Yeppoon yoga teacher Shelly McArdle has been honoured by AAYT
Yeppoon yoga teacher Shelly McArdle has been honoured by AAYT

Yeppoon yoga therapist honoured by national body

THE Australian Association of Yoga Therapists has honoured local accredited yoga therapist Shelly McArdle for her ongoing work in mental and physical health as well as her federally funded Disaster Recovery programs.

AAYT has called her an innovator, a truly remarkable yoga therapist.

Shelly said she was just doing what she was passionate about, helping to heal.

Born in Biloela and later living with her family in Tannum Sands, it was here in her early life, she attributes learning the healing power of the natural environment.

Shelly works as a project officer for Capricornia Catchments, interacting with a wide range of people from retirees who work on restoring coastal ecosystems; young people wanting to create change; graziers improving grazing and land management, school students restoring their creeks; to traditional owners, taking care of country and everything in between.

As a board member of Queensland Water and Land carers (QWaLC), she advocates for the inclusion of mental health resilience elements in environmental projects and has played

a major role in addressing issues of wellbeing among people in her area recovering from major flood and fire disasters.

Shelly questions how we can expect our communities to better manage their land in order to be prepared for the challenges posed by floods, fire and drought if we don’t properly address and support the physical and mental health resilience of these community members.

“I graduated as a yoga teacher in 2013 and, more recently, as a yoga therapist in 2016,” she said.

“Yoga has quite literally changed the course of my life and helping me heal significant trauma suffered in my early years, then influenced the direction of my life moving forward.

“Yoga and the principles of mindful living has threaded throughout all that I do.

“I have a deep passion for working with people and working with them to create community.

“I believe it is important to recognise a historical context of significant trauma and to listen to both what is being said and what is not being said.

“After all, we don’t really have to know the details to know there has been loss, trauma, abuse and enormous struggle, to be able to help, to begin the process of empowering individuals to heal.”

Shelly said connection to country was innate and tangible and many of her clients saw their connection to the land as part of who they are – they see themselves as part of the environment rather than separate to it which helps inform the approach one would have in developing a practice for an individual.

“Remembering who you’ve come from and maintaining a deep respect for those who came before, is so strong and can often be a catalyst for motivation,” she said.

“When the issue of addiction and substance abuse comes up, we look at the pain or trauma that is invariably identified as an underlying cause.

“Such recognition is the first step towards healing.”

Through her position at QWaLC and Capricornia Catchments Shelly and her team are now working with numerous groups to create a pilot project in a local primary school.

She hopes to reinvigorate the GenYadaba group for young people and continue her work with other not for profit groups.

“The love of the natural environment is embedded in who I am and I have felt first-hand the incredible healing power that it holds and the same with the practice of yoga therapy.

“It’s my natural disposition to be drawn to this kind of work that seeks to point people to the healing power that resides within themselves rather than looking for something outside

themselves to stop the pain.

“I intend to continue to advocate for the inclusion of yoga therapy into environmental initiatives so we can help people to connect with themselves and others, to strengthen

their bodies and their spirits and to heal what needs to be healed.”

Shelly’s full story can be read through AAYT News winter edition 2020.