“The only thing that matters is how much you love,” states the world-renowned yoga instructor Rachel Brathen in her book Yoga Girl. This is a far cry from her beginnings as a self-destructive teenager. I started reading this book with skepticism – another pretty girl doing yoga – but finished it grateful for her insights and honesty.
I admit that I began reading this book rather negatively. Having leafed through it quickly, I saw pictures of Rachel Brathen at gorgeous beach locations performing yoga poses and always smiling. I had formulated in my mind that this was a contrived marketing effort.
Then I began reading. Her story about a troubled upbringing was not new. Having found that yoga helped her was not new either. I was feeling somewhat jealous at her livelihood at an Caribbean island. An idyllic life if ever there was a notion of it. Certainly a dream life for most of us who deal with the daily grind of working for a living.
However, her story grew closer to home as she recounts her road to “success”. The demands of travel and engagements brought her strains. She had trouble balancing health and relationships. Her old health issues returned and her marital relationship was on a rough patch.
Yoga always yields insights about your life journey. The looking-inside provides the guiding light you need. Rachel took some bold decisions based on her value and beliefs gained from yoga. She re-found herself, her balance and her life.
It is at this point, that my perspective on Rachel Brathen changed. The description of her struggle is honest and is what many of us face everyday. She found the courage to change it. And with that journey, she found what life is really about. That is the story of Yoga Girl.
“In the end, it doesn’t matter what your body looks like, how successful your career is, how big your house is, how advanced your yoga practice is, or what your bank statement says. Let me repeat this: The only thing that matters is how much you love. Your purpose on earth is to love.”
One piece of wisdom that I have discovered over the last few months dealing with multiple tumors is “No matter where you are in life, you will always be okay.” As Rachel states, life is a bumpy road that we are all on. Embracing life with all its ups and downs, embracing yoga as a way to live mindfully helps us appreciate the journey.
I’ve never been to the Caribbean. I am still jealous of Rachel Brathen living there. However, I am grateful for the message of Yoga Girl.