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Why We Crave Peak Experiences by Heidi Michelle

December 2015 marks my fifth season living and working in Costa Rica.

I am a yoga teacher. I am not a surfer.


I have been on a surfboard. I’ve paddled like a fiend out amongst the waves to float in belly-down bliss on top of a surfboard in warm ocean water, waiting for the perfect wave, my internal dialogue something like, “Okay, girl. You can do this. Take your time and go for it!”

I have managed to turn myself around, nose to shore, take those first deep strokes propelling myself forward fast enough to feel that satisfying moment when Mother Nature’s momentum takes control and the surfing door of opportunity opens.

I have jumped up, like my surf-instructor friends have taught me, and I have surfed.

“I’m up! I’m doing it! Wow!,” my inner voice exclaims before I’m dumped once again into the churning foam ocean, immediately aching for the next peak moment.

There’s really nothing like popping up on a surfboard, crouching down in “surfer stance” and riding confidently atop a mountain of water toward a golden shoreline. A peak experience, for sure. Thrilling and hard! Just like yoga.

I spend my winters teaching yoga in Costa Rica, playing on the beaches, swimming in local waterfalls and picking tropical fruit from our organic trees.

As a yoga teacher, I work to empower students and travelers to take risks, challenge themselves and strive for more than they think is possible.

It is the work of yoga to strengthen our bodies and our minds. When we hold a side plank for one breath beyond the moment we feel fatigue, refusing to give up or give in to the mind’s running soundtrack of self-judgment, we are building confidence and celebrating a peak moment. This is important.

Peak moments help us mark and remember the preciousness of life and the joy of being in a body. Whether it’s a birthday celebration, a dream vacation to an exotic location, the first time we hold a handstand for more than one second or the first time we see our child’s face, novelty and newness make us feel alive! Exhilaration breeds a sweet desire to explore what else is possible.

Every time we have a peak experience such as stretching ourselves to do new things or traveling to never-seen-before places, we are increasing the quality of our own lives because:

  • We stretch the idea or identity we’ve created of ourselves

  • We push beyond self-perceived/created limitations

  • We expand our world-view

  • We relate better to foreign cultures and people

  • We lay down new “pathways” in our brains, promoting easier learning down the road

  • We build self-confidence

Surfing isn’t as natural to me as yoga is. But it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the process of learning how to surf.

I’ll be celebrating these 5 years of Costa Rican living by co-leading a Yoga and Surfing Retreat at Selva Armonia Retreat Centerin December. I am thrilled to receive the extraordinary coaching of world-renowned surfers, Jeanine and Andrew Webster with Dominical WaveRider.

I’m psyched for the challenge!

If you don’t think you’re strong enough, athletic enough or confident enough to learn how to surf, I challenge you to join me in stretching beyond those limiting beliefs. Together, we’ll ride the challenge and meet ourselves brand new from the peak of a Costa Rican curl!

Who’s with me?

Namaste, beautiful people, Heidi Michelle

Surf & Yoga Costa Rica Retreat December 6-11, 2015 Includes:

  • Roundtrip Airport Ground Transportation from San Jose (SJO)

  • 5 Nights lodging at beautiful Selva Armonia Retreat Center

  • 3 gourmet vegetarian meals/day

  • Daily Vinyasa/Yin Yoga with Heidi Michelle

  • 5 Surf Lessons with Jeanine & Andrew Webster of Dominical WaveRider


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