What I Learned From Jumping Off a Cliff

For five years I have worked toward my certification in Anusara Yoga. Then just like that, all my hopes and dreams were gone.

The teachers who already have their certification can keep that forever, even if they don’t stay with what is left of the yoga school, as a symbol of what they earned. But I was almost there, not quite, ABC (All But Certification), 750 hours up to my keister in effort. If you multiply that by an average of $30 per hour, plus travel costs, I have spent more than $25,000. God I hope my husband doesn’t read this blog.

So when it came time to take a stand amidst the divisiveness that will end this community as we know it, I ran right up to the cliff, then balanced on my tippy toes. At my back were so many people and a system that I loved. In front of me, was a whole lot of uncertainty.

This wasn’t my first time at the edge of a cliff. Years ago when my boys were just eight and ten, we found ourselves at the edge of a cliff while skiing. At our backs was a long hike up to the trail. In front of us was about a 15 foot drop over a rocky wall. As I was leaning over to unfasten my skis (because any rational person would have hiked backed up) one boy jumped. Then went the other. I did not have a lot of time to think; I was angry and terrified my boys were going to kill themselves. So off a cliff I went.

“Holy cow,” one boy said. “Mom went for it.”

Any rational person would wait and see what happens to Anusara Inc. But sometimes, being rational is not what is required. When you are at the edge of a cliff, what you might need is courage and trust. This is the ultimate test of yoga. Will your belief in a greater good, a Divine good, a Universal good carry you through? Will God, or the Tooth Fairy, or whatever you believe in, be there for you? Will “You” be there for you?

What makes the jump easier is knowing exactly who you are, and what you stand for. When my boys jumped, just like any mother I had to go after them. There was no question. In this case, it was really the same. When I looked at the facts, and I do mean the undisputed facts in the matter when you clear away the “kulaid” and the craziness, Anusara, INC. no longer made sense to me.

So Mom went for it.  Just like any cliff we encounter, it wasn’t as far down as I thought. And when I landed after the jump, I felt proud.

What I learned from jumping off a cliff is that I was already closer to the bottom than I realized, and jumping off was the only way for me to get back to the top.

 Michelle Berman Marchildon is an award-winning journalist, a former corporate executive and a survivor of 50+ years of life. She’s the author of “Finding More on the Mat,” a yoga memoir, and a Columnist for Elephant Journal.  She teaches the style of yoga formerly known as Anusara-Inspired, and Power-Vinyasa Yoga in Denver, Co. She is NOT an Ambassador for Lululemon, and has been promised she will never be one.