Become a Warrior of the Peace: How I Survived Getting Mugged Last Night.

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Last night, I was mugged in New York City.

 Here’s how it went down:

I was walking home in Brooklyn, about 9:30 p.m., a route I’ve taken a hundred times before. People were out and about, coming back from—or maybe going to dinner. We eat late here in the Big Apple.

My guard was down, partially because I’ve lived in the city for 11 years, and never had an issue with violence. I was texting a friend, and didn’t notice the young man running up behind me until….

I felt a strong yank on my purse, and my first thought was that my dinner date had snuck up on me to walk me home. Then the yank became a crazy hard pulling, and my purse strap broke off.

I reflexively grabbed my purse before he could, and my cell phone clattered along the ground in front of me. The guy, maybe still in his teens, although he was bigger than me, ran a few paces in front of me, then turned back around, as if undecided whether he should get the hell out of Dodge or come back for a second try.

We looked at each other, he with a wild look in his eyes. Me with fear in mine. My arm was hurting, already bruising from the strap pulling on my bare skin, but that wasn’t my biggest concern.

In that moment, I had to think fast. What could I possibly do that might help him choose the first option instead of the second? Yell for help, sure, but I was already doing that. Besides, on my block, the last one by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, there are a lot of cars to cover my voice, no one was outside, and loud voices are a common occurrence anyway.

Luckily, my 20-year yoga practice has apparently given me some skills I didn’t know would apply to a street mugging: the ability to slow down and breathe in the face of intensity, and take decisive action from a place of clarity when perhaps I would otherwise be freaking out, confused and defensive.

 So here’s what I did:

As he turned around, I lunged for my cell phone, and pretended to take a photo of him.

Then I turned and did the same to his friend who I’d just noticed was coming down the other side of the street toward me.

I looked at them both and said, “I have both of your faces and I’m texting them to the police right now. You better run before they still get here, or you’re going to jail! Even if you take this phone right now, or hurt me, they still have your photos.”

The two guys looked at each other, and hightailed it away from me, around the corner and away.

As they fled, I screamed at them: “That’s right! You messed with the wrong Bitch!”, which, in hindsight, was perhaps over the top…

…but it felt damn good.

Now, once I got inside my apartment, I started shaking and had to do a few sun salutations and Ujjayi breathing to get the adrenaline to calm down. And, in assessing the damage, I’m only out one super-cute purse and my arm doesn’t look too pretty, but it could have been much, much worse.

So, lessons learned, and I pass the savings on to you:

• >>Remain as attentive as we do on the yoga mat when I’m walking, or any other time.

• >>Don’t text when walking in less populated areas at night.

• >>And be sure to have some pepper spray handy after dark.

Part of being a spiritual practitioner is creating boundaries around your own health and safety and right to move through your days as a master—not a victim.

There’s a Zen saying that goes:

“Trust everyone…but lock your doors at night”

Become a Warrior of the Peace, do what you feel is right to ensure your Ahimsa practice—not causing harm to yourself first and foremost—stays strong, and that you don’t allow other people’s unskilled choices to leak into your personal space whenever possible. After all, I didn’t want to allow those kids to continue violating my peace, nor enable them to act in such a harmful manner. In this way, ahimsa was preserved more fully on both sides.

Take care, everyone,

and know that, in any relationship with another person, from the ones closest to you, to the total strangers that appear in your life unexpectedly, you also have the capacity for this loving fierceness too…

…even if you get a little bruised once in a while.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta


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About Sadie Nardini

Sadie Nardini, is the founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, an anatomically-optimized flow style that gives you more results and benefits for every minute spent on your yoga mat. She is a holistic anatomy geek, healthy hedonism advocate, yoga expert, author, and TV host who travels internationally bringing empowering tools to yoga teachers and students everywhere. Her new book, The 21-Day Yoga Body: A Metabolic Makeover, Life-Styling Manual to Get You Fit, Fierce and Fabulous in Just 3 Weeks! (Random House), is out now, and her TV show, Rock Your Yoga, is playing across the country on the new Veria Living Network. With Sadie, you'll sweat, laugh, learn, and come away transformed, informed, and inspired anew. Learn more at


38 Responses to “Become a Warrior of the Peace: How I Survived Getting Mugged Last Night.”

  1. Kielecia says:

    Sorry that happened to you, Sadie! Good job!

    Can't wait for your class at Amsa Thursday night here in Columbia, SC!

  2. brianwilliamsyoga says:

    Glad you're fine. They did mess with the wrong Bitch, though. Nice way of handling it.

  3. laghimayoga says:

    Amazing! You are such a bad ass! Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

  4. clare says:

    So glad you are ok!yes, gainingg the ability to keep breathing,as you say, in the face of intensity is one of my favorite yoga selling points as a teacher, i.e. , ujayaii thru a blessedly long utkatasana. Take it easy today,maybe a little recovery chocolate?(:

  5. Mike G says:

    What's with all the Yogis getting mugged? I'm glad you are ok!

  6. Mamaste says:

    Just intro'd on FB to: WOW, Enlightened, Health & Wellness & Yoga.

    So sorry Sadie. Yeah….those dude didn't know what a bad ass they were messing with.

    Stay strong.


  7. howardp says:

    Good quick thinking! Breathing well keeps you nimble. I'm glad you got away relatively unscathed.

  8. Jaa235 says:

    Glad you are ok after that tramatic experience. Don’t want to bring you down but in the future maybe you should just let them take what they want and be happy they didn’t harm you any further. Your stuff can’t be worth making a mistake with the wrong guy who calls your bluff. I also live in NYC and tell my gf if someone ever tries to rob you while you are alone, to let them.

  9. missbernklau says:

    Sadie, you're a true urban samurai, I'm so glad you came out unscathed.
    Much love,

  10. Heather says:

    You remind me of the time a guy was breaking into my Jeep. I came right up to him…..before I understood what was happening. Suddenly and without warning the bellows of HELL just opened up!

    I said, HEY….so freakin loud….it scared the living shit out of him…me too:-)

    Turns out he was eyeing the 5 bucks in the coffee holder…(stupid of me to leave it there). So I opened the door and gave it to him!!!!

  11. Terri says:

    I don't even know you and I'm as proud as if you are my sister. Go, you!

  12. Bex says:

    I am so so so so so happy and relieved you are OK! I think I'm more panicked reading this than you were when it happened. Stay safe! love you!!

  13. Ed Spyhill says:

    You earned the right to yell after them that they "messed with the wrong bitch". Just a bit of street cred. Now I have to sign up for one of your core classes. Glad you are safe.

  14. elephantjournal says:

    Never heard that "Zen Saying," but always have loved this one: "Trust in Allah, but tether your camel." Congrats on your fast thinking…and yes, please, people, please don't text while walking. Be safe, Sadie, you're too much of a treasure to risk! Love from Waylon!

  15. Sadie says:

    Hey, thanks, everybody for the support and love and advice around this today. It’s really helped me process it, to have my community surround me.

    I’m reading all the comments, and smiling at each one. Much appreciated! Now…put those cell phones away!

    Unless, you know…mom calls.


  16. Lorraine says:

    So glad you are ok!

  17. lisa says:

    glad you're okay..and thanks for the reminder of how to apply yoga off the mat as well as on it! namaste…

  18. Amahl Majack says:

    So Smart… and Badass 🙂

  19. […] use. In the end the results were spectacular. When I looked at my reflection in the mirror, I saw a strong and beautiful woman looking back. With or without the make-up, the strong and beautiful woman was there the whole […]

  20. Wow. Wow. Good for you, being so clever at such an intense, stressful, frightening moment! Very impressive and even moreso that you credit your clarity to your yoga practice. Definitely taking your lessons on staying mindful and present when walking around. Glad you're alright.

  21. […] How I Survived Getting Mugged Last Night – Sadie is one brave lady. She recounts her experience getting mugged in NYC, the lessons it taught her about herself and mistakes she made, and relates it all back to being a warrior of peace. […]

  22. KristinSLuce says:

    Trust God, but tie your camel. Nice post! Re-posting… <3

  23. kevin says:

    Thank you for sharing this experience with others so we might benefit.
    Take care.

  24. kco says:

    I'm not usually a Sadie Nardini fan, but this is badass as shit. Kudos!

  25. I've been through something similar. Sadie, you did awesome! And you are a Bad BItch, not over the top!

  26. Zoe Rei says:

    Thanks for your story! I've been thinking about similar things due to living in Chicago. Someone ran into/pushed a friend of mine and the only thing she could think to do was soo calmly say "I'm sorry." I'm not sure I would have responded like her. Also, I've noticed that in the city people are clutched and balled tightly within themselves trying to protect their purse and not make eye contact with those around them. I think this puts people in a more dangerous situation because they aren't looking around to see what is happening and by acknowledging people we recognize their humanity and give them a chance to recognize ours. I feel safer when I'm looking around acknowledging people and trying to make the environment better with a smile. So glad that you were safe and that your yoga practice kicked in quickly enough to slow down and take a breath!

  27. Ramani says:

    That is good your okay. Whenever anything bad happens to me I usually try to tether out the karmic implications the situation, the aspects involved ( property, money), and how it is trying to wake me up ( what am I missing?), though I suppose it would be natural to be defensive in this case. Be safe.

  28. […] recently read this article in Elephant Journal by Sadie Nardini about how she used the skills she learned from her yoga […]

  29. […] recently read this article in Elephant Journal by Sadie Nardini about how she used the skills she learned from her yoga […]

  30. Sadie Nardini says:

    Hi Ramani,
    Yes, that is another way to react, as you suggested. Had they had a knife or gun, I'm sure I would've told them that was unnecessary because I was going to give them what they wanted, which would hopefully have been my bag, and not me. I don't know if the best karmic choice is to let someone violate you personally or materially if there is a way to hold the boundaries around your peace. I might call that 'enabling bad behavior.' In this case, anyway, I figured the best outcome would be that they don't get my stuff, I don't get hurt, they leave and no one goes to jail over a silly purse.


    • Ramani says:

      I wasn't implying reacting differently. You reacted how I probably would of if I could think that fast. I meant after the fact , looking at what it all means…

  31. Sadie! I am so glad you are OK. I think that was the smartest thing to do! I would have never thought to do that. I just moved to a huge city and I live in the heart of it. Like for real, people get murdered blocks from my apartment. However, the neighborhood I live in is semi "safe" There are lots of crackheads and weirdos that stroll my block but I don't ever really feel all that threatened. However, I came from a small country town where everyone knew your name and I left my doors unlocked for years without any issue. Heck my neighbors would probably come in and water my plants for me if they noticed I had been gone for a few days. I am going to get pepper spray today as my husband works as an EMT and works overnights. I am alone many nights of the week. Thank you for posting this, you reminded me to value my safety and take care of myself. Love and Namaste.

  32. Alexandra says:

    Ahhhhh Sadie! I'm so upset this happened to you! 🙁 You are so strong and inspirational, thank you for sharing your wisdom in how to handle this kind of situation. You are the best!

  33. kate says:

    not to be a downer, but is this really practicing yoga? really? ahimsa is more than non-violence/not harming, let's try embracing love and reverence for all instead. threats don't help anyone learn, they just teach us what NOT to do, not what TO do, and scare tactics go the same way. i'm happy to hear sadie wasn't hurt, but it's a pretty pathetic version of peace to call this story "become a warrior for peace."

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