So much of what yoga teaches—love, non-attachment, stillness of the mind—can’t be seen by anyone other than the person practicing, so it’s always a real treat to get a window into someone’s personal transformation. We were struck by Caitlin Turner’s recent admission on Instagram that the image she had been portraying on social media just didn’t feel like her anymore, and we’ve been captivated by her journey to become more authentic, online and in real life. A true embodiment of yoga, if you ask us. She let us in on her new approach to her practice and her life, plus her go-to playlist for making mat moves.

How did you get into yoga?

I got invited to my first yoga class by a cute guy that I had a crush on. It was a Bikram yoga class, and I walked in thinking that it was going to be a breeze after my years of training as an elite-level rhythmic gymnast. In reality, I was down in child’s pose panting and debating whether to flee the room within the first few minutes. Even though the experience didn’t quite turn out the way I expected it to, I was hooked. In the end I kept yoga but eventually let the guy go.

How has your relationship to yoga evolved since you started practicing?

My yoga journey began with me going back to class each time because the athlete in me wanted to conquer the class that had conquered me that first time. However, I soon realized that the more I practiced, the better I felt. I had expected the physical benefits, but the mental and emotional benefits that came with my practice blew my mind. After developing a consistent daily practice, I decided to become a teacher, and I’ve been deepening my practice and sharing my love of yoga with others for the last 9 years.

Amelia Luxe Long Sleeve CropHigh-Waist Ripped Warrior Legging

On Instagram you said that you’re making authenticity one of your top priorities this year, and we’re so here for it. Tell us about what that journey looks like.

My journey to living a more authentic life involves a lot of different aspects, but on its most basic level, I’m practicing being more vulnerable and sharing a more realistic perspective of who I am, rather than filtering what I want to say or share through a lens of whether people will like me at the end. I’m working hard to apply this both in my online presence and in my real-life relationships. We as a society are spending more time than ever before on social media, and I think all this has the potential to somewhat warp our view of reality. So much of what we see on social media is the highlight reel of everyone’s lives, and it’s easy to fall into a trap of comparison and feeling not good enough. I fall into that trap fairly often, and I realized that if I wanted to see something different on social, I needed to be the change I wanted to see.

I want to be the person that makes you think, feel, smile or laugh, not the person who makes you wish you looked different than you do or had different things than you have. I want my page to feel inclusive, where you can show up however you are and not feel judged. So, I’m doing my best to be vulnerable, honest and real these days, both online and in real life. I’m also making a serious point to care less about how everything looks and more about how it feels. Rather than trying to look and sound “perfect,” whatever that even means, I’m focused on looking and sounding like me.

“I want to be the person that makes you think, feel, smile or laugh, not the person who makes you wish you looked different than you do or had different things than you have. I want my page to feel inclusive, where you can show up however you are and not feel judged.”

When do you feel most like yourself?

I feel most like myself when I release my insecurities and concern for what others think about me. This allows me to tune into my soul and make decisions from my heart.

What’s something that people might be surprised to learn about you?

I love to eat dessert for breakfast, and breakfast for dinner. Birthday cake breakfast? Yes, please!

What projects are you really excited about right now?

I’m really excited about my Alo Moves classes and the upcoming release of my new splits and flexibility e-book—stay tuned!

Get a regular dose of Caitlin’s inspiring realness on Instagram @gypsetgoddess.