There are a lot of yogis out there, but there is one in particular who I would like to introduce you all to. She is the queen of SUP (stand-up paddle board) yoga, a motivator, an inspiring soul, and the talented instructor who will be joining us on our Pura Vida Getaway. Meet: Rachel Brathen.
Rachel has been perfecting her yoga practice for years, and currently travels the world teaching her specialty: Vinyasa Flow. We couldn’t be more excited for Rachel to be joining us for a week in Nosara, Costa Rica next month, so we wanted to get to know a little bit more about this beauty and share a peek into her life…
When was the first time you ever did yoga?
The first time I ever took a class I was 15 or 16, on a family trip to Thailand. I took a class together with my mom on the grass next to the pool, and I remember the instructor being so peaceful and calm. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t get me hooked; I started up my yoga practice a few years after that.
What is your favorite yoga pose, and why?
Wow, there are so many to choose from! A pose that I always love no matter what is double pigeon pose, also called Firelog Pose. It’s such a yummy release for the hips which is something I always need.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring yogi, what would it be?
Be patient with yourself! Don’t worry about what other people are doing in class; focus on yourself and how it feels to you in your body. You have to begin from exactly where you are. Start slow, be mindful, and stick with it! It gets better and better. :)
What kind of yoga do you teach, and what do you love about it?
I teach Vinyasa Flow, which I absolutely love because there is constant movement. We move with the breath and it helps you stay focused throughout the entire practice. Plus, it’s a sweaty practice! I love to challenge my students.
Explain a typical day in the life of Rachel Brathen.
There is none. I travel up of 40 weeks a year so no day is like the other… If I’m home, I love to sleep in and cuddle in bed with my dogs for as long as I can (we have 4). Then I’ll do yoga, make some juice, eat a big breakfast… I love my mornings! After that I usually have a lot of computer work to do, and right now I’m working on a book so that takes up a big part of my day. I make sure to get some beach time in at some point during the day, then a walk with the dogs on the north shore, then dinner out somewhere with my fiancé. No day is the same but it’s always dogs, yoga, computer, yoga. In that order. :)
How long have you been practicing paddle board yoga? How is it different than regular yoga?
For 4 years. It’s very different as you’re taking your practice from the yoga mat onto a surfboard on the water — a lot more challenging! We do the same poses but a whole lot slower. It’s a great workout and a good way to improve your balance. Plus you’re on the water! I love spending time on the beach.
What is your typical yoga outfit?
I am not a big fan of “performance wear”, I don’t like yoga clothes that are shiny with seams that show. I want my yoga clothing to work before and after class, too, so I go for more natural materials like bamboo and cotton. I’ll use any tank top and a yoga pants that have a good fit. But the big brands are not for me, I prefer the boho feel to the “I’m going to the gym” feel.
You have quite a large following on Instagram. How do you maintain such a positive and inspiring community?
I work hard to keep it that way. I share pieces of my life the way they are, good and bad, and I think it inspires because it shows I’m a real person. My following is very personal, they’re very committed, and there is a difference between inspiring people and creating a jealous vibe. In social media people usually only share their best side; a “look at my perfect life” kind of thing. We choose what we share with the world, and sometimes the inspiration of healthy living can turn negative for the people following as it seems so easy for the people sharing. But life is not easy, and no one is perfect. I share my bad days, my insecurities, my sadness, together with the healthy living and the beach life and the yoga and the handstands… I keep it real. And I really think that’s why the following has grown so large.
If you had to create the ultimate yoga music playlist, what would be the first three songs?
I have many! I share them on Spotify. Three perfect songs to start a class: “Java Shiva Shankara” by Snatam Kaur, then “Follow The Sun” by Xavier Rudd, then “Breathe” by Telepopmusik. Has to be in that order! I like to start slowly and build up.
Besides yoga, how else do you keep your mind and body balanced?
I recently started running. And I’m NOT a big fan of it! I feel really good afterwards but during the run, all I can think of is “why am I doing this to myself?”… It’s so hard! It’s a huge challenge for me so I’m keeping at it, it’s good for me to get out of my comfort zone. When I travel this much I need more ways to move my body. Other than that, I paddle board from time to time and walk the dogs. And I meditate.
What does being ‘free’ mean to you?
To live authentically. To embrace yourself as you are without wanting to change a single thing. True freedom comes from loving ourselves — it’s from that love we create a free spirited life!
Photo Credit ©Alea Warner
Thank you, Rachel!
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