Most people don’t realise I have a love affair going on with yoga for the past five or so years. This love was recently rekindled at the start of the summer when I stumbled across Yoga Girl – Rachel Brathen on Instagram. A month or so later I found her book in a little bookshop on the west coast and I immediately fell head over heels for everything Yoga Girl related! Not wanting to sound super hippie-dippie, but I was going through a really rough time in my life and reading her book was exactly what I needed to get me out of my depressed state and onto my mat. During that really tough time she reminded me why I do yoga in the first place – for me! I have always done yoga for me, it makes me feel great! There is something special about yoga, when you get on that mat there is no space for your thoughts, just you and your body. That break from negativity and distractions really does something for your mind, and obviously, the physical element is going to get the blood flowing and help with the release of all those happy hormones 😀
People just dismissed me when I told them I wanted to travel all the way to Stockholm to go to a yoga class as if it was something completely stupid to do. So fuck them and off to Sweden I went. I wasn’t the only crazy person out there. There was 800 people at the class and over a quarter of them had travelled to Stockholm to practice with Rachel. 800 people all in the same place, because they believed in every single thing Rachel speaks about on social media. 800 people who know that sometimes you just need to leave the ego at the door, and be completely vulnerable, and nobody but yourself.It didn’t matter who you were, if you were a seasoned practitioner or someone like me, you could participate. My practice has changed a lot since my surgery but it didn’t matter that I wasn’t as good as I used to be. Nobody cared only me. I’m sure someone cared about my pink undies being on show for half the class though! My high waist fleece lined yoga pants kept trying to be low rise – apologies to the people behind me. Now I know why you should always wear good underwear 😀 The only thing you needed to be was open minded. Rachel speaks a lot about the power of the universe and how it has destined you to be here at this very moment. Initially when people hear things like that they think you’re crazy. But it’s about how you interpret it. She is trying to get you to be present, to know that you are here and that you are doing exactly what you are meant to be doing. It’s not often a stranger tries to instil confidence and self-belief in you.
The class takes a very intimate direction from the onset. Initially, Rachel asks you to journal and ponder for a few moments on the thought “If I wasn’t fearful I would…”. You start on the superficial things like; If I wasn’t fearful I would travel more. Then you delve into things on a deeper level like; If I wasn’t fearful I would trust my own instincts. You get the chance to sit and write and to be super honest with yourself.
Then she asks you to turn to someone near you, cross your legs with your knees touching and make eye contact. It’s not often you sit touching a stranger, staring into their eyes. And yes it’s VERY awkward at first, even though I had spent an hour previously chatting to this girl – I didn’t know her! You both end up looking away and then awkwardly come back to looking at each other, but it doesn’t last long before you look away again. It’s not because there is anything wrong with the person you are sat with, it’s because you, yourself, are uncomfortable.
Then we were asked to share what we had written with the other person for three whole minutes. They had to sit there and, without responding, just listen. I went first, I cried – typical! But it’s not typical for me to cry to a complete stranger, but then again this was different, this vulnerability was welcomed and felt safe. Then it was my turn to listen. I completely related to everything I was told. A very real reminder that we are all the same, there’s nothing different, or wrong with you, because you fear something. It wasn’t until this moment that I understood what Rachel meant in all those Instagram posts where she preached about trusting the process. I was once, not so long ago, afraid of exactly the same things as this girl. If I had known then that it would work itself out and that it was okay to be so fearful of going against expectation I would have saved myself so much heartache. But now I know to trust the process! We hugged it out after, it just felt like the right thing to do after sharing such personal information. Then Rachel asked us to sit, again with knees touching, and looking into each other’s eyes. This time it came naturally and wasn’t awkward. That kind of connection can be achieved with everyone. Leaves open the idea that we could be so connected with people if we just took the time to share and listen to each other. Although I don’t know many people who would be open minded enough to engage in such a ritual. The barriers were broken down. There was no expectation. There was just people being themselves. Although I talked way too much. But that’s me. That’s what I do when I’m nervous/over excited.
The class finished on the strangest note possible. We spent it dancing to random disco/rave music with balloons – as you do! I must have been high of the extra vegan juice I scored (apple, pineapple and spinach juice is life!). The video doesn’t do it any justice, especially not for the lady with the green flares and mad long hair 😀
The great thing about being at a Yoga Girl event is you share a lot in common with the other people there, so it’s easy to talk to people at it. I must say they girls who were either side of me for the class were so beautiful and definitely made the event for me. Being from Norway and Estonia, they put me to shame with their immaculate English. They were so sound, there is no one else I would rather share my fangirl moment with. It was meant to be – the universe brought us together 😀 Thanks to them I actually got to meet Yoga Girl (hugs and chats – the real deal!), her husband Dennis and most importantly Ringo, their dog. If you aren’t a big fan this will be completely wasted on you.. oh well! And for those who do want to know… Rachel is exactly how you expect her to be, but she is a lot more beautiful in real life. Denis is also way hotter. The weirdest part is how it felt like I knew them, like they were friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. Typical out of me, I asked for a job – Aruba next maybe?
One powerful experience I am so grateful for!