Inspiration: Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen
Yoga Girl is one of my all time favourite instagram accounts, it’s so inspiring and honest. Rachel has such a wonderfully positive way of looking at everything no matter how difficult it is, and her yoga poses are just insane! She’s just released a beautiful new book with the same publisher that I have, which is so exciting, and I’m so happy that she’s here to chat to us about health, yoga, her favourite foods, beauty routines and lots more…
Name: Rachel Brathen
Where do you live? Aruba!
What sparked your interest in health and wellness? I had a fairly difficult childhood, peaking with a few very destructive teenage years. I found meditation at 18 and it completely changed by life, and with it came a huge longing for health and wellbeing. I became vegan, started practicing yoga… The rest is history.
How did you build your passion for healthy living into a career? I had been teaching yoga for a few years when I started I started sharing my journey online. I wanted to inspire people to practice and reach people beyond the small island where I live. And I realized fairly early on that there was a huge need for authenticity out there – especially in social media. I began sharing not only the highlights of my life (yoga poses, beach time, healthy foods), but the difficult things as well. Before I knew it my small classes here in Aruba of 5-10 people turned into big classes and sold-out retreats. I honestly think that whatever you’re offering to the world, if it comes from your heart, abundance will come.
Who inspires you? My students. I love watching the journey of people coming to the mat, opening up, trying new things, allowing themselves to truly feel… Yoga is such an emotional practice. Watching it unfold in front of me in class is amazing.
Favourite quote? Trust that life will always take you where you need to be.
What is your biggest achievement so far? I don’t believe in “achievement”. I believe in working for what you want in your life, every day, with as much compassion and truth as possible. There have been great milestones along the way; becoming a NYT bestselling author, teaching big classes, things like that, but in the end what brings me happiness is knowing I am on the right path. I want to bring more love into the world. I want people to accept themselves for who they are. There is something in all of this, much bigger than me. Watching it unfold is the greatest reward of all.
Have you always been into fitness or was it something you learnt to enjoy in recent years? I’ve been practicing yoga for 8 years now. But I’m not really into fitness! Yoga, and maybe a run here and there, is good enough for me.
What’s a typical daily workout for you? I practice yoga every morning. Usually 60-90 minutes depending on the day! And I run, 2-3 times a week.
Where do you get the inspiration from to develop so many unique forms of exercise routines? I listen to my body! Most of my sequencing comes from me being on my mat alone, simply figuring out where my body wants to go. I don’t like to practice the same thing every day and love to get creative with poses.
What’s the one piece of equipment you can’t live without? My yoga mat. Definitely. It’s not so much about needing the grip or the surface – more about having a sacred space to come to.
What are your favourite ways to stay active? Aside from yoga? Anything that makes me smile! I love to swim, dance, surf, walk my dogs… Sometimes, with the right tunes, even cleaning the house can be a fun way to move!
What’s your typical…
Breakfast: Gluten-free toast with avocado. Or chia pudding with berries. Or greek yoghurt with fruits! I usually mix it up a lot.
Lunch: I am so bad at lunch. Usually it’s leftovers from yesterday’s dinner… Today I had a vegan coconut milk curry that I made yesterday.
Snack: Fruits!!! Of all kinds! It’s guanabana (soursop) season here in Aruba so we are eating a ton of fruit
Dinner: I love an elaborate dinner with several courses and some wine. When we travel, which is most of the time, we eat out a ton so don’t really have a typical dinner. Always vegetarian though. We eat a lot of Asian food these days, and I like to cook and try new things at home. I think the most typical thing about our dinners at home is the wine!
What’s your favourite dessert? Chocolate! In all shapes and forms!
Where are your favourite places to eat? At home, in my kitchen. No place like home.
What is your beauty routine? It’s very simple. I use some Origins and Philosophy products (cleanser, day cream), rosewater spray for my face, coconut oil for my body and my hair. And argan oil for split ends.
Where’s your favourite place in the world? Home! Home, home, home. Aruba in my heart.
What makes you happy? Being with my family. Nothing beats cuddling with your dogs in the morning.
Describe your perfect day? It starts with me sleeping in! Walk the dogs, practice yoga, then a big brunch at home with our friends. We usually have brunch at least once a month at home where everybody brings food, we cook a ton… Then in the afternoon, beach time! My husband surfs and I like to hang out on the beach with the dogs. We’ll stop at one of our favourite local little places for a beer on the way home. Then a quiet night at home, watching a movie. I travel so much and life is so exciting most of the time, that I’ve truly learned to love the little things and having “regular” days at home.
Do you have any favourite tips and tricks to stay healthy and happy everyday? Drinking tons of water (more than you think you need), moving your body in some way every day, and not letting the little dramas of everyday life take up too much space in your life. Take deep breaths. Learning how to calm your mind and come back to the present moment is the most important thing when it comes to developing a happy, balanced life. So much of what we perceive as negative comes from the stress and judgments of our minds. Learning how to move away from that and appreciate the little things that surround us every day is such an important thing! Life is beautiful. Sometimes we just need to be reminded.