wanderlust vermont: bad yogi takes five with gabrielle bernstein
posted: June 26, 2014
Those of us who are familiar with her know Gabby Bernstein as a super high-energy motivational speaker and author. So before I met her at Wanderlust in Stratton, Vermont, I expected to meet a pretty intense firecracker of a woman. Turns out, she’s pretty mellow off the stage and fully embodies her message. I sat down for five minutes to chat with her.
Gabrielle Bernstein challenges you to be the happiest person you know
Bad Yogi: In a couple sentences, how would you describe your life’s philosophy or intention?
Gabrielle Bernstein: I know that we’re here to unlearn fears that we pick up and relearn the love. This is just an experience of loving and growing.
BY: Is there anything that you still struggle with?
GB: Absolutely! The big thing I’m working on now is just being more present. I’ve always been a very fast-forward person, moving very quickly. That served me for quite some time, but now I’m in a place where I know I can take things to another level—whether it’s personally, professionally, romantically—if I can really, really be in the moment.”
Side note: Gabby also admitted to me: “Yeah, I have an ego; we all have egos and it’s very fear-based and something I picked up at an early age. I’m glad I have it because it allows me to learn from it and then teach from it too. As long as I’m in that place of being aware of a situation and maybe I’m like ‘Okay, I’m not sure I liked how I handled that,’ let me forgive myself and learn from it, then I can witness it, work on it, and talk about it.”
BY: What do you admire? What stops you in your tracks?
GB: Humility. I really admire people like that, and I want to be able to really be about it and not just talk about it. So that’s something I’m working on.
BY: You used to live a very different life than you do now. Does your ‘old life’ influence the path you’re on now?
GB: It does. I’m grateful for where I was because it woke me up to where I wanted to be. I have that sober reference to know what it feels like to be in this consciousness and know when I’m being taken out.
BY: Are you more of a teacher or a student?
GB: [without a moment of hesitation] Both.
BY: Being in the spiritual realm, do you feel like you have to uphold the image of what it means to be you? Not just in front of your students but in front of your colleagues?
GB: I think we all have a responsibility to live our work, and I don’t think that’s unique to teachers. I think that goes for anyone who shares their light. So I feel a tremendous responsibility to live my word, and I don’t every day. And when I don’t, I forgive myself, and I come back and try to do it better next time.”
BY: This stuff always sounds good on paper, but we live in a modern world with stress and brownies and booze! How do we reconcile a regular life with one that’s divine and pure?
GB: I think we have to learn how to live with the world, but think with divine thoughts. We shouldn’t ignore the world; it’s okay to love fashion or technology or whatever and we can accept these things unapologetically. It’s not one big, magic button, I believe in lots of little right actions and adding up the moment-to-moment shifts. My most recent book, Miracles Now, is full of 108 short exercises that we can do now to bring in that elevated awareness. We can recalibrate when we have the tools to bounce back, because we’re just never going to renounce everything in the modern world, you know?”
Interested in more from Gabby B? Snatch up a copy of her latest book.
Tampa-based vinyasa flow yoga teacher Erin Motz is not your traditional yogi. She happens to be the carnivorous, red wine- and French cheese-loving type, though she believes whole heartedly that yoga is for everyone, from the kale-loving vegan to the prize-winning deer hunter. She aims to keep her classes fun and accessible, both in the studio and online. You won’t hear much Sanskrit in them, and she’ll totally forgive you if you don’t know your asana from your elbow. Teaching yoga continues to be one of her greatest pleasures. “I practice to feed my teaching, but I teach to feed my life,” she says. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.