I first discovered Gabriele Bernstein circa 2012, while perusing the self-help section of my local Barnes and Noble. One look at the beaming blonde sporting angel wings on a skateboard (the cover photo of her first book, Add More Ing to Your Life), and I had to know more. I quickly devoured her sage wisdom—punctuated by hyper-relatable stories—and 5 years later I’m still hooked.
So a few months ago I joined a room full of fellow Lululemon-clad seekers to hear Queen G speak live at Pure Yoga in NYC. She didn’t disappoint. Here were 3 of my juiciest “ah ha” moments from the event:
1) Gabby isn’t perfect…and I like her even more because of it.
In the span of 2.5 hours, Gabby shared a story about getting irrationally angry at her publicist, being tempted to break 8 years of sobriety, and having an amazing husband who was at times, “a pain in the ass.” In the age of perfectly filtered Instagram photos and celebrity gurus, Gabby’s ability to be raw and vulnerable with her audience is so refreshing.
I find it comforting to know that despite her massive success, she doesn’t just float through life on a cloud of Kundalini and Kale. She’s real. She struggles. And she’s not pretending otherwise. Her honesty somehow makes her message feel more accessible and her level of success more attainable. And experiencing how empowering it is to have someone I look up to lift the veil of perfection inspires me to be more vulnerable an open with my own clients and readers.
“We’re not going to always be perfect,” Gabby said. “But when we mess up it’s about how quickly we can come back.”
2) Even gurus get upset by the news…but they commit to staying mindful and bounce back quickly.
The theme of coming back to a place of joy and balance after being thrown off course was woven throughout the lecture, especially when Gabby spoke about dealing with the media’s portrayal of upsetting current events. While many spiritual leaders are criticized for being out of touch with reality or glossing over society’s problems, Gabby does just the opposite. “Don’t turn your back on the world,” she implored the audience, “but be mindful of how you consume overly sensationalized media and take measures to protect your energy.”
She encouraged us to become “spiritual activists” and consciously work to raise our own energetic vibrations, “so the world will no longer be a container for all the F’d up stuff happening.” She believes that we all have an energetic responsibility as citizens of the world to create more positive energy, and we do this by redirecting our attention to joy, “When you focus on joy you raise your chances of success and impact the world around you on an energetic level.”
3) Inspirational words + psychical movement make a powerful cocktail (and I’d like another, please).
What I enjoyed most about the event was how Kundalini yoga and breathing exercises were woven throughout, allowing participants to experience a palpable energetic shift over the course of the workshop. Though 2 hours in my arms were shaking and my abs felt like Jello, I was incredibly happy and invigorated. Having my body pumping with endorphins and in a physically relaxed state helped Gabby’s message of empowerment sink in on a deeper and more embodied level—creating a more powerful effect than a yoga class or lecture alone ever could.
All I know is that as I rocked back and forth to the sound of chanting at the end, eyes closed in a room full of New York women, I felt safe. I felt held. I felt like my dreams were more possible. And I wanted more.