In July I welcomed the invitation to pursue Breathless Yoga Teacher Training with my longtime yoga teacher and mentor, Diana Vitantonio. Diana’s social media handle is Soul Activist and in real life, that is exactly what she does-guides people inward and teaches them how to activate their soul. She has a powerful way of helping others find truth and authenticity, healing, forgiveness, and the purest form of self love and compassion. For these reasons I enrolled in Diana’s Breathless Teacher Training in July. I was at a point in my life where I needed to be guided to love, forgiveness and empowerment. As we gear up for the second half of training, I wanted to share some of the life changing lessons that I learned from Diana and the incredible ten days of Breathless Yoga Training.
1. Look for Guidance in the Most Powerful Place–Internally
One of the best things that you can do for yourself is set aside time to sit in silence daily (even if it’s just for 15 minutes). It sends two messages–one that you care enough about yourself to make that investment and two, that you are willing to be heard by yourself. Sitting in meditation for an hour became a normal part of our yoga training. For the first few days it felt very uncomfortable–my legs fell asleep, my lower back started to hurt and my mind wandered. But by the third day I began to experience the power in sitting in stillness, meditating and listening to myself. Diana explains it as an opportunity to “call your spirit back”. The beauty of this is that you stop looking for advice and opinions from others because you learn to trust yourself more than ever before.
2. Believe that Life is Happening for You, Not to You
This changed everything for me. Life is not fair. You will fail and you will be challenged. Can you be grateful for those times that you fail or when life feels unfair? The hardest times in life make us the people that we are today and often direct us to new and great experiences. There’s so much healing that can take place when you view every challenging experience as one that helps strengthen you and guides you to where you are meant to be in your next phase of life.
3. Feel More, Think Less
The answers to some of life’s hardest questions come from allowing yourself to feel. Your brain usually knows less about your needs than your heart does. Rely less on logic and more on instincts. Logic and overthinking will tell you what you are “supposed” to do or what looks good at surface level. Creating a calculated life that looks good on the outside will never lead to happiness, just emptiness. Learn to trust your higher guidance, even when it does not make sense.
4. Understand that you Give Away Your Power By Staying in a Draining Situation
At what expense do you choose to stay in a draining situation? What I realized from Diana’s training is that it’s not just about learning to accept the situation and “make it work”. When you choose to stay in a draining work environment or a toxic relationship, it leads to feeling powerless. Staying in the situation requires so much energy that you are forced to give all of your power away. You can protect your energy and your power by making choices that inspire you and align with your belief system.
5. Be Vulnerable–It’s Beautiful
It’s easy to hide behind your feelings but much harder to own them and completely open your heart and be 100% vulnerable. Prior to yoga training Diana encouraged everyone to allow themselves to be vulnerable during our time together. Being vulnerable requires strength and authenticity. The beauty is that allowing yourself to be vulnerable can lead to the most incredible connections and real life experiences.
6. Feel the Fire and Don’t Back Down
Diana created Breathless Yoga which focuses on the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. There are a few times in the class where you experience fire. In order to feel the fire she incorporates High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into a portion of the yoga class. Your body burns, you push yourself beyond your limits, and you feel your heart race uncontrollably. Practicing Breathless Yoga teaches you to appreciate the pain and discomfort of being in the fire. As a result of feeling the fire, you burn and become mentally and emotionally stronger and spiritually lighter.
7. Bless What you Do Not Choose & Bless What Does Not Choose You
If you trust in the power of the universe, you begin to realize that what enters and exits your life is determined by a force that’s larger than us all. Be grateful for the time that you spend with those that you do not choose and those that do not choose you. Accept that you were both mean to be on separate paths. This allows you to learn from the past and continue pursuing the life that you are meant to live. Pray for the highest good for all and trust in your own path.
8. When you Judge your Past, you Cannot Fully Live in the Present
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for us to do as humans but it is also one of the most important. It takes work to truly forgive those that have wronged you but it’s one of the greatest investments you can make in your life. The thing about forgiveness is that it’s not about the person that you’re forgiving, it’s about you. Choose to forgive, not for others but for yourself. The only way to find freedom and stand in your power is to stop judging your past.
9. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are something that I’ve always struggled with. For a longtime I misinterpreted boundaries as being harsh or mean. I feared that other people would not like me if I set boundaries. By not doing this, I chose to please others at the expense of not honoring myself. What I’ve come to realize is that setting boundaries and telling people no leads to more opportunities to say yes to yourself. The more that you can accept yourself, the less you will worry about offending others.
10. Show Up for Your Life
Show up for your life in the biggest way possible and send your intentions out to the universe. After the first 10 days of yoga training my life changed in so many ways. By letting go of my fears of the future and judgements of the past, I was able to show up for my life. As a result, I have experienced two of the most incredible months in both my personal and professional life. Show up for your life by choosing love, accepting your past, letting go of your future, and tapping into your goals and desires. You are the only person capable of creating the life of your dreams.
If you are interested in learning more about Diana’s Breathless Yoga Teacher Training, I would encourage you to checkout her website for more details. Diana hosts yoga trainings all over the country for two weeks at a time and also leads retreats. I cannot think of a better experience for learning to know yourself better, practicing self-love and beginning to heal. The best investment that you can ever make is in yourself.