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Y THE YOGA INSTRUCTOR WHO INSPIRES MORE THAN ONE MILLION FOLLOWERS ON INSTAGRAM EVERY DAY.

R AC H E L B R AT H E N

Whether she’s practicing handstands on her stand-up paddleboard or teaching Downward-Facing Dog to the masses, Rachel Brathen—Instagram’s @yoga_girl—has made it her mission to share inspirational messages with people from all corners of the world. In Yoga Girl, Brathen takes readers beyond her Instagram feed and shares her journey like never before—from her self-destructive teenage years in her hometown in Sweden to her adventures in the jungles of Costa Rica, and finally to the beautiful and bohemian life she’s built through yoga and meditation in Aruba today. Featuring spectacular photos of Brathen practicing yoga with breathtaking tropical backdrops, along with step-by-step yoga sequences and simple recipes for a healthy, happy, and fearless lifestyle—Yoga Girl is like an armchair vacation to a Caribbean spa.

Swedish native RACHEL BRATHEN is a world-renowned yoga instructor who teaches workshops, leads yoga retreats, and gives lectures around the globe. Find her on Instagram @yoga_girl YOGAGIRLBOOK.COM

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R A C H E L B R AT H E N

Yoga Girl

TOUCHSTONE New York

London

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Touchstone An Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1230 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020 Copyright © 2014 by Rachel Brathen Originally published in 2014 in Sweden by Bonnier Fakta. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Touchstone Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. This publication contains the opinions and ideas of its author. It is intended to provide helpful and informative material on the subjects addressed in the publication. It is sold with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering medical, health, or any other kind of personal professional services in the book. The reader should consult his or her medical, health, or other competent professional before adopting any of the suggestions in this book or drawing inferences from it. The author and publisher specifically disclaim all responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this book. First Touchstone trade paperback edition March 2015 TOUCHSTONE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc. For information about special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1‑866‑506‑1949 or business@simonandschuster.com. The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 866‑248‑3049 or visit our website at www.simonspeakers.com. Manufactured in the United States of America 1

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Library of Congress Cataloging‑in‑Publication Data Brathen, Rachel. Yoga girl / Rachel Brathen. pages cm Originally published in 2014 in Sweden by Bonnier Fakta. 1. Brathen, Rachel. 2. Yoga teachers—Sweden—Biography. 3. Yoga teachers—Aruba—Biography. I. Title. RA781.67.B72 2015 613.7'046092—dc23 [B] 2014047319 ISBN 978‑1‑5011‑0676‑7 ISBN 978‑1‑5011‑0677‑4 (ebook)


For every single person who’s ever stepped on a yoga mat. And for those out there who haven’t . . . especially for you.


Contents

INTRODUCTION CHAPTER 1

Yoga Every Damn Day

1 2

CHAPTER 2

To love what is ahead, you must love what has come before CHAPTER 3

Not all those who wander are lost

20 46

CHAPTER 4

The body is a place for the soul to reside in CHAPTER 5

Going with the flow CHAPTER 6

Love over fear CHAPTER 7

74 100 118

Moments of silence

140

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

156

INDEX

158


Introduction

W

elcome to life as a yoga girl! Or yoga boy, for that matter. Yoga is a practice for anyone and everyone, and I’m here to share with you the big secret of finding success and balance in your life, yogi style. The secret is, there is none. There is no grand recipe for a perfect life. In today’s fast‑paced society we often find ourselves looking for a quick fix, the next big thing to make us feel better, which is why we see new health trends and diets taking the world by storm every other week. I am not here to announce the newest weight‑loss technique or to tell you that you should be eating fewer carbs or more carbs or no carbs (ah, that’s it!) or whatever fad is hitting the Internet this morning. I am not here to tell you to change your life so that you can be better. I’m here to tell you you are good enough the way you already are. Shocking, I know. Even though we are a decade and a half into the twenty‑first cen‑ tury, sending people to the moon on vacation and connecting through the virtual world in more ways than ever before, there is still a fundamental flaw in how we treat one another, and most of all, in how we treat ourselves. We do not love ourselves enough. We run around trying to find ways to change our bodies, our health, our love lives, our work—anything to make us feel whole and happy. But the faster we run, the faster we miss the point. We all search for balance, but finding this does not lie in the latest health trend. Balance comes from slowing down, from taking deep breaths, from understanding your body and what it needs. It comes from accepting who you are and loving yourself every step of the way. For me, yoga was the way to get there. Although yoga is a practice that has been around for more than five thousand years, it’s well adapted to the culture we live in and it’s getting more popular every day. The world of yoga is so full of different styles, teachers, classes, online videos, and gadgets these days that it can be hard to navigate. My aim with this book is to give you an idea of what life as a yogi can entail, and to help you get back to the root of the practice: creating moments of silence. These moments are when the real breakthroughs happen, when we come back to our priorities, our focus, and the love we have for ourselves and the people around us. Yoga involves much more than physical poses practiced on a yoga mat. In fact, there are beautiful ways to use what we learn from this practice and bring it out into the world. I hope to inspire you to be the best you can be, and to accept and embrace every single aspect of what that means.

1 INTRODUCTION


WHEN YOU FIRST START PRACTICING YOGA REGULARLY, YOU’LL HAVE SOME IMPORTANT REALIZATIONS:

1. This is much harder than I thought. 2. It also feels much better than I thought. 3. My body and my mind sometimes—or most of the time—completely disagree with each other, and the two sides of my body are very different. 4. How did I live my whole life without knowing how to breathe properly? 5. I want to do more of this. AND IF YOU PRACTICE LONG ENOUGH YOU MIGHT EVEN REALIZE:

6. The clothes I wear have little to no effect on how well I perform on my yoga mat. 7. My body is connected to my emotions. My emotions are connected to my thoughts. My thoughts are connected to my ability to stay present. And my ability to stay present is connected to my body. 8. The poses we practice are not the destination, but the path. 9. The more I advance in my practice, the more I realize I have not advanced at all. 10. I want more of this.

12 Y O G A E V E R Y D A M N D AY


To keep reading, order your copy of Yoga Girl today! PAPERBACK

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Find Rachel on tour at YogaGirlBook.com! Follow Rachel online:

Inspiration for a healthy, happy, fearless life from Instagram's @yoga_girl!  

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