We had the good fortune of connecting with Marcela Widrig and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marcela, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
The single most important decision I made initially had very little do to with my business, and yet it changed my life in every way. I could never have predicted where I’d end up today.

In 2014, I closed down my life in Los Angeles. I shut my practice, sold my home, gave away or sold much of what filled my home, and moved to Bali with 2 suitcases. This was the beginning of a wild ride into myself. After landing, doing a month-long yoga teach training, and finding a sunset-graced villa to live in, in a small town above Ubud, Bali, I had OODLES of time. It was the perfect opportunity for all the nervousness, shoulds, and discomfort with the unknown to flood my system. And wow, did it. But I’d made a promise to myself to ride those waves. And I did, sometimes what felt like 50 times a day. Those voices telling me to find clients, get to work, promote yourself, etc. were loud at first. Really loud. It was intense to resist them. But I trusted my choice, and I knew that whatever fear, anxiety, and not-enoughness I was experiencing were leading me somewhere.

And they did. About 6 months later, I’d meet a woman who was fascinated by the work I did, and confidently told me more people needed to know about it. Lucky for me, she was a brand manager.

So as I was personally delving into my past, she began guiding me toward a future.

One hot, humid day, she was riding into town with me on the back of my scooter. Our helmets were clanking, roosters and dogs were crossing the road at varying speeds, and she shouted at me, “what do you want to do, Marcela?” Without hesitation, I said, I wanted to teach women about shame, about that chronic feeling of not being enough. Shouting out that sentence on the streets of Bali opened the door to what’s become an incredible adventure.

Traveling the world, teaching workshops and offering private sessions to work with trauma and the wound of not-enoughness. While Covid’s changed the format, and I’m now back in Los Angeles, this continues to be the core of my work. It’s opened the world up to me and renewed my passion and joy for my work. I’m not sure where I’d be without this decision and life change. More than success, it fed my soul.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve chosen to teach about what is often taboo – shame – through a completely somatic approach. By teaching through the body – embodiment practices, breath, awareness – I’ve created the chance for profound change. I don’t offer positive thinking, affirmation or a “plan.” Rather, I look at how a person has contracted around their past, and how they’re left with a chronic feeling of not being enough. Then I guide them to unwind, open, let go, and feel their body.

It’s a very different approach, because there’s no good or bad, just contracted or flowing. This means a student’s or client’s courage, quite naturally joins the process.

Because the approach is physical, the change and transformation are tangible. You can’t do this just from your mind. It’s not sustainable.

Was it easy to get create this? In many ways yes, because it’s an extension of who I am. However, it also meant I had to and have to deeply practice what I teach. If I didn’t you’d know it.

The feedback that shows me I’m on the right track is when people tell me that I get to the core of the issue – I touch THE thing that needs to be touched. And this is because I trust the body, 100% – my own, and those of my clients. It’s the holder of our past and our future, and if we listen, it guides us.

One of the more crucial lessons I’ve learned and stuck to these past years is the power of practice. Whatever I teach, I’ve had to deeply delve into. If I didn’t, I’d be a fraud. Strange as it is to say, I’m proud of my integrity.

I don’t make promises with my work. I have no slogan about what you’ll achieve. What I guide you (being clients) toward, is trusting yourself. In a world of marketing, promises and slogans, people who want me to frame everything I do in positive transformation language, I’ve had the strength of conviction to stay my course. I know that the work only works, if you dive in. My deepest wish is that you discover the power within yourself to live your life.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
On, inevitably, I’d take them to one of the many farmers’ markets in my area (that I rotate through). Morning coffee at Civil Coffee. Delicious breakfast at Amara Kitchen. We’d definitely take some hikes into the mountains above Altadena and Pasadena. A bike ride down the L.A river and lunch at Spoke Bicycle Cafe.

We’d of course head over to the beach for a nice long walk, and if the friend surfs, then they’d join me for a Sunday morning surf at Will Rogers State Beach (great for my perpetual beginner’s level).

On one of the days, we’d visit the Huntington Library, taking a long time in the cactus garden and soaking in both the Japanese and Chinese gardens.

I’d definitely head into Silver Lake for a day of shopping, and depending on the time of day, we might stop for lunch at Honey Hi or dinner at Botanica.

If we get lucky with timing, we’d head over to Hauser and Wirth for one of their free concerts, and then cruise around until the smell of one of the many incredible places to eat pulled us in.

And of course, I’d organize a dinner with friends, who are truly the most interesting and engaged people I know.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Indirectly, I’m grateful to Brene Brown, who made the subject of shame less taboo. Directly, Thao Dang, the woman who saw something in me, from her eyes as a brand manager, and guided me toward how I teach and offer my work. And finally, the hundreds of women I’ve taught all around the world, who’ve trusted me to dive into the deepest wound we carry, in order to remember they are, as they emerge on the other side. Their trust guides me every time.

Website: www.fierceembodiment.com

Instagram: @fierceembodiment

Image Credits
David Lau