Last week we shared thoughts with former professional surfer and current world-renowned yoga instructor Heather Tiddens. Heather shared her love of the ocean, and the value she places on inner work as well as on a delicious breakfast. We’re back this week to learn about her life outside of the water, on the yoga mat, and the continual search for knowledge and self-truth. For Heather the discovery of yoga on her journey was not an obvious one:
I didn’t want to do yoga. I wasn’t going to sit there and try to roll my eyes into the back of my head with a bunch of hippies. I wanted to surf. My friend Steph coerced me into a class up in San Francisco and at the end when we were lying in savasana, or final relaxation pose, I had this extraordinary experience of levitating three feet off of the ground with this incredible light surrounding my body. It was a real experience for me and it changed my life. Sometimes change takes that form, that instantaneous knowing. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Many people have trouble getting moving, either physically or emotionally, leading to living lives rife with stagnancy and unhappiness. The ability to break free from this paralysis is often the first step towards a much happier situation. For Heather, the movement inherent to yoga helps keep her out of this dreaded state, and moves her out of it when it comes to visit.
The mind-body-emotional link or integration in yoga keeps me from being paralyzed. It’s a way to keep the energy moving, to keep your mind healthy, your body healthy. This happens in a mindful, connected, yoga practice – meaning that you’re not just checking out and moving your body while you’re off some place mentally watching a movie.
It’s very vital to have something, some activity that you can go to consistently in your life, that has a centering, deepening quality, something that grounds you, where you can tap into the well. For some people that is their workout, for some it’s yoga, or surfing, or hiking alone in the woods. Having that consistency of movement keeps you from becoming paralyzed.
Universally, initiating major change in our own lives often times only comes as the aftermath of an extraordinary life event such as getting fired, getting divorced, losing a loved one, or creating a new one. Heather works with the agent of change quite often in her ceremonies and yoga seminars. What’s the most common catalyst for change she’s seen?
Well, for a lot of people, they just eventually just get tired of being [email protected]#king miserable. Where they’re at in their lives is no longer tolerable. Then you can start asking questions and exploring ways that can help you ask the questions and to being in inquiry.
You have to start asking, “What lights me up? What do I get excited about?” Get yourself into inquiry and get in touch with your community. Part of getting out of those loops is getting out of isolation, out of the cocoon of my own thinking – it’s tight, and it’s small and doesn’t let anything in to be exchanged. Softening the isolation and having the relational energy of a group class, be it yoga or CrossFit, even if it’s only for an hour, makes it not all about “my miserableness” any longer, and that alone can be enough to move past a blockage.
The road to truth or finding our real passion may not be the most glorious one ever walked. We may never float above our bodies or have visions from the heavens. Huge benefits await the people that are willing to put in a little bit of work on the basics of their life situations. As Heather explained, she leaves us with one more thought of the day:
Too many people spend their lives performing crap management. They eat crappy food, then they feel crappy in their bodies, so they have crappy thoughts, then they have crappy relationships and no movement. Most people just need to get the crap out of their lives and then when opportunities do show up, it’s a lot easier to be aware of them. We need to tend to our own life gardens so that something can take root and blossom.
Death is certain, our time of death is uncertain. What’s most important to you? Find out, since the worst form of slavery is to not know that you’re enslaved.
Heather Tiddens leads yoga classes throughout the Santa Barbara area while teaching seminars and performing healing ceremonies worldwide. When you meet her you know you’re in the presence of someone very special. With an authenticity born out of putting in the tough work, she is someone who splits her time between the space beneath thoughts on her mat and ripping her next wave somewhere in the world.
To learn how Heather took the road less traveled and chose to live the life of a surfer, read part one of our interview – The Road Less Traveled: An Interview With Heather Tiddens, Part 1.