My husband and I have a poster of the Holstee Manifesto hanging up in our room. It reminds me daily of who I've become and how far I've traveled because I decided to do things that made me happy. My favorite lines in the manifesto are the ones that deeply resonate with the last two years of my life and my experiences with some pretty amazing life changes. "If you don’t like your job, quit." I never held a waitressing or retail job in college or high school. I paid my bills with tech jobs and that skill eventually landed me a job at startup VoIP company in NYC. I spent five years there successfully moving up the ranks but there was a part of me that ached for something more fulfilling. I took a year traveling through California to find inspiration and was lucky enough to keep my job by telecommuting. Despite my new surroundings (and the ridiculously beautiful weather) I realized I wasn’t going to change the world with my job, and that brought light to a big void in my heart. They say if you want to change the world you have to start by changing yourself so I did just that. I moved back to NYC and enrolled in Yoga Vida’s 200 Hour Teacher Training Program and went on to study under the Mentorship of a senior teacher at the studio. As a result of my dedication and hard work driven by my passion for teaching, I was the first teacher hired from their education program. I changed careers the summer after training, moving out of the tech industry, and into the yoga world taking on the role of Studio Manager for Yoga Vida (Best Yoga, New York Mag 2012) in addition to teaching classes. I went from working in a B2B startup to being a key player in one of Manhattan’s most popular yoga studios all because I decided to follow my heart. Changing careers was one of the scariest things I have ever done but if I didn't, I never would have been able to do what I love. "Do what you love and do it often." I became a Yoga teacher because I love people and I love to teach. I also love what I teach and being able to share my passion is a gift I am grateful for every day. The greatest and most rewarding part of my job is seeing people gain self confidence. Since changing careers, I get to see that nearly every day and it is beyond inspiring. You know what they say... "If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love." I met Adam at a teacher training info session at Yoga Vida. I answered questions he had about the training program and we kept in contact as he went through the program and then the mentorship. We quickly became close friends: we shared french fries while talking about Yoga philosophy, gave each other dating advice, helped each other with class sequences, and shared our love of Kanye West and Wu-Tang Clan. One day as I practiced next to him in class I got the biggest case of butterflies. That day I admitted that I had fallen hard for my best friend and that these feelings weren't going to go away. A few weeks later at a Big Gigantic concert we had our first kiss. When I changed careers and started to teach yoga I fell in love with myself. That internal shift gave me the confidence to lean in for our first kiss that night and directly contributed to the passion and dedication that we celebrate each day in our marriage. "Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion." “Happiness” is the wish of the living and the regret of the dying. We spend so much time being miserable, being judgmental to others and ourselves, passing opportunities because we are afraid. And not afraid of failure, but rather of our potential. Marriane Williamsons wrote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Listen to your heart, to the song it sings to you as it beats and follow that dream. - Monica Pirani

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