Best known around the world as Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen inspires her over 1.3 million followers on Instagram with her daily yoga practice, inspiration, and an inside look at her inside, out, yoga lifestyle. Along with her recently published first book, the New York Times Best Seller,Yoga Girl, written “for every single person who’s ever stepped on a yoga mat and for those out there who haven’t… especially you,” Rachel has also launched two new fantastic digital programs with Gaiam: Rachel Brathen Yoga Find Your Purpose and Release and Let Go.
Each of the digital programs features five, 20-minute Vinyasa flow practices which help to build strength and flexibility and unwind the body and mind. As well, the programs, much like her Instagram and new book, offer an inside look at Rachel’s yogi lifestyle which began when she was a teen in Sweden. We recently took some time to chat with Rachel to get inside-look of our own and to get her insight on how these new programs can help even the most amateur of yogis.
What’s become a passion and a lifestyle, started out of necessity. “I have a history of back pain and scoliosis,” she shared. When Rachel was a teenager someone told her that yoga would really help ease the pain she was experiencing and from there, as she explained, “the seed was planted.”
For people who want to begin living their own yoga lifestyle, Rachel urged that just because your day-to-day may not look like hers, that you should “start with whatever you have, with the time that you have” because eventually “yoga will change you.” She went on to say that “a lot of people assume that because they eat meat or drink wine they cannot be a yogi [but] a yoga lifestyle can be anything you want it to be.” To get started, Rachel recommends “finding a close studio. Beginners should focus on finding a teacher they resonate with and feel safe with. You need to find the right person to guide you, to help you achieve the correct alignment.” From there, you should try to pull out the mat when you’re not in class, and perhaps follow along with her new programs!
Even if you’re a beginner, Rachel’s two new programs with Gaiam are great. She had wanted to take her teaching online for awhile to allow followers of all levels to practice based on their own schedules. “You can do as much as you can do with the time you have, so [the programs] really suit people who are on the go. Beginners should start with a more gentle flow and feel it out. It’s all about being mindful and listening to your body and then moving on to more challenging flows.” All of the routines work together to “create the perfect balance between creating space and building strength. They help you achieve body awareness, to become more intuitive with your body even when you’re not on the mat.”
A big part of the program, especially in the Release and Let Go sequences, addresses releasing hidden tension in the body. “Tension, stress, mental and emotional issues, these all have to go somewhere or else they will get stuck in the body,” she shared. This tension and stress will manifest itself into pain, especially in the form of “tight muscles in your shoulder, neck, and hips, tension headaches, and back pain. These programs help you give your body a physical release, help you to find comfort in your own body, and to let go of the old things.”
Based on body awareness, Rachel’s programs will help you become more intuitive with your own body. “It’s not just about what we do when we’re in classes,” she said, “but what we take with us when we leave. To think when we’re not on the mat about our posture, how we’re sitting. Body awareness is so important for feeling where you are holding tension that way you can actually let it go.”
Find Your Purpose is a collection of grounding, heart-opening practices to empower and energize you. Within this collection you’ll get:
The Everything is Okay-Flow: a calming sequence which deepens the breath while you stretch your body.
Rise and Shine!: a sequence designed to wake up your body and create heat.
Sun Saluters Unite!: a heart-pumping sequence that will help you break a sweat.
Find Your Purpose: a sequence designed to ground you.
Time to Relax: a sequence to help you unwind after a long day.
The Release and Let Go program focuses on listening to the body to discover areas of hidden tension. Within this program you’ll get:
The Shoulder Unfolder: a sequence that targets the shoulders, neck, and upper back to create space.
Intuitive Body Awareness Flow: this sequence is all about letting your body guide you so you can move freely.
Twist & Shout: a strong sequence that will get you to break a sweat.
Connecting to Your Center: a sequence that focuses on your core and abs.
Release & Let Go!: a sequence that is centered around the hips, quads, and shoulders.