by Robbie Kaye

You know you’ve met someone special when you walk away after spending time with her and feel more energized and enlightened in some way.

This is definitely my experience of Julie Samuels Metheany, teacher and owner of Bloom Yoga Studio.

Julie Samuels Metheany, teacher and owner of Bloom Yoga Studio.

Samuels Metheany is a fantastic teacher, therapist, business owner, mother and grandmother. She contributes meaningful and positive energy to the community and I am lucky to call her my friend.

She lived in Santa Barbara before moving to Boulder, Colo., and moved to the valley in 1998 when her husband got a job in Lompoc.

LOV: What are some of your favorite things to do here in the valley?

I love to swim in the river when it’s flowing, hike Refugio, Gaviota, Grass Mountain … I love the event Real Men Cook and the New Frontiers Music on the Green, Tales from the Tavern, Live Oak in summer. I am really enjoying all the new restaurants that have sprung up.

 Was it difficult to get your yoga studio started?

I had been teaching Nia at the YMCA for 5 years before, so I actually had students follow me to the studio and that helped. Some of my other teachers had followings as well.  I think the biggest hurdle now and then is to educate students that they don’t have to be advanced to come to Bloom. I hear that a lot.

There is this sense that “I need to be good at it before I come to a studio,” and yet we offer beginner to advanced level classes that are a right fit for each person. Starting at a beginner class and or with privates (lessons), then working your way up (or not), is always the best.

Tell us a little about your professional background.

I’m actually a therapist with a private practice. I was a dietitian after undergrad school and then realized after a few years in the field that most of my clients had been long-term diet/bingers/diet/bingers and needed more from me than a creative food plan, so I went back to grad school for psychotherapy.

Most of my work has been in eating disorders working in in-patient and outpatient clinics. In the last 20 years I have spent a lot of my focus on the mind-body approach to food and teaching our bodies wisdom as a way out of that cycle.

What attracted you to working with eating disorders?

Food disorders are so prevalent. Nobody really knows what or how to eat, and the food industry and the diet industry want it that way. The diet industry is $80 billion strong, so any time there is a new food craze they jump on it with all kinds of advertisement.  Our inner eater knows if we listen. We all knew when we where young.

Where did you get your training in yoga?

I trained with Shiva Ray and here in the valley with Mary Kay West. I also have done lots of workshops around the country, including working with Rod Stricker and Jeanne Heileman.

What are some of your favorite classes to teach?

I love teaching the three modalities: Nia, Evolutions, yoga. I think they really compliment each other. Nia is a cardio class with the element of the fun and play … Working out for the sake of working out is not enjoyable for me … Evolutions and yoga keep my students and me fit and far away from injuries.

Can you give us an example of a client transform into a healthier version of himself or herself?

I had a student /client come to the YMCA for a few months and not be able to  get out of her car. She was too scared. It took her a while just to come into class, she was so afraid of moving in front of people. She would come and leave without really talking and connecting.  Today she is 100 pounds lighter and dances three times a week, not just with me but in other venues as well.

What did you have to overcome to get where you are today?

I grew up with learning disabilities and they didn’t really know what to do then, so I just felt dumb. When I got accepted to graduate school I remember thinking. “They must need the money,” not realizing that this story about myself was still following me.

How do you balance running a business with family, friends, fun and staying healthy?

I make my mental, emotional and physical health a priority, not every day but a lot. I also feel lucky because I love both my jobs.  I get to be real and talk about real things, which help me stay present.

I would much rather know about the inner world of someone than talk about any thing else. It’s easy to fall in love with anyone when you realize we’re not that different from each other.  I started a consistent meditation practice in the morning and even if I only have 15 minutes before I have to hit the road running, I pause and either listen to inspirational music, lectures, or just bask in appreciation. I try to do this more thoughout the day as well.

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