24 Hours with Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen
When your life involves creating the Netflix of yoga and walking your pet goat.
As the adage goes, finding a job you love means you never have to work a day in your life. Or something like that. But it wasn’t until we met up with Instagram-yogi-turned-wellness-guru Rachel Brathen (also known as Yoga Girl) in the midst of her New York City media tour that we knew that to be true. Because Brathen—who already has a successful book, dog rescue foundation, and new yoga studio on her CV, and is now six months pregnant and has just launched her latest venture, oneOeight (think of it like the Netflix of yoga and meditation)—shows no signs of slowing down. Or anything besides the fact that she genuinely loves what she does. So we had her break down, hour by hour, just what goes into a day of her life so we could mirror it in ours. Consider it a master class in balance.
3:00 AM - 5:00 AM:
Because I’m currently pregnant, everything is kind of thrown off. Normally I have a pretty structured morning. Now I’m usually awake between 3:00 to 5:00 AM because that’s something my body thinks is cool [laughs].
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM:
Typically, I wake up around this time. I wash my face with the Purity Made Simple Facial Cleanser from Philosophy, followed by a mist of rosewater (you can buy it at any health-food store or at Whole Foods). I moisturize with the Philosophy Take a Deep Breath Gel Cream—it’s perfect for the hot weather here in Aruba. Plus, 1 percent of all of their sales go to the Hope&Grace initiative, supporting women’s mental health organizations all over the U.S. For my body, I use a ton of coconut oil. It’s so simple and hydrating (but make sure to walk around your house naked for a while to let it sink in).
Every morning I have a big cup of hot water with lemon—that’s the first thing I ingest in the morning. Depending on how I’m feeling, I’ll do a practice. These days it can be very, very slow. I usually bring my hot lemon water to my mat, roll out my mat. These days I’m practicing a lot of meditation and really slow stretches because my body doesn’t want to dynamically sweat and move, so I’m trying to adapt.
I walk the dogs, wake up my husband, and then we make breakfast. We always make a huge deal of breakfast in the morning—lots of vegan whole-grain pancakes or avocado toast or fresh fruits. We live in the Caribbean, so we love the fruits here.
When I travel, I try to keep things as similar as possible to home, so when we check into a hotel I always ask if they can put a little fridge in our room, which most hotels always accommodate, and a kettle for hot water. I go to Whole Foods to get some fruit and healthy snacks so that I always have a little emergency stash of healthy food in the room. And I can make my hot lemon water in the morning every day, too.
But my practice is completely different with a limited space, so sometimes I’ll try to get a room that can accommodate a yoga mat.
I try to stay away from social media, from my phone, and from email specifically before ten o’clock because those are moments of stress for me. But this is when the official workday starts.
We’re in the process of opening a big yoga center [in Aruba]—we open in just one month. So we’re really in the midst [of] construction, and our days are very long. But a normal day is very email-, administration-, and social-media-focused, mixed in with some projects.
12:00 PM (ish):
Lunch is unfortunately my least prioritized meal of the day [laughs]. Usually I’m so busy that I forget [to be consistent with it] or just grab something. Everybody in the office makes an effort to make lunch or get lunch for the team, so I’ll usually eat that. I’m really into soup, warm things right now—vegetarian chilis, curries, or soups with fresh bread. I eat a lot of that for lunch. Sometimes a salad, but I’m more of a warm food type person right now.
For some reason, when we’re traveling, I always find better lunch options. I eat way healthier and more consistently when we’re on the go versus being at home for some reason. When we’re in New York, we get to look up really nice, healthy restaurants close to where we are because there’s something on every corner. We love trying new restaurants and new places.
We do a lot [of] photo shoots, and I do a lot of live classes on Facebook. We work on different initiatives depending on our different companies. Like, for example, today we launched a challenge online to help support our dog rescue salvation here.
At some point every day, when we’re at home, we are at the yoga studio making sure the construction is moving forward on time.
Our workday usually ends between five and six. I work with my husband, and we run everything together, so we’ve had to set down some pretty clear rules about when work ends and when regular life begins [laughs].
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM:
We have three dogs and two goats; we take the whole pack and walk them on the north shore of the island. That’s how we get rid of the workday stress and transition into home.
We barbecue often; the weather in Aruba allows that all year round. Or we cook something together. Normally we will drink a glass of wine, which I’m not doing right now, but we spend a lot of time in the kitchen and eating—the end-of-the-day meal is a big thing.
If I’m on tour or switching hotels a lot and we’re on the go, I always bring a little pouch of my sacred gems. I like to bring a little bit of incense, a scented candle, I’ll bring essential oils so I can take a bath. I create a little area that’s sacred, in a way, so that it doesn’t feel like we’re staying in a hotel, it’s a little bit like home. I find it really helps to ground me.
I eat something sweet almost every night. Like a little bit of chocolate, or there are these really nice Popsicles that I’m totally obsessed [with], but I need something sweet before my tea [laughs].
Shot on location at The Standard East Village.