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Ordinary Greatness. Find Your Teacher.

5 Heart it! Heidi McArdle 181
October 18, 2018
Heidi McArdle
5 Heart it! 181

I’m in a “Long Distance Relationship” with my yoga teacher.

So are several thousand other people who found quiet eloquence in her online classes. She forged a path to being vulnerable and professional and we come back to the membership community year after year.

Teachers and mentors are there for all of us. What could inspire you for the journey? There’s an app-renticeship or elder for that.

A bit bookish, I decided to adopt my body again on a trial basis, and now we are inseparable. Yoga has done that for many people. Typically, we go from point to point with mental lists and honey-do tasks, as if the physical body is here to be used up. You begin to realize this is toxic to yourself and others. Hatha yoga is a deliberate practice, requiring gentleness, and promoting balance. This transfers to everyday life.

After assuming we could think our way through this life, we start to feel both our limitedness and our innate goodness, a cheery and comforting truth.

What makes Melissa West special is that she lets us glimpse her difficulties as she calmly provides a range of choreographed movement.

Revisiting a class from the spring of 2015, I felt gratitude once again for her integrity:

She is presenting her final class in a series on befriending your inner critic. Her theme is flow. As she delivers the teaching with a mudra (hand gesture) for deliberate groundedness, an eagle terrorizes heron nests above her in Victoria Park, Vancouver Island. Parent herons are in distress; the eagle grabs a baby heron and drops it into the trees. Melissa turns from this scene and looks at the camera. Camera break.

When her husband resumes filming, she takes a deep breath, the cries of herons still faintly audible, and she finishes teaching and filming.

I’m filled with admiration for her professionalism and her compassionate response. One of the most terrible feelings is witnessing harm that we cannot prevent. I know Melissa felt deep pain as she narrated for us what was happening in the tree canopy. However, she said, “I’m going to try to focus now.” She spoke about anger, sadness, joy, fear, doubt, and gratitude and how things appear in our life for us to notice and feel. She radiated joy to her virtual students as the series ended that April day amid wildlife.

There are people in our past, our now, and our tomorrow that are steady, generous, and self-aware. Often they have discreet skills that they are handing over to anyone who pays attention. Perhaps it is a soft skill, like an atmosphere of allowing others space to be themselves. We can begin to gratefully adopt some of these hard and soft skills as we recognize our true teachers.

Who in your life always shows up? Who pauses to acknowledge your drifted anchor, offer help, and laughter? These are the ones to trust.

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5 Heart it! Heidi McArdle 181
5 Heart it! 181

April Fortune Oct 18, 2018 5:42pm

About anchors, I realized earlier this year that while trying to be others anchor, I was drowning. I am enjoying coming up for air.

    Heidi McArdle Oct 18, 2018 7:11pm

    That makes sense to me. Without the enjoying, how can we even point anyone else a way to go?

Megan Swan Oct 22, 2018 6:31am

This is a beautiful piece Heidi. I learned yoga “long distance” as well and remain amazed at how intimate those settings can be. I suppose it has to do with our intimacy with our bodies.

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