#HotTribe Blog Post 5 with Julio Ramirez
After months of trying to meet, Julio and I finally sat down in the lobby at the studio. He admitted that he was nervous and I assured him that it was okay. After I few minutes, I could tell that he forgot that I was “interviewing” him. He began to sink more comfortably into his chair, uncrossing his arms. I also forgot that I was “interviewing” him. I became so captivated by his words, the sincere look in his eyes, his humble gestures.
I. Was. Inspired.
Then, weeks later, I replayed our recording to transcribe the interview and I was inspired all over again. The New Julio is a silent inspiration at Melt. I hardly ever see him talk but I always see him smile, wave, and nod to other members of our community. I see him on his mat, showing up, inviting the effort and ease that comes with a faithful yoga practice. For the duration of the interview, I was given a front row seat, to uncover what lies beneath his friendly smile….
Monea: How did you hear about Melt?
Julio: Two years ago, a friend of mine suggested that I try yoga. She said that Melt would be the place for me to start so I decided to come 5 months ago.
Monea: After your first class, what made you decide to keep coming back?
Julio: I would say, the friendly staff, first of all. And also how I felt right after…the connection I felt with my body and my mind… and spiritually how I felt. I felt so good.
Monea: Do you remember your first class? Who taught it?
Julio: Yes, I remember (smiling). It was Dina’s Monday night class at 7:30. I was a little afraid of the heat and the temperature in the room but I came. I will never forget that day.
Monea: So inspiring! How has yoga changed your life? Describe what it used to be like, what happened, and what it is like now.
Julio: I think I’ve always had trouble and issues with making decisions. I’ve had anxiety and stress. Before yoga, it was hard for me to control that. I would run or go to the gym to lift weights, and, sometimes I would read a book or go to the beach on a long walk. But when I first started doing yoga all of that went away. It’s so much easier for me to control all of those feelings and moods. My mood and my life in general is better and so much easier. I feel like it’s easier for me to make decisions. Not just when I’m here but out there dealing with life, I think about all the things I learn here and what you guys (the teachers) encourage us to think and do—the breathing techniques and everything else…you know what I mean?
Julio: I’ve been through a lot and I’m sure a lot of people have been through a lot but yoga makes me feel so good. Even when I don’t come here, I do it at home. It may not be as intense as when I do it here with an instructor but I feel like since I started doing it I just feel so much more confident. I can make decisions. I feel that I am worth doing everything that I do. I do it with love. I feel grateful for everything, my family, and my friends. Yoga has definitely has changed my life, for the good.
Monea: Yes, that’s powerful! I was actually having a conversation with a friend today about making decisions and how it takes me a long time to decide (laughter).
Julio: It’s hard.
Monea: But you made a big decision because you moved to Pennsylvania from Puerto Rico, right?
Julio: Yes, I did make a big decision in moving here but I don’t think I’ve ever made a decision as good as coming here to Melt every day. It even helps to plan my days. I feel like I have everything together now but I don’t (laughter) I just feel like I do.
Monea: That is awesome! At Melt, we believe, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” What pose has challenged and changed you the most, physically, emotionally, and spiritually?
Julio: Can I say two?
Monea: Sure you can say two!
Julio: I would say Savasana (corpse pose) because I feel like I have electricity in my body all the time (chuckle). I can’t relax! I can’t lay down and I won’t go to bed until I’m pretty much sleep (laughter). To relax and let my body be, listen to my heart, and my breathing is really hard. I’ve learned a lot by coming here the last 5 months, especially the breathing techniques. I’m better able to relax, let my body do nothing, and allow myself to do nothing but feel so happy and grateful inside at the same time.
Also standing split is challenging. It’s really hard for me to do. I don’t have the strength. I don’t have the flexibility…
Monea: Okay, flexibility? Maybe because I know you have the strength… (Both laugh)
Julio: (laughing) Okay I feel like I don’t have the strength or maybe it’s in my head. At the same time, I really like standing split because I can challenge myself to get better every day. Even when I’m not doing yoga here, I’ll go home and practice it because I really want to get the pose.
Monea: If someone was intimated by hot yoga, namely the heat, what would you tell them to encourage them to give it a try?
Julio: Do not be afraid of the sweat because that’s the one thing I was afraid of. I was a little concerned about being sweaty in front of people and letting them see me sweat so much.
Then, I would probably tell my story. I would tell them how good I feel and spiritually, mentally, and how worth it I feel now. I feel stronger now. Even though I used to do lifts, I never felt as strong as I feel now and capable of reaching the stars. That’s how I feel when I come here. I would also say there are a lot of benefits to hot yoga- physical and mental. And, also, spiritually, which is a big part of who we are and relate to other people.
Monea: What do you like most about being a part of the Melt Hot Yoga community?
Julio: You guys! The teachers, the friendly people, and the smiles. I’m sure everyone comes here with a different goal and purpose, maybe weight loss or trying to feel better physically or mentally, but no matter what they come here for, there is always a smile and good energy here. There is a real benefit to being a part of something, to have something in common. I love that yoga is so important in people’s lives that they join here to be a part of something good.
I think it is important to share with others and be happy. No matter if you come here at morning or at night, it always makes you feel better. And I think that’s great! And people look forward to that feeling!