Assuming you haven’t been living under a rock or aggressively opposed to social media platforms such as Instagram, you have probably seen or heard of Yoga Girl.
With over 1 million followers, Rachel Brathen has become a prominent figure in the yoga community. Brathen currently resides in Aruba where she holds workshops and lives a fabulous life full of travel, adventure and intrigue. Scrolling through her Instagram page (@yoga_girl), you might find her doing handstands in Times Square, surfing in Costa Rica or frolicking on the beach in Thailand. Following the recent release of her first book Yoga Girl, a self-help memoir, Brathen has come to the States for what she calls The Hapiness Tour. The tour consists of both book signings and yoga workshops across the country.
Bright and early Friday morning, over 300 sleepy yogis converged on the Crystal Ballroom to meet Brathen and attend her workshop. As the ballroom filled with anxious yogis stretching on their mats, Brathen walked in to a boom of applause and adoration. Her presence was intoxicating as she commanded the room with her infectious smile and graceful demeanor. With such a large class size, assistance was given by several instructors from Yoga Pearl in Northwest Portland. Also in attendance were Brathen’s husband Dennis and her beloved canine Ringo (@ringo_thegringo) who each provided adjustments and assistance in their own ways.
The event opened with Brathen expressing her gratitude for the success of the Happiness Tour and the dedication of her fans. She seemed genuinely surprised that so many people would get up before 7 a.m. to practice yoga with her. The workshop began with the class focusing on their intent, pondering what it is that they hope to get out of their practice. Once the class was warmed up, Brathen led the class into a vinyasa (linking of body movement with breath) style sequence of poses. The flow of the class stayed within an intermediate level of difficulty with options for more advanced adjustments and poses. Thoughout the practice, Brathen spoke about the infinite power to heal that is inside all of us as well as the beauty of being in the present moment.
Once the workshop came to a close, a Q & A session was held and Brathen answered questions about different topics ranging from her writing process to what she likes the most about Portland, her “favorite city in the States.” She said she and her husband visit about once per year to enjoy the food and outdoor culture the city offers.
In lieu of taking selfies with all 300 or so in attendance, Brathen posed for a group photo before autographing copies of her book. Also offered were hugs and greetings for anyone interested in meeting her personally. Nearly the entire class waited patiently to meet her and express their gratitude for the inspiration she brings to the yoga community. Those whose lives she seemed to touch the most were visibly emotional upon meeting her. Many of them were overwhelmed with tears of joy. Others (including myself) walked out beaming with smiles from ear to ear, high on Brathen’s loving vibes, left hopelessly enamored.
The Happiness Tour will conclude on May 16 in Los Angeles, California. Yoga Girl is now available online and in stores.