29 Oct 2015

A letter to my 13 year old self

A letter to my 13 year old self, Rachelle Taylor, prairie yogi, bullying, the power of being a girl

This week I had the chance to share some loving insight with Winnipeg's youth, 100 young women aged 12-14, as part of the YMCA initiative The Power of Being a Girl. I shared my story of being bullied throughout junior high, being tormented and ridiculed, called awful names, and being physically assaulted on the playground over a tetherball game. I told these attentive young women about how I thought in those moments that things were never going to get better, and I assured these girls, that no matter what shit it is you're going through now, it will pass.

To close, I shared a letter I wrote to my 13 year self. I figured I'd share it with you too.

Hi Rachelle,

How are you? Not good. I know... It's me.

Even though you've looked forward to this age your whole life, 13 seems to suck doesn't it. I'm sorry you're going through this. I see you: confused; sad; and oh so beautiful. Yes, even with your glasses and mousy hair. Yes, even when you wear that neon sweater your grandma knit you, and yes, even when you’ve been in the bathroom crying. You are are in the midst of what you’ll later refer to as some of the most difficult times of your life. It’s ok. You’re going to get through this, I promise. Not only are you going to get through, you’re going to thrive.

Stop worrying about whether people will like you. You’ll find your tribe, along the unbeaten paths on exciting adventures around the world, you will feel that you belong.

Please stop spending so much time and effort worrying about trivial things like if you’ll ever get boobs or a boyfriend. You’ll get both, and quickly realize that neither of them will bring you happiness. Instead of worrying, do things that make you happy, life crafting, writing, and taking pictures. Spend your efforts on that, even if the kids say it’s uncool.

Stop trying to please the popular kids, they will never be satisfied and you are never going to find your own satisfaction by looking outside of yourself. And don’t think that they have it all figured out. They are just as confused and sad as you are, they are just better at hiding it.

I know spending all your efforts focused on boys right now seems like a good idea. But I urge you to instead spend more quality time with the boys who are going to love you unconditionally. Like your dad and your little brother. They are going to be going to Heaven much sooner than you think, and you’re going to regret all those hours wasted on boys who weren’t worth the sacrifice.

Stay away from drugs and alcohol. I know in this moment, it seems like they’ll help you fit in, help you deal with the pain you’re feeling, and make you look cool. But they won’t. Stay clear.

Know that I love everything about you, even the things you don’t like about yourself or wish were different... I love. And you should too.

Yours always,


Big thank you to the YMCA for inviting me to be a part of this special day and all the young women who offered me so much inspiration.


The Dark Side of Yoga, Path to being enlightened, 30 day challenge, yoga girl, bliss yoga cayman, prairie yogi, Rachelle Taylor, Pantel Photography,

Rachelle Taylor is a love warrior born and raised in the heart of Canada. This gypsy sprit searched far and wide for inspiration, beauty, and bliss only to return home to Winnipeg where she co-founded Prairie Yogi Inc + Prairie Love Festival as expressions of her love for creativity, yoga, and community. 

8 Oct 2015


Amanda Burkowski, Mindfulness, Winnipeg Events, Prairie Yogi, Stress Reduction,
words by Amanda Burkowsky
We hear it all the time, that we must be mindful, reading about this elusive state of beings' benefits online, and hearing it spoken about by our yoga teachers.... but what is mindfulness really all about?

The answer is likely to differ depending on who you ask and that is okay, actually I believe this difference of opinion is beneficial.

My own interest in mindfulness was sparked through yoga, and I began delving into the topic, leaning and researching on and offline. Initially, I thought that I should be more connected to my surroundings on a daily basis and more appreciative of what surrounded me and resided within me. But when I dove deeper, I realized that I wanted to learn more about a formal meditation practice that could help bring me into this blissful state of being, with a calm mind and steady breath. 

Through my search, I have come to find that mindfulness is much more and much less. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as "paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally." Seems a tad challenging doesn't it?

To create a mindfulness practice that resonated with me I began to focus on three specific areas on mindfulness; awareness, non-judgment and self acceptance. 

Awareness: It resides within all of us, but we have become strangers to it. Can we sit and observe our body sensations, our emotions, and our surroundings without creating a story behind them and change our automatic response of doing to that of being with what is.

Non-judgment: Moving away from living on autopilot and making decisions based out of habit so that we can really see what is right in front of us. Can we move through out our day with a beginner's mind so that we can recognize our preconceived notions of life. 

Self Acceptance: Building a deeper relationship to the self, and understanding who we really are beneath our names, hobbies, occupations/titles. Seeing things as they present themselves so that we can learn how to grow and evolve.

With this sense of a deeper connection to my mindfulness practice, I wanted to create an experience for practitioners of all levels to join me for an afternoon of turning our gaze within. Capture Your Moments - A Mindfulness Meditation Workshop is the development of this connection and I will be leading this two hour workshop on Saturday, October 24th at Awesome Hot Yoga and Barre. Participants will develop a better understanding of awareness, acceptance and non-judgment. No experience necessary, though an open mind is highly encouraged. I hope to have you join me for an afternoon of being and learning. 


Amanda Burkowski, Mindfulness, Winnipeg Events, Prairie Yogi, Stress Reduction, Amanda is a mindful, breath oriented yogi and registered yoga instructor with an educational background in individual human development and social work. Amanda provides students an opportunity to develop a holistic perspective within their yoga practice, emotional and spiritual journey. Her classes flow from creatively challenging, to nourishing and soothing for the mind, body and soul. She incorporates moving meditation and stillness to arrive in the present moment fully and completely. Amanda believes that yoga can be accessible for all beings as a way to enrich the human experience.