Former La Medusa Owner Focused on Healthy Mind, Body, Spirit

Former La Medusa Owner Focused on Healthy Mind, Body, Spirit

By Amber Campbell

Hillman City neighbor Julie Andres lives a good life — a balanced, intentional existence focused on a healthy mind, body and spirit.

“Her essence is calm and centered and she exudes this incredibly all-giving aura,” says friend Michele Bayle. “She is so present when you’re with her. Everyone is important to her.”

In 2009, after the passing of her father, a crossroads in her marriage and a decade owning one of Columbia City’s favorite restaurants (La Medusa), where she served Sicilian favorites such as caponata and pasta con le sarde and provided a dining experience that Providence Cicero called “the finely woven product of well-practiced artisans” (Seattle Times), she realized she needed a “paradigm shift” in her work and personal life.

“Yoga had always been a place for me to be in my body with my strength, my breath, and free from the critical perspective of my mind,” she said. “Through the highs and lows of my human experience I always came back to my practice. Don’t get me wrong, I struggled on my mat, too – but in a healthy way, in a way that cultivates change and growth. I truly believe that our adversities teach our how to feel, how to forgive and how to connect with others through our imperfections.”

She’d been teaching yoga since 2009 and decided to focus on it full time after selling the restaurant.

“It has been a road of empowerment for me, a way to relate to the world and still be authentic,” she said. “I will always be a student in this game of Life, how wonderful it is to be a truth seeker.”

Earlier this year, she visited India and returned with all sorts of beautiful Kantha quilts, bracelets, bags, pillow covers and more that she now sells through her Alma pop-up sales held throughout the community.

“The pieces I have traveled home with are one-of-a-kind, handmade bags, jewelry and fabrics,” she said. “The colors are vibrant and alive. I chose Alma as the name of my company because it means soul or spirit. These pieces hold that unique spark.”

Julie has been bringing pop-up stores to Seattle once a month and will continue to curate her window display in Columbia City until Alma is fully brick-and-mortar. The next one is coming up Sat., July 23 and Sun., July 24, from 10 am to 4 pm at 3806 S. Ferdinand St.

Next year, she’ll be taking her practice — Levity Yoga — around the world, hosting retreats in Greece, Costa Rica and Sayulita, Mexico, including daily yoga classes and meditation, local food and drink,  mountain hiking and cooking classes.

This week, she was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for our People in Your Neighborhood column — a series of interviews with some of South Seattle’s most interesting and engaging people.

JulieAndresPizza head shot

Photo/Thomas M. Barwick Inc.

Name:
Julie Andres

Age:
45

Neighborhood:
Hillman City

How long in South Seattle?
15 years

Where from originally?
Mercer Island

Day job:
Yoga Teacher

What do you like most about your day job?
I get to guide people into their bodies, often people come to their yoga practice to get out of their heads. Also, It’s like hosting a large group Simon Says.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Coffee

Tell us about your work in the community.
I owned a restaurant for a long time in Columbia City (La Medusa) 2003 until 2013, it felt like a community experience in that I saw many people from the hood in the dining room, donated to local fundraisers and schools, showed art from local artists and shopped the Farmers Market every Wednesday. Now I just try to do my part as a consumer, supporting local small businesses.

What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about experiences, crafted things, bright colors, gardening and food.

What are your hobbies?
I just learned how to knit, pulling weeds, drinking coffee, reading, riding my cruiser, traveling.

Tell us about your family:
My parents live in Columbia City, my brother is two years older than me, he lives in Florida. I am married to an amazing guy named Evan. We have two kitties.

What’s your most favorite thing about South Seattle?
Diversity, Seward Park

What’s your least favorite thing about South Seattle?
Watching people throw bags of fast food trash out of their car windows. Random gunfire.

Where is your favorite place to go in South Seattle?
My back yard (or front yard)!

If you could live anywhere besides South Seattle, where would it be?
Nayarit Mexico

If there was one thing you could change about South Seattle, what would it be?
More affordable housing for low-income families.

JulieAndres2

Photo/Libby Lewis

Who inspires you?
Ghandi, Obama, Brene Brown

What was the last thing you read?
“While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness,” by Eli Sanders

Tell us something about you that not many people know:
I don’t like mushrooms, it’s a texture thing.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Living in the moment.

What is your greatest fear?
Being judged by others.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My tendency to exaggerate, it’s a form of lying.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Superficiality, racism

What is your greatest regret?
I don’t have any regrets.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My Dad was one of the greatest people in my life, he passed away in 2009.

What is your current state of mind?
Pure possibility.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Sobriety

JulieAndrespoolside sayulitaWhat is your most treasured possession?
I don’t really have any sentimental objects or things, but I really love my dirty, beat up Subaru. It kicks ass. Oh yeah – my house! I love my house!

What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty, humor

What is it that you most dislike?
Travel constipation.

What else should we know about you?
I will forever be a student in life, I don’t know much about anything.

Is there a South Seattle neighbor you’d like to know more about? Nominate them for our People in Your Neighborhood column — a series of interviews with some of South Seattle’s most interesting and engaging people. Send your suggestions to gosouthseattle@gmail.com. Featured photo/Jim Meyers

 

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