Rachel Brathen is an instagram sweetheart known as @yoga_girl. I’ve personally been following her for as long as I’ve been on instagram (about a year?). I may have resisted this platform, which as a photographer, is a little contradictory, but at some point, I was too curious about the insta-eye-candy out there. And even though you find all types of trends (uh, there are altogether probably more food and cat pics than anything), I was instantly drawn to this super rad lady because she seemed so full of life, so genuine and her photos were always colourful and her messages inspiring.

Rachel Brathen @yoga_girl

Rachel Brathen is @yoga_girl

Book Review: Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen

When I noticed the buzz about her (then) upcoming book, Yoga Girl, I thought I needed to read her story. I was so excited when it came in that I read it in a few short days. I recently read over certain parts of her story again. Rachel is honest and so full of love. Her wisdom comes from experience overcoming challenges (some of epic proportions) but she is not preachy. It’s fortunate that she’s a beautiful person (inside and out) and that she has so many followers because her message of love, peace and bliss is much needed.

I like that her book is a combination of her story. yoga sequences, recipes, inspirational notes and breath-taking photographs. Her book feels like she’s offering a slice of harmony by showing us how she found peace and beauty in every situation. She’s also found her voice and I admire that.

I’ve tried her green smoothie and her guacamole recipes and they were huge hits with my family. Her words of wisdom resonated with me, which is why I keep going back to her book.

Rachel Brathen in a seated twist

Rachel in a seated twist

Rachel Brathen in Seated Meditation

She inspires me to trust that what I love will be of use to someone and it will bring meaning (to others and to me). Her perseverance through her emotional, spiritual and physical challenges shows me that I can do it too. I can heal my body from emotional pain and hormonal imbalance. I can heal my body from injuries. I can heal my heart from fear and disappointment. I can heal my spirit from illusion. It makes me want to go to my yoga mat as well and work out my issues there. I practice to know Truth as often as I can.

This woman does yoga every dang day! Whoa. It’s what I strive for.

Rachel in king pigeon

Rachel in king pigeon

I realize that yoga is for my body what writing is for my spirit. They’re both tools and approaches to the same state of peace and acceptance.

Yoga Girl Book Cover

Yoga Girl, by Rachel Brathen

I’ve also started trying her sequences. Because of Rachel, I’ve started my handstand challenge… Every day, I work towards doing a successful handstand. I also try to do a forearm inversion. Inversions scare me a little. I know that I’m not there yet and I know this isn’t a complete yoga practice. But the Universe knows how to speak to us so that we understand; the handstand is me facing something that terrifies me and that I once thought I could never do (because I didn’t “have the body” or “the upper body strength”). I *know* through this experience that I will succeed and I know that I am strong enough. I also know that I like to take big bites out of the elephant but that I’m committed to small bites. So the handstand, for me, is tackling a tougher part in small, consistent bites. I will eat that elephant. I will handstand. I am hand-standing even for a few seconds every day. Those seconds will transform into minutes as my body confirms my belief that I am strong.

I am so grateful to her for writing this book and I hope one day to take her class live!

Is there a book that inspired you into challenging yourself? Has social media introduced you to someone you find inspiring?