Pretty Book with Substance
By Rachel Brathen
Touchstone (March 24, 2015), 176 pages
Ok, I won’t lie. I cringed when I first picked up this book. My initial reaction: “Oh, c’mon, there’s so much more to yoga. It’s not all about crazy poses!” I assumed Yoga Girl was a pretty picture book with no substance.
Well, it is a dazzling compilation. The author, yoga teacher Rachel Brathen, is known as @yoga_girl to her million plus Instagram followers. She is also a big name in the increasingly popular SUP (Standup Paddleboard) Yoga style. Since Rachel is based in Aruba, you can imagine then, the photo settings are clear blue waters, sunshine, and sparkling smiles. Or as described on the book blurb, “…an armchair vacation to a Caribbean spa.”
But, this book is more than a photo album, it’s an interactive autobiography. You will read about Rachel’s back story from Sweden to Aruba, her journey into yoga, and her insights on life which will quite possibly lead you to reflect on your own. And, there is no vanity here, Rachel’s voice rings both humble and true.
Reasons to put Yoga Girl on your bookshelf:
- Meditation: Interesting tidbit – Rachel was meditating before getting into a regular yoga practice. During her wild teen years, she stayed at a treatment center where meditation was practiced daily.
- Layout: reads like a journal with all components of a well-rounded yoga-life mixing together
- Recipes: like Dirty Hot Chocolate and Heavenly Hummus
- Loving Insights: Rachel lists bullet points for deeper reflection and quick reference at the end of most chapters.
- Yoga Poses: photos, descriptions, alignment cues
- Mindfulness: Rachel discusses her diet and her yoga practice and how they have evolved to suit what her body needs – be it a non-vegan diet or a more restorative yoga sequence. I appreciate that she doesn’t like to categorize herself as vegan, finding the term limiting and perhaps arbitrary.
- Favorite quote: “You don’t need to change anything about who you are to start a yoga practice.” I need to glue that to my forehead for when my family, friends, or coworkers say, “I can’t do yoga because [insert excuse here].” So be yourself – not more not less — a great mantra.
Yoga Girl has made me look at the labels surrounding yoga, diet and lifestyle in a new way. Are they necessary? Are they more damaging than helpful? This new perspective has left me feeling somewhat lighter. Also, Rachel speaks about forgiveness and using that to let go of your past. Another common message, but her wording is refreshing.
Yoga Girl has something to offer any yogi. However, if you are an experienced yogi, read this book for the inspiring back story, recipes and pictures — the yoga pose sections just graze the surface and are geared more for a beginner.
YogaShelf Rating 4/5.
Yoga Girl is available on Amazon, Scribd, Indigo, etc.