaching yoga to youth in crisis living in residential facilities through ShelterCare, an experience that is so meaningful its difficult to describe.
Finally, I live in Northeast, OH with my daughter Elle, my husband Dave and his three kids Zoe, Ethan and Gabriel. We share our lovely lake home with one fabulous cat, Sir Hillary, and the most huggable dog ever, a big Newfoundland named Asha (they take up lots of space on my Instagram). Besides yoga, sharks and horses, I love music, (my favs being Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack Johnson, No Doubt and Prince to name a few) dancing, hiking, mountain biking, swimming and cooking. Take me to sing karaoke and I am your friend forever. I’m a kid at heart and I believe in love. Ok, I think that’s it for now. Thanks for reading through to the end! I’d love to know your story and to explore the path of yoga with you through my on-line offerings, private coaching or in person. Feel free to connect anytime!