Aruba is a small island, home to blossoming flowers. Carnations, lillies, and roses abound—and show their grace when least expected—as if to say “here I am, all of earth’s beauty within me.” A most fascinating and enchanting flower sprouted from the island is Rachel Brathen. The yoga girl. Or, the woman who captivates.
Rachel Brathen is known as an Instagram sensation, yoga teacher, founder of 109 World, Social Mission Trips and Yoga, creator of OneOEight World, an interactive online yoga platform, and most importantly, incredibly inspiring human being. The Swedish-native and New York Times Best Seller, via her book Yoga Girl, continues to influence almost two million people on her social media platforms and elsewhere. Her fame began to flourish a few years ago, and her voice has continued to grow ardently ever since.
Her mission to inspire and serve has been in cultivation since childhood: “When I was little I really wanted to be part of Doctors Without Borders. I’ve always had that longing of wanting to be of service,” she explains. “Teaching yoga is one way to be of service, but it wasn’t until my best friend passed away a year ago that I started questioning the purpose of everything. It wasn’t until then that I began taking these steps in my life towards making the world a better place.” In the long process of dealing with her best friend’s passing, which she continues to endure, she realized “that life is really short and [she] didn’t want to waste it selling yoga pants on Instagram,” confessing that she struggled with the idea of fame for many years. “It just became really clear to me throughout that difficult time that I had the ability to do something big, to actually change the world. Not everybody gets that, not everybody has millions of people that are influenced by what they say, and you use that to do good things,” she says.
Rachel has surely developed her expertise in learning how to deal with life’s currents. Her journey from her hometown Sweden to the jungles of Costa Rica, and establishing Aruba as home-base, has taught her that life’s varying circumstances are all transient. “I think whenever we have battles or challenges, the idea of permanence is what makes us freak out the most,” she explains. “The mind tends to forget that it’s actually not the end of the world and it’ll pass. When we’re going through a really tough time sometimes we have a hard time seeing how we’ll ever get out of that. It’s important to learn to be really patient and remember that this too will pass.”
Rachel deeply cherishes working for herself and having her dream job, but managing several businesses, partnerships and engaging in multiple projects has also become one of her biggest tests. She explains, “My challenge is always not taking on too much. Learning how to say no. Slowing down because I want to do everything at the same time. Now that I’m getting a little older it’s becoming increasingly important to me to be more rooted, to be home more, to not live this hectic lifestyle, so I’m making more changes to accommodate that.”
Although deeply rooted in her home, Rachel continues to expand her brand and projects. She founded 109 World with the mission to form an online community of people who are eager about changing the world via seven passions for which they raise awareness and financial support. She confesses that “working with 109 has really motivated other people to make a difference in the world,” and this motivation is instilled within the people who are already invested in doing the work, she simply enjoys serving. “I very rarely have the intention of motivating others,” says Rachel, “I don’t wake up in the morning thinking how can I accommodate other people. I would rather be an inspiration through my actions than to try to think of the most amazing yoga post to share or a green juice recipe to post. I think it’s more inspiring to learn by leading or by being an example.”
A true leader, Rachel Brathen is living proof that having it all together means living day-by-day, knowing that challenges will come and go. For some of us who are not as clear about the direction in which we are headed, she advises “I think that when the timing is right, life will show you where you need to go. I think when in doubt, travel. If you don’t know what you want to do with the big picture then get a different perspective. Explore. Try to experience something that you wouldn’t normally try, and try to do it on your own,” says Rachel.
Onward we go!
Currently reading: Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
Current mantra: Trust.
Currently watching: Friends, that’s my go-to show. Never gets old.
Favorite book: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolee
Favorite quote: I don’t know who originally said this but, “Trust that life will always take you where you need to be.”
Favorite movie: Darjeeling Limited by Wes Anderson
Guilty pleasure: I don’t believe in guilt, just pleasure. I would say a glass of wine at the end of the day
By Suanny Garcia
Dress: Gypsy Soul Designs
Dress: Santa Marguerite
Kimono: Ketzali Accessories
Pom Pom Tassels: Lumily Co.
Rings: Inverness and Crane
Top: Gypsy+The Officer
Skirt Textile: Woman Shops World
Throw/Blanket: Earthbound Trading Co.