Voga: Let your body go with the flow
When Juliet Murrell realised the combination of music, dance, and yoga sparked a whole new interactive experience, she decided to combine all three to create her now global movement: voga. The yoga instructor tells our reporter why she's bringing the fun factor to Dublin's Wellfest this year
Madonna may have introduced the world to the concept of Vogueing back in 1990, but Londoner Juliet Murrell has gone one step further, fusing the very essence of the hit classic and its fashion-inspired celebration of colour and movement, with the more traditional posing and stretching elements of yoga.
Juliet first came up with the idea following a trip to Ibiza.
"I realised that yoga, music and dance can fuse to be part of one interactive experience, which lifts you out of the everyday and makes you feel fabulous," Juliet says. "It is an accessible way to offer everyone the benefits of yoga without being too off-puttingly spiritual. The emphasis is on fun, but you will feel the workout the next day and can expect to burn 850-plus calories per session."
Juliet created 'voga' with the goal of making fitness fun for everyone. "Voga is inclusive," she says. "It is for everyone; all ages and all skills. It reworks that essentially 80s joy of fitness in a new creative way that combines an awareness of holistic breath-synchronised movement and cardio sequencing that guarantees results."
Voga, Juliet says, targets key areas of the body with a series of exercise sequences that tone and sculpt, working muscle groups that other forms of exercise often miss.
"The biceps, glutes, inner thighs and abdominals are key as well as increasing blood circulation to the peripheries of the body, hands and feet. It boosts serotonin levels and leaves you with a new sense of empowerment, confidence and glow."
Juliet, a successful set designer in the fashion, film and design worlds, qualified as a yoga instructor in 2011 in a bid to restore her energy levels, which had been depleted by post-viral chronic fatigue.
She was first diagnosed with chronic fatigue at the age of 16 and discovered yoga the same year.
"It is a debilitating illness and you feel powerless, but with yoga and Pilates, plus a change in my diet and lifestyle, I realised that you always have the power to make a change.
"I kept my focus and vision on getting better," Juliet adds. "It took about five years in total for me to be completely well again, but one day I just realised that it had disappeared and I've never looked back since."
Five years ago, Juliet decided to train as a yoga instructor.
"I was working as an art director and had the desire to take a break from London and head to India to train as an instructor," she explains. "I wasn't expecting a complete change in career; it was meant to support my freelance film lifestyle, but I found teaching so exciting and fulfilling that I decided to commit and see where it took me. Then voga happened."
Following the breakout success of Juliet's House of Voga sessions around the world, Juliet will be bringing voga to Ireland later this month, as she takes part in Wellfest at Dublin's Herbert Park.
"The most important aspect in fitness for me is how it feels," Juliet says. "Start with the goal of having fun and the effects will be two fold. It's important to do what you love doing every day."
Juliet believes that voga allows participants a creative space in which they can express themselves.
"Celebrating your body is unavoidable. It's all about finding your own style, being as big as you can with your movements, freeing yourself from an idea of perfection."
* WellFest takes place in Dublin's Herbert Park on September 17 and 18. Tickets available from wellfest.ie
Health & Living