Rachel Brathen, commonly known as Yoga Girl (@yoga_girl), has built a large and loyal following through her amazing yoga techniques and friendly approach. In 2017, Forbes named Brathen to its list of the most important social media influencers in Yoga, noting that Brathen "can command a $25,000 fee per Instagram post."
Who Is Rachel Brathen and Why You Should Know the World's Favorite Yoga Girl
Rachel Brathen. Source Yoga Girl
"I love to share pieces of my life with the world and I do so every day through social media. I am also the founder of one of the first online yoga platforms, the now-retired oneOeight.com, which was the most successful crowd-funded yoga project of all time."
Originally from Sweden, Rachel is a New York Times best-selling author, serial entrepreneur, and international yoga teacher living in Aruba with her husband, Dennis and their baby girl, Lea Luna. After graduating from school in Stockholm, she traveled to Costa Rica where she found the joy of incorporating yoga into her everyday life.
Yoga Girl's Morning Routine. Source: Well+Good
Deepening her yoga practice and beginning teaching, the Yoga Girl moved to Central America where she spent years exploring the intricate studies of yoga and spirituality. After moving to Aruba in early 2010, she began teaching yoga full time. When she launched her social account, as a supplement to on-island teaching, she wanted to be "this perfect yoga person," she explains. "It was not at all my personality or my style of teaching, but I thought I was going to be this awesome, proper yoga person." (You know, a handstands-every-day vegan who never loses her cool or goes out to happy hour.)
But a fight with her husband changed things: "I went on Instagram to post—something super rainbows and butterflies—and I just wasn't feeling it." So she was honest. "I wrote about how I was struggling at the moment and felt very insecure. When I picked my phone up later, I had hundreds of comments. People were so excited to see a real human being."
Rachel Brathen. Source Yoga Girl
Now, as the CEO of Island Yoga Aruba—where she teaches everything from vinyasa flow to SUP yoga and leads 23-day yoga teacher training retreats—she's all about authenticity. "If you think you have to be perfect to do yoga, no one's going to do yoga," Rachel, 29, says. "It's about fitting yoga into your life as you are. It's okay to drink wine in the evening and have green juice in the morning or go to yoga and then go out and dance. It's okay to have both sides."
The Ayurvedic Rituals To Start The Day Like Rachel Brathen
I usually wake up around 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. My workday doesn’t start until 10:00 a.m., and I like to make sure I have a slow, easy start to my day—this means no social media or computer time before that! It’s a rule we keep around the house that doesn’t always work, but it helps me try to keep a distinct line between work and time off.
The moment I wake up, I snuggle up with my husband and our dogs (who are all always in the bed at the same time) for as long as I can. I’m usually the first out of bed, and after going to the bathroom I immediately reach for my coconut oil. This is the first step of my morning routine: oil pulling. I take a swig of coconut oil and swish it around in my mouth for 20 minutes. It’s an ancient Ayurvedic technique.
Twenty minutes is a fairly long time to be swishing oil around your mouth, so I continue oil pulling while I move on to preparing for my second and third step of my morning routine: hot water with lemon and my yoga practice. Drinking hot water with lemon also stems from the practice of Ayurveda, and is a way to start your day with a “clean slate.” I never drink coffee in the morning but prefer the light pick-me-up of the lemon water. I usually also bring a big glass of cold water, as my practice is always sweaty and dynamic.
Rachel Brathen's Yoga Practice
After this, I roll out my mat and get my yoga towel and all the props I like to use for my practice. Sometimes I practice with my favorite teachers online on oneoeight.tv and sometimes it’s just me and my breath—either way I use props like blocks and a strap to give my body the support it needs.
Right around here, the 20 minutes of my oil pulling is usually up; I have my hot water and lemon ready, yoga mat rolled out, maybe a candle lit… I spit the coconut oil out in the trash; it’s important to never swallow it or spit it down the drain, as it can clog up the pipes and your body. Then head over to my mat. Before I move my body I take a moment to sit in silence on my mat, drinking my lemon water, sometimes journaling a bit or meditating on my intentions for the day.
Then: yoga time. I usually practice for a good 90 minutes but this depends on how I’m feeling and the mood I’m in. I live in Aruba so it gets fairly hot early on; my practice is always super sweaty! I love integrating lots of core work and inversions into my home practice.