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Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing “punk rock yogi” Sadie Nardini for an upcoming Experience Life cover story.

For those who haven’t heard of her, Nardini is a NYC-based yoga instructor, host of Veria TV’s Rock Your Yoga, and author of the new book, The 28-Day Yoga Body.

She found yoga following a childhood illness that doctors predicted would leave her paralyzed for life, and used the practice to overcome her physical limitations, depression, and panic attacks. Not only did she build the strength to walk again, she has since become a combat boot-clad, steak-eating yoga powerhouse with an affinity for ninja wisdom (she practices the martial art of ninjutsu) and female empowerment.

Our interview veered from topics of life, death, depression, and downward-facing dogs, to Nardini’s favorite chocolate macaroon recipe and tips on cultivating your “inner badass.”

The full article won’t hit newsstands until March, but I thought I’d share a few of my favorite snippets from the Q&A. Without further ado, my top 5 takeaways…

Health is not about deprivation or punishment.

“I think it’s really important to reclaim the idea of what it means to be healthy, because we’ve got such a skewed perspective of what health and beauty is … We can improve without punishing ourselves or feeling bad for being imperfect. Really celebrating our bodies inside and out — that’s the new healthy.”

Confront your fears, dysfunctions, and past traumas. 

“That stuff doesn’t just sit down there hidden and quiet. It shows up in every single relationship you have. It shows up in how you feel from day to day, how insecure you are, how reactive you are. It shows up in your love relationships, in your family relationships, and in every decision you make.”

Don’t fear your mortality. 

When Nardini was warned that she may never walk again, “I decided I could always kill myself. I thought, ‘Well, that’s always an option for me. So let me try everything else humanly possible before I think anymore about such a final step.’ That gave me the courage to try anything. In Tibetan Buddhism, they call it ‘death consciousness.’ Instead of depressing you, it should make you focus more fully on the present moment, be more grateful for who you are and what you have, and be brave.

Embrace life’s challenges. 

“I have switched my mindset from being upset and disappointed when challenging things happen, to understanding that those are exactly the things that I need to strengthen myself and get more courageous. It’s a chance for me to really stand up for myself and be the best me I can be, and to change the things that aren’t working. The richest work you can do is in that space of discomfort.”

Eat for health AND pleasure.

“You want to exist in balance. You want to fuel your body properly and also have stuff that you really feel happy eating — whether it’s the clean, healthy food or a glass of wine or a little cocktail or chocolate here and there. Enjoy your life.”

Tell us: Do Sadie Nardini’s words resonate with you? What do you agree (and disagree) with? Leave a comment below or tweet us @experiencelife.

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