Owner, Head Teacher
Yoga E-RYT 500, Ayurveda Specialist, Children’s Yoga, Yoga Therapy, & Pilates
Mandy Grant is the Head Teacher and Owner of Juluka Yoga Studio. Her Yoga teaching experience spans over 20 years, and “Juluka”, which is the Zulu word for “sweat,” is the culmination of her life’s experiences and truly a dream come true for this South African native. Mandy’s devotion for the practice and her desire to always be learning has led her to obtain several yoga specialties and certifications, train with notable teachers, and round out her expertise with Pilates certifications, as well.
But she wasn’t always the happy, smiling Yogi that her community of family, friends, and students know her as today. Many would be surprised to learn that if Mandy hadn’t found the Yogic Path, she would have most likely ended up staying in the Finance Industry! She was at one time, the youngest female manager of a bank when she worked at a brokerage firm, but decided to take a chance and emigrate to the United States in the 80’s during the throes of burgeoning revolution in South Africa. Picking up work here and there to fund her other passion – Travel, Mandy fulfilled 1 aspect of her childhood dream of traveling the world (originally as a flight attendant, but she managed to skip that bit). What she learned from her travels and identifying some of her favorite places: Australia, Hawaii, Fiji, was the common thread of connecting with Nature in each location that truly spoke to her soul.
Once in the US, with Mandy’s growing interest in fitness and wellness, she decided to try a Hatha yoga class on a whim with her friends in Cresskill, NJ. She thought the class was somewhat interesting but it was when she saw the teacher demonstrate Bakasana – Crow Pose, that she truly began to pay attention to what she originally thought was a practice “for little old ladies.” The first time she got into Crow pose, she thought: “I can’t believe my body can do this” and experienced a feeling of connection with balance that she hadn’t previously ever felt in her other fitness endeavors. Her yoga practice grew in the following years here in the States, and by the 90’s when she found a weekly class and teacher with whom she cultivated a sincere affinity, Mandy decided she wanted to teach Yoga to bring the same feeling of calm and wellness that she herself had found. Fulfilling her other childhood dream of becoming a Teacher – Mandy returned to Mexico after having taken a life-changing Yoga retreat, and learned everything she could about teaching yoga from her mentor.
It was in 2005 when Mandy was in the full swing of things, with raising her family, working full time as a travel agent, and running around all over NJ part time as a yoga teacher when everything led up to her big “aha” moment. While watching her self-described “idol,” Oprah Winfrey, on an inspirational show that focused on charity and world issues, Mandy thought: “if this American woman is doing what she can to help out the impoverished and sick people of South Africa, then as a native South African myself, I can do something here in America to help too!” And with that lightbulb, some loyal friends & clients, and a leap of faith, grew the recipe for Juluka’s original location in Westwood, NJ.
Juluka Studio opened the doors in December that year, with a charter mission to donate a portion of her earnings to help feed and clothe AIDS orphans in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Mandy has since expanded her charitable affiliations to many organizations for issues that are near and dear to her heart. Also since opening Juluka’s doors, Mandy has developed a 200hr Yoga teacher training program now entering its 8th successful year. Many of her graduates remain a part of the Juluka community to teach or continue their learning with her.
And you can clearly see why people stick around: her compassion, the effortless way in which she invites you into her presence, her patience and warmth keep Mandy’s students and teachers so loyal. She’s humble and grateful – she reminds herself as often as she can how blessed she is. She often remarks about how surprised she is at all the wonderful people in her life that make things possible for her, for Juluka.
Mandy is an American now. Juluka Yoga Studio is in its newer home in Hillsdale, NJ. She has grounded her restless feet a bit with Yoga but continues to explore the world and combine her loves of Yoga, Travel, and Teaching with her popular Yoga Retreats.
When asked: “Why Yoga?” she responds: I truly believe that yoga is the answer to so many problems in our world. It raises our consciousness, opens our hearts, and enables us to realize the innate compassion and love that exists in all of us. Although the teachings and theories of yoga are thousands of years old, they so apply to us today. I came to yoga initially to get fit, a better body, and if it made me more relaxed-well that was cool. I was not aware of all the other precious gifts I was to receive on the way.