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Imagine practicing yoga with 600 people led by one of the most influential yogis in the world. Last weekend, the flourishing Los Angeles yoga community united to practice with Rachel Brathen (aka Yoga Girl). In fact, people travelled across California just to be at this event.
A celebrity in the international yoga community, this was an exclusive opportunity to be apart of The Happiness Tour for her New York Times Bestseller. Sure, the workshop was $65 a pop, but this was the last chance for a class with Rachel on her US tour, to get your copy of “Yoga Girl” signed and well, to meet her in the flesh.
Partaking in a large-scale yoga workshop is definitely one of those things that Ryan Larry and I can now check off our bucket lists! Saturday May 16th was a huge day for us. With our morning dedicated to our practice with Yoga Girl and the rest of our afternoon laden with Vegan Beer and Food Festival adventures. We have practiced in numerous Southern Californian studios, but believe it or not, this was our first yoga workshop in Los Angeles.
As the time for the workshop grew near, a line of eager yogis curbed around the block, equipped with yoga mats and a uniform of colorful yoga pants and attire. Within minutes of the doors opening, Shrine Expo Hall filled with color and buzzed with the energy of 600 yogis. From a birds’ eye view, the venue’s wooden floor carried a sea of yoga mats and yogis of all levels, ready for a Vinyasa flow.
The moment that Rachel entered the hall, the space was filled with applause. Preparatory inversions and postures ceased and the audience became silent as Rachel introduced herself, Dennis (her husband) and Ringo (their greyhound).
Encouraging the group to set intentions for their practice; Rachel drew an angel card. Angel cards (or oracle cards) are used in a spiritual healing and harmonizing method that connects people with their guardian angels for guidance. The card that Rachel drew bore the words “Change in Direction: The changes you’re experiencing are Divinely directed by your newborn willingness to open your heart to love and our guidance. You are protected now and in the future, so follow your path to the happy outcomes you desire”. It was the perfect message for her final class of The Happiness Tour.
Moving into the practice, Rachel’s class seemed very typical of that of a Southern Californian yoga studio. The practice was comprised of Vinyāsa flow sequences, sun salutations; beginning and ending in Shavasana. An incredibly self-reflexive instructor; Rachel described her style of teaching as more preachy, stemming from her love of talking.
Yoga Girl had a lot of positive messages to send her followers. She shared a “crazy” idea that she had: “what if in this moment your body was perfect? What if you didn’t have any pounds to lose? What if you didn’t have any pounds to gain?” She also challenged the way we often label feelings and experiences as either positive or negative.
Admittedly, the workshop was not necessarily what we expected. As avid yogis, we would have preferred a longer class. But that was our level of practice, for many, it was their first workshop. With such anticipation leading up to this workshop, perhaps it was our reflection on this experience that had the biggest impact on us.
Connection was a large focus of Rachel’s class, real human connection. During the class she encouraged us to hold our neighboring yogi’s hand during tree pose and to reach out to one another in a spinal twist. While in theory, this was a beautiful gesture it was also a source of discomfort. A lot of emotions surfaced during the workshop; there were a lot of tears and even more smiles.
During question time there was also a great deal of openness from the audience. Many yogis shared extremely personal experiences, seeking Rachel’s guidance. Rachel was even invited to a wedding! In many ways this was touching, but the questions were less yoga focused, with a greater emphasis on self-help that told stories of happiness and growth.
We are so grateful that we could be apart of The Happiness Tour, that we could finally meet Rachel and practice yoga with her and the LA yoga community. We wish Rachel all the best for returning to life in Aruba.
Just in case you aren’t already following Yoga Girl and her adventures checkout her awesome blog,Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
So much love and happiness to our readers!