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When life gives you lemons.... - by Heidi Zoltak

I met Heidi on Instagram a while ago, but she didn't know me, I knew her & that was enough to learn about a strong woman's determination & strong will.. I was watching her journey from behind my phone screen just like thousands of other people, as she was making one very difficult decision & the  journey ahead was all about learning how to deal with new life challenges. Heidi will be taking us through her life journey & she'll tell us how to kick butt and how to find strength & willpower in places where sometimes we feel there's none left... 



1 - Heidi, thank you for giving us your time & for sharing your precious moments of your life. Please tell us more about how you joined the yoga world? How did it all start?


It all started 8 years ago. I attended yoga classes after work at a rec center for exercise twice a week. I liked it but didn't think much beyond that. Then in 2012, my life changed in an instant. I was in a horrid rope swing accident that left me bedbound and then homebound for 6 months and completely debilitated as my leg was crushed.. I was alone a lot, as my husband and children eventually went back to school and work. Life went on. As I worked through my recovery, therapies, countless surgeries and infections, I started a daily home practice.  It began with lots of yin and meditation and eventually led into a modified asana practice.  Though I couldn't walk without assistance, I could go to my mat..it was there for me unconditionally in a new world of conditions. I moved, I felt, I healed from the inside out. I began to find peace in that my life was different. I learned how to surrender and I became completely liberated and empowered by the new circumstances. I looked at life with new eyes and a full heart . I learned how to process my frustrations and embrace myself with love. I stopped blaming myself and I made a decision to take my life back. 6 months ago, I amputated my leg. I traded in agony for life. I sacrificed a small piece of my physical self that no longer served me... I let go. Yoga saved me. 
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2 - I have been following you on Instagram for quite a while now & I must say, wow you are one tough tough warrior. Please tell us more about your latest life challenges? 
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Well, learning how to walk on a stilt is so hard. There is a learning curve. It requires very intense rehabilitation for about 12-18 months to learn mechanics properly and to decrease chance of injury to the rest of the body. It takes an extreme amount of strength in the core, quad, hamstring and glute to move a prosthetic about. All of mine are quite weak as I was non weight bearing for more than 3 years, so you can only imagine how weak mine are. Also, I live where it snows, so maneuvering on slippery surfaces when I can't feel my foot is so strange and scary. I just got fitted for a new leg and this one has an ankle. It requires a lot of energy to move another joint around. I have leg, and the fitting process will continue. My limb atrophies and my volume changes constantly, so I'm in with my prosthetist about twice a week tweaking my leg do I have the best fit and reducing risk of sores. All of this is common with new amputees and it requires a huge amount of patience. The first year is probably the hardest and I'm only half way in. But boy, I've come pretty far. 
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3 - When you were in hospital, you had so many friends from the Instagram community cheering you on & encouraging you through, how did you feel, knowing that so many souls were sending  you positive vibes all at the same time? 
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I received countless messages, cards, gifts, etc….the outpouring was absolutely unbelievable. It was quite humbling to be on the receiving end of such abundant love and it restored my belief in humanity. Strangers came out of nowhere with well wishes. It was so beautiful. 


4 - How are you finding the new you? What are your biggest challenges?
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My biggest challenge right now are figuring out what to do next. I know there are opportunities and my mind is sharp, but my body is behind. So I'm really focusing on my rehab so that wherever or whatever I do next, I'm completely ready and I can give 100% of my best self. I'm scared not knowing, but I believe the universe has big plans for me. 

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5 - Your Instagram account looks so positive, your words are always so optimistic & full of courage. How do you master that? 
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I've always been an optimist. I was that way before the accident and I refuse to let a circstance own who I am. Sure, I have really shitty days, but we all do. And it is up to us to find the light as we travel our journeys. I'm trying  my best to do that.
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6 - What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
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I put my leg on. Lol.

7 - Which yoga pose do you find the hardest to master? 
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All standing poses are difficult for me. I'm unable to stand on my prosthetic one footed still, so my right side is completely modified or I use wall assists in standing poses. I'm also still rewiring my brain to weight bear on my right. It still isn't natural. I was strictly left footed weight bearing for almost 4 yeats so it will take time. So when I stand up, my brain wants to shift weight to my left and I have to consciously give it permission to distribute amongst both limbs. 

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8 - How should we kick butt every single day? 
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I set intentions. I used to have huge expectations if myself and more than often than not,my body would fail me and it ended up in disappointment.  After the accident, I stopped making goals because, sadly, I never met them. So I starting to make intentions. I detached from future outcomes and focused on the ever present “now”. Was I being my best self in the present moment? Were my worldly actions aligning with my inner values? Ironically, my intention making gave me mental footing to physically move forward.
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9 - If you were trapped on a small tropical island & you could only take 3 things with you what would they be? 
My journal, my husband and a hammock.

10 - What advice do you have for our readers? 

.Life has curve balls. Expect them. Embrace them. Process through them. No perfect life exists out there, so dont wish away your problems, they may lead you to happiness. And never, ever play the victim. 



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1 Response

Carly Murdoch
Carly Murdoch

March 06, 2016

The true definition of inspiring right there!!!!

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