By Missy Schrott | [email protected]
Julie and Eric Black’s love story began in summer 2016 at a yoga studio.
Julie, a seasoned instructor who has been teaching yoga for about 10 years, was the substitute teacher for a Yoga for Athletes class Eric was taking at Mind the Mat Yoga & Pilates in Del Ray. At that point, Eric had only been practicing yoga for a couple of months.
“She subbed the class one day and as soon as I saw her, I was like, ‘Whoa, who’s that?’” Eric said.
From that first class, Eric said he knew there was something special about Julie.
“She’s incredibly strong and independent and I think that’s what drew me to her when I met her,” Eric said. “Her class compared to the other teachers … was so much more powerful and I was really drawn to that. I was like, ‘That was awesome,’ because I didn’t know yoga that way.”
Attracted to Julie and her class, Eric followed her on Instagram and began to like and comment on her photos. Julie said she was blind to his flirtatiousness at first.
“Because I teach yoga, I have people asking me often about classes and stuff so I didn’t really know what was going on,” Julie said. “One of my cousins was like, ‘So who’s the guy that’s flirting with you?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know, who is he?’ And she pulled out her phone and was like, ‘This guy.’ And I was like, ‘He’s not flirting with me, he’s just asking about classes.’”
A couple weeks later, Eric took one of Julie’s classes at Radiance Yoga in Old Town.
“Then he showed up to my class,” Julie said. “I was super nervous and so the class was just really erratic. … The woman at the front desk was like, ‘How’d it go?’ And I was like, ‘That class was all over the map.’ And one of my students walked out and she was like, ‘What was wrong with you today?’”
While Julie was at the front desk, Eric lingered to try to talk to her.
“I kind of waited for her after class and she was kind of taking her time. She didn’t really notice me or care,” Eric said.
“I was talking to the woman at the front desk,” Julie said. “I was just, like, doing my thing and she was like, ‘He’s waiting for you.’ I’m like, ‘No, he’s not,’ and she’s like, ‘Yes, he’s waiting for you.’ And then he started to leave and she’s like, ‘Go down there!’
“So I walked out and started walking with him, and we started chatting … just both of us super awkward. So I pretended like I was walking to my car and he went to his car and I got to my car and realized that I had left all of my belongings at the studio,” she said, laughing.
Eventually, Eric asked Julie out for dinner.
“We went to Thai Peppers in Del Ray, and I guess the rest was history,” Eric said.
After that first date, the two started dating regularly, and Eric continued to take Julie’s classes every Tuesday and Sunday. The two found common ground with not only their shared love of yoga, but also traveling and cycling.
“We did a lot of trips together, a lot of supported cycling rides,” Eric said. “We would do car trips to Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, and just do 30- to 60-mile bike rides. We did a lot of that and it was really fun, just getting to know each other in the car and doing what we love. … We’ve seen a lot of cool places. We did a donut ride. You had to eat 12 donuts over 60 miles and they were like Amish donuts so they were huge. And then we went to Maine and had lobster at the end of that ride.”
“You go from farm to farm,” Julie said. “It’s along these different farms so at each of the stops, you could stop if you wanted to, and they had little foods and cheeses and stuff that they make there, whatever it is. … Apparently, we love food and cycling.”
“It made it easy to do things together and have those interests,” Eric said. “We didn’t really have to struggle to find stuff to do.”
A little over a year after they started dating, Eric decided to propose to Julie at the Lincoln Memorial one day after yoga class.
“It was a couple of times I was going to ask and none of them worked out,” Eric said. “So I was like, ‘All right, I gotta do this.’ So I just asked her to go for a walk after class.”
Having biked from work in D.C. to the yoga studio in Alexandria that day, Julie said she had just wanted to walk around Old Town.
“We put my bike on the top of his car, and I get ready to walk away and he’s like, ‘No we have to get in the car,’ and I’m like, ‘But we can just walk right here,’ and he’s like, ‘Would you just get in the car?’” she said.
“So we went to the Lincoln Monument,” Eric said, “and on the side of the building facing the bridge at night, your shadow casts on the wall really big and so that’s where I proposed to her.”
In between the engagement and their private courthouse wedding in Alexandria on May 25, 2018, Julie found out she was pregnant.
“My mom cried [when she found out,]” Eric said. “They never thought that we would have a child, just because we were so active and constantly running, they were like, ‘There’s no way they’d have a child.’ So they were happy.”
Julie and Eric’s son, Quinton, was born on July 17, 2018.
“The capacity of love that you can have for somebody, it really takes hold of you,” Julie said. “I’m just looking at his toes and I’m like, ‘Oh my God those toes!’ Or like when you see him and he smiles and just your whole day changes.”
Both Julie and Eric agreed Quinton appears to be taking after Eric.
“I think he has a lot of my personality, right now at least,” Eric said. “I’m much more laidback and nonchalant about things. He seems to be that way for the most part. But I think he likes her more than me right now. … When he sees her, he’s all happy, likes to give her hugs.”
“He gives you hugs!” Julie countered.
“Sometimes,” Eric said, smiling.
The couple said since Quinton was born, they’ve been figuring out how to balance their active lifestyles with raising a baby. Julie said she was back in the yoga studio less than two months after she had Quinton.
“I love teaching,” Julie said. “I really do it because I love it, and yeah, [Eric] makes it easy. I don’t think I could do it if it weren’t for him. He’s incredibly supportive of it. … Realizing that [exercise] is still an important part of our lives and to help each other make time for that, it’s really nice to have somebody who understands that.”
“I can’t take her class because I have to watch [Quinton],” Eric said. “Now I take other classes and they’re fine, but luckily I got the foundation from her. … I think my love of yoga and my understanding is from her, and that keeps me going with it and appreciating it.”
As summer approaches, Eric said he looks forward to doing outdoor activities as a family.
“I do miss doing things together, but I know that it will come probably in the next couple of months when he’s ready to get out and about and be social as the nice weather is coming,” Eric said. “Once it gets warm, I can put him on my back and we can go hiking again. We’ll find a way to put him on the back of a bike and we can go riding.”
Julie and Eric said they’ve been able to rely on each other as they navigate the new territory of raising a child.
“I would say my favorite thing about her is her strength,” Eric said. “In all aspects of her life and our relationship, that’s probably the thing I love about her most. It’s also the thing that’s a crutch, because I rely on her strength a lot.”
“I rely a lot on his patience,” Julie said. “And he’s got an extreme amount of patience, which I don’t possess a lot of … but yeah, he’s an incredibly generous man.”