Why, you ask?
For so many reasons. She is the yogi muse. She is hilarious and smart. She is a creative, authentic, and unique yoga instructor with a seriously compelling story to share. She rocked our world and this interview of her perspective, personality, and passion is a timeless read.
Enjoy this 2021 update to our interview with Michelle Marchildon.
What encouraged you to begin teaching yoga?
Like many, I took my first Yoga Teacher Training because I wanted to know more about yoga. I did not anticipate teaching as a result. Then I had a friend whose daughter could not participate in sports for physical reasons.
She asked if I could work with her a bit. Within just a few months you could see this child’s confidence grow. It encouraged me to seek out those who could benefit from yoga’s inspiration.
Today, my primary audience are “Wisdom Warriors” who are looking for more from their mat than just a workout.
What compelled you to write the first book? How long did it take? Are you planning on any others in the future?
Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga took me three years to write, but in reality, it took me 50 years to understand my story. You could say I’m a slow learner.
I have a third book co-written with Desiree Rumbaugh. It’s an inspirational book about yoga, aging and growing older with gusto. Our agent tells us it will be big, HUGE, however a publisher has yet to sign on. Most love it except for the fact that it’s about aging and yoga, which you know, is sort of a problem. Apparently, everyone else in yoga is getting younger by the minute and Des and I are growing fearlessly in the other direction. At the very least we can laugh about it.
July 2021 Update: Michelle Marchildon’s book with Desiree Rumbaugh, was published and is now available: Fearless After Fifty: How to Thrive with Grace, Grit and Yoga.
Is Michelle Marchildon an early riser or a night owl?
I rise before the sun. I mean, why wait? I love the quiet of the early mornings and it’s the only time my brain seems to function to write.
When I finished the outline for Finding More, it was about 4:30 a.m. I ran upstairs to tell my husband, and he didn’t seem quite as enthusiastic until around noon.
What is a valuable lesson you’ve learned from the mat which you incorporated into your daily life?
The Universe may be conspiring for us. It’s just as easy to believe in it this way, than the other way around. This simple shift has brought me courage in ways I cannot explain, starting with the fact that I am getting on an airplane to go to Dallas. I do not get on airplanes lightly. It takes alcohol, prescription meds, and faith that it’s for the best.
Mountains or beaches?
I want it both ways.
I am an East Coast girl, raised on the shores of Long Island, the Cape, Nantucket and even in Florida. My mother was once a boat designer and we lived two years on a yacht. Yet here I am in the Rocky Mountains.
My husband, who is a Montana man, promised that one day we would live again near the sea. I have yet to see that happen. Now, we are building a house near the foothills, with a yoga room of course, because the view inside is most important.
What is one of the greatest adventures you’ve ever embarked on?
Motherhood. I have no idea if it’s going to have a happy ending, but if not, I want my money back.
In Finding More on The Mat, you mention grace as being very foundational on & off the mat. Why is grace so crucial?
There is a virus among us and it’s called low self-esteem. So many people suffer from it and more are getting infected every day. I don’t care what caused it, but there is a cure called Grace. Once you realize that you are already abundant, in fact you are perfectly imperfect, then you can let go of all the nonsense in your head and get on with things.
For me, I was always very hard on myself. I thought I should have been published by college graduation. When I was a journalist I should have won a Pulitzer. I should have had the perfect first marriage, and then the perfect house. Life doesn’t work that way.
I have a friend who was unhappy because there are so many other people who have so much. Yet she has created a “perfect” life filled with family and friends. I feel sorry for rich people because they are always adding on to their houses to keep up. Even sheiks who have houses the size of small countries are miserable because someone else has one more wife.
Yoga teaches Grace. You learn that you are where you are supposed to be. You learn that you are already good enough. You learn that you are loved and you didn’t have to do anything at all to earn it. You learn to practice not to get the “fruits” of a great pose, but just to practice for the sake of practice.
What pose makes you feel most connected with your true self?
Savasana. I kick ass at this pose.
Why is it that a theme can transform the whole of a yoga class? Can you share a specific experience?
Yoga can change a body, but a theme can change a life. Nobody, ever, not once, told me that touching their toes altered the course of their existence.
But I hear that all the time about a theme. I have students who were feeling hopeless and after class they ran for president.
Okay, not really.
But several people per class will tell me that they feel more encouraged about their practice and inspired about their life.
I have all kinds of students, from young people to older ones, from unknowns to celebrities, from uncoordinated people to famous athletes. A theme can show that at our core we are the same, struggling human beings.
A theme gives us hope and shows us that we are not alone.
What would you say is the greatest gift of being a yoga instructor?
When a student tells me they needed to hear exactly what I said that day, that is a great feeling, to know you have touched their spirit.
Life is not easy, and neither is yoga. It’s just great to know you have company and community, and that we are all in the same boat as we go up the river. Now you know, I can get on a boat; a plane is another story.
About Michelle Marchildon
Michelle is the author (and co-author) of three books.
- Finding More on the Mat: How I grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga is the hilarious story of one unhappy soccer mother’s transformation through yoga.
- Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga is the premier guide for teaching yoga teachers how to use a theme in yoga.
- Fearless After Fifty: How to Thrive with Grace, Grit and Yoga is a courageous book that shows how to flourish in midlife with yoga.
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Inspire Yoga has been blessed to have so many nationally and internationally recognized yoga instructors, teachers, and philanthropists grace our studios. For upcoming visits from national instructors check Upcoming Workshops. Who knows who will be gracing our Highland Village, Grapevine, Denton, or Colleyville studios and communities in the future.