Each week, we’ll toss out six questions to a local health or fitness expert. Topics will range from new workout trends to healthy eating tips and everything in between. We all have fitness goals: Here’s to helping each other achieve them.

As a recent grad and avid yogi, you’d think Julia Hanlon would be unrolling her mat and practicing her downward dogs.

Not this Bostonian. Since graduating Bates College in the spring of 2014, Hanlon has created both a virtual healthy space (her blog) and has traveled great distances to coach others about wellness and running.

So, without further adieu, please meet this vibrant, young Hub resident who is influencing our community as well as those worldwide.

Caroline Earle: What motivated you to become a yoga instructor?

Julia Hanlon: During high school, my yoga practice developed into a daily practice that helped me navigate the growing pains of young adulthood. In the spring of my senior year, I recognized that I wanted to hold space for other young people to experience their own transformation and also bring yoga to my soon-to-be school, Bates College.

In turn, I received my 200-hour yoga teaching certification through the Radiant Yoga School in Boston, during the fall of my freshman year at Bates. I also started The Bates Yoga Kula that following winter, with free yoga classes for Bates students, faculty, and staff. The Kula it still going strong since I graduated in May 2014!

CE: Besides running and yoga, are there any forms of fitness you’d like to try in 2015?

JH: I would love to try snowshoeing. I got a taste of snowshoeing for the first time on a winter adventure last month and would like to try running with snowshoes on — I have a snowshoe race in store for this winter!

I also want to get back to my rollerblading roots. As a young girl, I was not a team sports person and would instead rollerblade around the baseball field while my older brother played little league. I loved the freedom and flight that comes from being on skates and am looking forward to tearing up the streets of Boston by blade as soon as the weather gets warmer.

CE: What tips can you give for maintaining proper nutrition throughout the week?

JH: Meal prep weekly and eat greens daily!

Preparation entails making a few large batches of foods that you can easily take to-go throughout the week (Sunday night is my ideal prep time). Preparation also means never being without basic staples— I always have a snack in my backpack, whether it be an apple, Nuttzo squeeze pack, or Health Warrior chia bar, it is important to have something healthy to munch on when you get hungry.

Eating green involves incorporating a green vegetable in every meal, including breakfast! My favorite way to get my greens in the morning is by drinking a tall glass of my Shamrock Kale Shake or Buddhaful Smoothie— two Running On Om originals!

CE: Tell us more about your wellness blog, Running On Om!

JH: Running On Om is the home base for my passions for yoga, running,  food and nutrition. I invite people to learn and be inspired by the podcast interviews with holistic pioneers (over 90 and counting!), blog posts on my health journey, plant-based recipes, practice online via my fitness videos.

CE: Since graduating Bates College in 2014, how have you spent your time post-college?

JH: This past Fall, I spent time living and working in Sululta, Ethiopia with the Yaya Girls Program.

The Yaya Girls Program is a semester program for young Ethiopian female runners (typically 6 students), centered on running, education, and gender empowerment. I taught English classes, coordinated the Yaya Girls’ schedule and activities, assisted their lead running coach, and managed their website.

It was an eye-opening experience to be exposed to another running culture and entirely different way of life. This winter, I am back home in Cambridge and excited to return to the Boston yoga and running communities as a yoga teacher at local studios and running coach at my former high school.

CE: Any resolutions for 2015 you’d like to share?

JH: I am not big on resolutions, but instead set intentions and goals for my year. For the past five years, I have set a one-word intention that creates aim and purpose for the upcoming year.

In the past, I have been private with my intentions, treating them like a birthday wish that won’t come true if I tell other people. But this year, my intention is not a wish, but instead a living force that I want to share and embody in my relationship with myself and others: Compassion!

One of my personal running goals is to run 15 races in 2015, with the hope that racing more often, including tackling distances outside my comfort zone, will hopefully make my inner critic chill out and embrace the fun and fire that comes with racing.

Lastly, my final intention for 2015 is to get a driver’s license. I have resisted driving for a long time since I love traveling by foot, bike, or public transit … but I recognize that it is important to have a license, so that I can drive to trail heads, snowshoe races, and maybe even road trip to some of the best U.S. National Parks (on my bucket list).

Be sure to catch up with Julia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and of course, her blog


Images via Julia Hanlon