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  • Writer's pictureJulio Zavagli

Cultivate a nourishing presence through Yoga

words by Eda Utku _

Yoga is an ancient practice that’s become a part of the daily life for many people seeking greater flexibility and fitness, and this is precisely why I was intimidated by it for a long time. If you’re like me, you would have joined gyms only to discover that the Yoga instructor is on another level, displaying mind bending flexibility that you have no hope of ever achieving. I started Yoga and I quit many times in my mature adult life starting in my mid-thirties.

It was a breath of fresh air to come across Julio’s Yoga teaching practice at FIT gym where he wasn’t rushing through the poses but giving us gentle invitations to help us wrap our heads, hearts and bodies into the positions he was teaching. There were no orders to push through the pain, but lots of gentle reminders of alternatives and encouragement to use tools like the blocks and straps to help the uninitiated mind and the body to go where it was needed for the Yoga practice.

As I found out, Julio had a vision for his Yoga practice and had started his own mobile Yoga studio called Bhava Yoga which reflects his commitment to making Yoga accessible.

A Mother’s Caring Wisdom

All good stories start with the loving care of someone who believed in us. In Julio’s case, his mother was the one who introduced him to Yoga. She wasn’t a yogi but a caring mother who wanted her son to have better health, breathe better despite his severe hay fever and connect with a physical activity that did not involve any balls as Julio, despite being Brazilian, wasn’t good at soccer or any other sports growing up.

One day she saw an ad on the TV talking about the health benefits of Yoga and suggested that the then 19 Julio sign up.

Julio’s Unfolding Path

Once Julio was introduced to Yoga, that became his path though it was not obvious in the beginning. Julio finished his degree in business and held onto a corporate career that had begun as an intern working in offices.

He went from one demanding job to the next, from recruitment at Michael Page to selling payroll services while practicing Yoga and then one day the invitation came from his teacher Luciana Perez to start teaching with her.

“I have no teaching experience.” Was Julio’s response but he had the most important thing, passion. His teacher taught him how to teach beginning students and for a year Julio was teaching Yoga early in the mornings before his corporate job or on the evenings and on the weekends. He did this for a year and then he had to make a choice.

Stability or Passion?

As a new yoga teacher he wasn’t making much money whereas he was well paid in the job that did not inspire him. He could see that Yoga was taking off so he took a chance and went deep into his Yoga practice and travelled to India to learn it from the source. He followed a hunch and came to Australia to learn English. Here he was called upon to teach Yoga and so here he is, in Lane Cove, in the same house he rented as a student, with his own practice based in this neighbourhood.

The Life-giving Cactus

Bhava Yoga, which means “essence” is all about being, being in the present, being in calm stillness. Julio is inspired by the cactus that stands in the face of great adversity in a desert environment where it’s not given the resources to survive but despite that it holds onto a well of water within it.

Cacti hold life-giving water for themselves and others to replenish, recharge and navigate the desert landscape which is draining to say the least. As mothers, we must hold that space for nourishment within us. Filling our cup enables us to share the wisdom of our care with our children and families. I believe a Yoga practice is essential not only for busy corporate executives, but also for mums who often feel depleted. This is why I do Yoga and am thankful there’s a style of Yoga that I can do as a beginner.

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