I am certain my Yoga Girl® Instagram account is followed by millions of people because of one thing: I don’t share bullshit. I didn’t plan to grow it into a global business; it happened because I chose authenticity.
Authenticity is what matters because it allows us to truly and deeply connect, even through little boxes on a screen. Authenticity can also allow for misunderstanding. The most common misunderstanding my account gets: it’s a yoga account, not an account about MY LIFE.
Although my Instagram account is the largest yoga-related account in the world, it's not the yellow pages or some strict public platform for all things yoga. It's my life! It's personal!
It includes (but is not limited to) yoga, dogs, babies, travel, beaches, politics, animal rescue, tequila, fashion, baby goats, death, green juice, entrepreneurship, chocolate, sunsets, wine, mountain biking, rants, selfies, sarcasm, butts, surfing, cursing, philanthropy, handstands, drunken nights, tattoos, tears, bonfires, nakedness, raw happiness, inappropriate laughter, overwhelming pain, paralyzing fear, never-ending hope, deep trust and above all, love.
I AM A HUMAN BEING AND THIS IS MY LIFE.
I teach yoga and I rescue animals. I like oatmeal for breakfast and I think Donald Trump is an idiot. I say fuck in almost every sentence and I love to write. My best friend died in a car crash and I'm married to the most beautiful man. I drink a lot of wine and I don't like to travel anymore. My mom is suicidal sometimes and I am the mom to the biggest ray of light. I like being upside down and I probably have a sugar addiction. I have four sisters and two brothers, and one is still a baby. When I'm sad I binge-watch Friends and eat chocolate-covered raisins. I like sleeping in but I hate napping. I haven't lived in my home country for a decade and I run four companies. I am scared of being left out and I'm loud and quiet at the same time. Sometimes I have no idea what the hell I'm doing, but most of the time I'm happy because life gives me so many blessings that I forget how to count them.
This is who I am. Everything I share with the world reflects it. It’s authentically me, because authenticity is what stirs my soul and makes me grow. And maybe it stirs your soul, too.
If what I share tells you anything, it’s that authenticity is something that changes.
I try really, really hard to be authentic to who I am every day. Does that mean every morning I wake up feeling serene and peaceful, the expectation of the perfect yoga girl embodied? HELL NO.
Who I am is a reflection of what I’m experiencing and what I need the most during that experience.
For me, being a yoga girl is about staying true to what’s moving inside of me right now — it’s always going to change. I have days when I feel like crap! Those days aren’t the end of the world, they simply mean I have to adjust. Those are the days when my body tells me to move slowly; when I need to be alone; when I can’t deal with all the outside noise. So I make the changes I need, whenever possible, to reflect that — to fill that need.
And then I have days when I feel so high; when I thrive on feeling the energy of other people; when I want to move and work and get absolutely everything done. On those days I take a ton of meetings, answer all my emails in one go, brainstorm for new creative projects, clean the house, and let my body move the way it wants to.
The thing is: You will have hard days. You will have easy days. Your entire life will consist of a flowing between high and low.
Being a yoga girl means letting yourself go through the motions and respecting yourself enough to know that you don’t fit in any single box. It means honoring your body and your heart. And above all, it means never, ever, ever betraying yourself.
If you find yourself stuck in a conversation that drains you, end it. If the people around you steal your precious energy, get up and leave. If you need to be alone, shut the door. If you need someone to lean on, ask for help.
Lead with your heart every day by listening when it speaks — it will tell you what you need. The beautiful thing about staying true to your heart and listening to your needs is that the whole universe will align with you and suddenly everything will just...flow.
I am Rachel, and I am a yoga girl. And I am not either of those names because I practice yoga every day, but because I listen to my heart and its infinite wisdom, and I act accordingly.
What’s your heart, your own infinite source of wisdom, telling you what you need today?
You might read all the self-help books (my bookshelf is full of them) and follow all the people that motivate you with their sage advice, but this is the truth:
There is nothing of depth that I, or anyone else, could ever teach you.
Do you resonate with the things I write here? Good! But it’s not because I’m telling you something new, or because I am in any way wiser than you are. It’s because you are being reminded of something that you already know.
Those books, and those people, are the messengers of reminders.
This is why it’s so important to live authentically — you aren’t here to be a carbon copy of anyone else, you’re here to inspire with your own story! And this I promise: you are wise beyond what your mind could possibly ever grasp. Trust in your own ability to know what’s true. Let yourself be your biggest inspiration. Be your own guru!
Living authentically looks easy on paper, and it probably should be, but sometimes it feels anything but.
Sometimes I regret sharing my deepest thoughts and emotions through social media. Some days I wish I'd never shared the pain of losing my best friend, or the sadness of watching my grandmother slip away, or the agony of having my dog die in your arms, or the panic of saving my mothers life after she's swallowed all the pills she could find and wrote me goodbye and she's sorry. There are definitely days when I wished I’d taken a different path, one that was nothing more than picture-perfect handstands on a beach nobody gives a damn about.
I know I'm crazy, sharing something human on such a superficial platform. I’m absolutely nuts, sharing my beating heart with a world that only cares about Kardashians and thigh gaps and discounted weight loss teas. Everyone tries so hard to show just how perfect their lives are on Instagram, and here I am telling 3 million people how I am not. I must be mad.
But then I remember... There are hearts out there that beat together with mine. There are people that long for the relief of knowing that, yes, other people feel pain, too. Someone went through hell and back — it's not just me.
Nobody is perfect. Instagram doesn't have to be a highlight reel of all the things we fear we are not. It can be more than perfect angles, perfect bodies, perfect food and perfect lives. It can be real. Human. Raw. It can be true to what today has brought us.
Maybe, in some way... Social media can show us that we are not alone and we are going to be okay.
So, let’s be inspired by others, but not as a [xx] to inspiring ourselves.
Let’s seek the wisdom of others, but not as a stand in for seeking our own.
Let us live our own lives and share what has cause our cracked, beautiful hearts to grow…so we can remember that we are never alone in the journey.
Seek it within, then share what matters. What wise advice would you give yourself right now? Share with us in the comments below.
P.S. If you’re looking for the official Instagram of this Yoga Girl website, follow @yogagirlofficial.