Graduate Story -Juliana Salgado – Graduated 2022

A Love Affair With Yoga

Written by graduate of the 500-hour Teacher Training Diploma, Juliana Salgado

As a child I’d always been drawn to activities like gymnastics, capoeira, and dance. My teenage years were at the beach with friends doing all kinds of poses like hand and headstands. The playfulness of it all always made me happy and now, looking back, helped shape the way my body feels when moving.

Yoga came into my life not long after I was 20. I started out focusing only on the asana side of things. Again, only looking out for the playfulness yoga could bring. I had a private teacher for a while, a dear friend of mine who introduced me to yoga and ignited my curiosity. Later on I took a few studio classes – mostly vinyasa practices – but I always felt like something was missing.

Like in dance classes I took when younger, I felt like I was following someone else’s lead without too much room for freedom of expression or, in this case, attending to my body’s needs/wants.

There was a disconnection and for that reason I was on and off for a good part of a decade.

The Decision to Study Yoga With The Yoga Institute

I’m originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and moved to Sydney in 2016. At that point in my life I was all over the place. I had just turned my life upside down and moved across the world in a span of 3 months. Quit my job, sold everything I had, said bye to family and friends, bought a one way ticket! And what was supposed to be 5 months only, it’s now more than 6 years.

As most international students, the start of a new life in another country is challenging and, more than anything, a humbling experience. It’s almost like everything you’ve done up to that point doesn’t really count or matter.

My first couple of years I dedicated myself to improve my English and study what could complement my formal qualification – Psychology. So I did a diploma in Counselling, followed by Resource Therapy.

End of 2019 I was going to a few yoga classes and just felt all very transactional, superficial. I was also missing studying – I was working a lot at that time and didn’t feel the work I was doing was filling my cup.

After talking to a few friends and my now husband, I decided to do a yoga teacher training course for my own personal practice and self care/awareness.

From all my research, I was between 2 courses. I went and visited the two, and came out of the Yoga Institute without a single doubt that it was the place for me.

The whole approach of viniyoga resonated so much with me. No one size fits all. I remember after my first asana class as a try out – I was just all-smiles! I felt the connection to yoga like I hadn’t felt before. I knew a 500-hour training would be much more comprehensive and supportive of the journey I was willing to take. I was very enthusiastic about the fact that Michael de Manincor is also a psychologist. I had a feeling that the discussions would be extremely rich and couldn’t wait to dive into the yoga sutras! So I joined the 2020 group, and I’m so grateful I did!

March 2020 and covid came along. The Yoga Institute adapted the training so we could keep going, and so did we. What was so special to me about the training was that asana studies + practice, the playfulness I’ve always been attracted to, was only a part of it; the course took me to deeper subjects: Yoga sutras, meditation, communication, and personalized yoga practice were my favorite subjects!

In saying that, I’ve learned so much from all of it that it is hard to point out highlights. However, the most special moment to me, was at the end of the course, when we went for our residential (teaching practice). I designed a practice around the theme courage and while I was sharing my words with the class I was hit by a wave of emotion and started to cry. It was like at that moment I came to realize that this is what I meant to be doing. I let the tears come out and everyone just sat there with me. Reading everyone’s feedback of the class afterwards and all the kind words I received makes me emotional to this day. Such a beautiful community!

Life After Training

I think life has ways to help and, sometimes, test us. Covid times were quite challenging. My job moved location and I decided not to stay with the same company. I thought – perhaps this is it!

I was certain I was going to dedicate myself fully to yoga at that point, but… I got an offer from another company pretty much the same day I interviewed and made the decision to accept the job. Yoga was, again, in the background.

I got married in April 2021 and hubby and I were talking more and more about a baby so I decided to continue studying and engaged on the 50h Pre & Post Natal post grad course with the Yoga Institute, under the guidance of Lisa Grauaug.

The course was eye-opening for me! I knew very little about pregnancy, birth, postpartum and I’ve learned so much!

I fell pregnant in August 2021 and all that rich information couldn’t have come at a better time! Coming from Brazil where the C-section rate is one of the highest in the world, I had a lot of fear around birth. The course opened the possibility for me to change my view about the whole process and to choose for a natural and mindful pregnancy & birth.

My pregnancy was just bliss! Apart from some sickness at the beginning and covid at 30 weeks, it was just amazing. Yoga played a huge role in my wellness. Physically and mentally.

I planned for a homebirth. After 3 days of labour, and a transfer to the hospital, we met our baby boy Kai. (I share the whole story in my journal). I can not even begin to describe how much yoga supported me through this life-changing experience. The endurance and mental strength that was required is something extraordinary (just amazing what women can do). And following birth, the healing and uncountable hours of breastfeeding. Yoga is really a gift for me!

At the time of writing, Kai is almost 10 months old and he’s my yoga buddy. We’ve been practicing since he was about 6 weeks earthside and I can honestly say motherhood has been the most yoga I’ve ever done in my life. So much presence and connection.

During this time caring for Kai and for myself, my passion for Yoga only grew. Especially supporting women on their journey – whatever stage of life they are at. So I founded AwakenLife Yoga, in which I offer several services. At the moment I’m mostly focusing on 1:1 private personalised yoga clients and counselling, pregnancy + postpartum mamas, and in May launching 2 retreats called Yoga, Art N Sip. Soon group classes and workshops!

So when I say I think life has a way of helping and testing us, what I really mean is that life has a way of giving us opportunities for us to take, or not, that could bring us closer to where we want to be. I certainly took my time with my studies (and I thank all the teachers at the YI for the patience and support) and sharing my knowledge with others. I trusted my timing and I feel now is the time to blossom.

I’m so grateful for all the learnings and can’t wait to keep learning with them. With a heart full of gratitude, Juliana

Contact Juliana



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