Yoga Love

Yoga Instructor Interview: Rachel Brodeur

Chasing Nirvana Yoga is spreading mindfulness from coast to coast as we bring more corporate yoga classes and events to Los Angeles. We’re thrilled to welcome Rachel Brodeur to the team, who taught her first CNY class at 515 South Flower Street in June.

Rachel, a Massachusetts native who moved to the west coast two years ago, has been practicing yoga since college. Learn more about Rachel and check our her amazing Instagram!

Q: What interests you about teaching corporate yoga? What’s different about it?

A: You’re often working with people who don’t really do too much yoga, so it’s a different mindset. The students’ skill level and yoga knowledge are the biggest differences. They may have less body awareness because they don’t connect mind to body regularly, even if they do other forms of fitness. Teaching corporate yoga requires finding the balance between different skill levels.

Q: How did you get involved in yoga?

A: I found yoga at my most unhealthy point. I was in college and dealing with mental health issues and I developed bad habits. I was being extreme in college. I was eating and drinking too much, and I wasn’t sleeping enough. But I didn’t feel good being in the gym. I just didn’t resonate with gym culture. I wanted something that was a workout that resonated with my mental side and spiritual side.

Over one winter break, I started doing Ashtanga Yoga video and then tried a class back at school. The class was super hard because I was a beginner. Yoga is an entire body workout, and I didn’t have the strength in so many places. At the end, the guided meditation was awesome. I grew up Catholic so I knew praying, but meditation was never taught to me. I felt better after that class and decided it was something I can do.

Q: What do you like about being a yoga instructor?

A: My creative and artistic side is more powerful than my logical side, and I like to pass that down. I take what I feel about yoga and bring it to my students. I recommend you bounce back and forth between beginner and intermediate classes to get really comfortable with all the poses when you start.

Rachel Brodeur

Q: Did anything surprise you during your first Chasing Nirvana Yoga class?

A: Every time I teach, I’m always surprised at how amazing my students are. Attentive, focused, and willing to try something new -- that to me is surprising because there are so many people that hear “yoga” and think, “Well that would be easy for him or her. Definitely not me though!” To be an adult and get outside of your comfort zone, trust a new teacher and enjoy your time on the mat is always an awesome surprise.

Q: What was your favorite moment of the class?

A: The best moment, for me, was the end when I was chatting with the students. Hearing the joy in their voices, especially the ones who had NEVER tried yoga before, is what it’s all about for me! Second best moment is the excitement I feel when I start a class. I love how every group is different, and keeps me on my toes! When we’re all flowing, breathing, and elevating ourselves, there’s nothing better.

Check the Chasing Nirvana Yoga West Coast schedule for upcoming events with Rachel Brodeaur!

How to Take Your Yoga Mindset Off the Mat and Into the Real World

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If you practice yoga regularly, you know the feeling well of rolling your mat up and leaving class with a new glow. However, it can be hard to retain that feeling once you return to the “real world” of jobs, chores, errands, and obligations. Some days, that glow all but fades away until the next yoga class when you roll your mat back out, sit cross-legged, and look up at your teacher expectantly, the promise of serenity and achievement on the horizon.

That yoga feeling doesn’t have to stay trapped in the studio, though. There are plenty of ways you can take your yoga mindset off the mat and into the rest of your life. All you have to do is recognize where you’re already honoring yoga commandments and build them out to better the wellbeing of yourself and those around you.

Working Toward Hitting That Next Pose

In yoga class, there’s nothing better than finally nailing that pose you’ve been working toward for weeks. If you think about it, when you’re doing this, you’re developing your growth mindset just by stretching yourself a little further with each practice. You can bring this mentality off the mat and into the rest of your life by always taking at least one small step toward your goals every day. Be consistent with your practice on and off the mat and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you overcome your next hurdle.

 

Taking Risks

You’re not going to sit there and watch the rest of your yoga peers attempt a tricky headstand without seeing what you’re made of too, right? No matter how goofy you end up feeling? As we know, yoga is all about taking risks and trying new things, and you should uphold that mindset outside of the studio, too. Volunteer to take on that big presentation in the office. Make a new friend and invite them to dinner. Try that unfamiliar item on the menu. Don’t be afraid to take some risks – you never know what you’re missing out on!

 

Transforming Your Attitude

Not all days are sunshine and rainbows, and not all yoga classes are, either. Eventually, you’ll take a class that tries your athleticism and mental strength, and it’ll take everything in you to keep pushing through. If you’ve ever been in that situation, you know you can only change your attitude toward the situation at hand, reform your discomfort into a positive outlook, and push on. You know savasana is always in sight! In life when you find yourself feeling negative, transform your attitude into one of positivity and confidence. And if you fail, keep on pushing until you don’t. Negative thoughts can’t lead to a positive life!

 

Generating Loving-Kindness

Loving-kindness flows strong during your yoga practice, so why can’t it continue when you’re off the mat? Be sure to always love yourself and those around you. Practice self-care in mental and physical health, help others through their problems, and send out loving vibes to the rest of the universe. Yoga studios are a great place to begin generating kindness. If you need a starting point, take an early morning class and try to carry those vibes with you for the rest of the day. There is no such thing as too much love!

 

What yoga-oriented mindsets resonate most with you? How do you keep your practice going once you leave the mat? 

Chasing Nirvana Yoga offers on-site yoga and wellness classes to employers and employees, tenant-residing buildings, community events, and more. To set up your free consultation, please visit www.chasingnirvanayoga.com.

4 Books for Yogis to Read Today

There’s nothing like reading a good book! Plus, studies show its good for you. Adults who read for 30 minutes a week report feeling 20% more satisfied with their lives, according to Quick Reads.

Here at Chasing Nirvana Yoga, we always preach about the importance of self-care, and taking a half hour to read a couple days a week certainly counts! Reading is a form of mindfulness. Being with a book for a bit of time resets the mind and serves as a stress reliever.

If you’re a yogi, wellness practitioner, or individual looking to expand your reading list, be sure to check out the following four books.

 

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1. Wanderlust: A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self by Jeff Krasno

Like the wildly popular festivals that have taken the yoga world by storm, Wanderlust is a road map for the millions of people engaged in cultivating their best selves. For the 20 million people who grab their yoga mats in the United States every week, this book gives a completely unique way to understand "yoga"—not just as something to do in practice, but as a broader principle for living. Wanderlust helps readers navigate their personal path and find their own true north, curating principles that embody the brand and lifestyle—authentic yoga practices, provocative thinking, music, art, good food, eco-friendly activities, and more. Each chapter includes expert yoga instruction by renowned teachers; inspiring music playlists to motivate readers to practice; thought-provoking art; awesome recipes for delicious, healthy foods to sustain a yoga regimen; and fun, unexpected detours. This wide array of ideas and beautiful visuals is designed to be hyper-stimulating—whether a reader follows the arc of the book from beginning to end or dips into chapters at random, she is sure to find something pleasing to the eye, to feel motivated to practice, and to want to reach for her deepest desires and dreams. This book brings the Wanderlust festival experience into any reader's home.

 

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2. Quantum Healing by Deepak Chopra

More than twenty-five years ago, Quantum Healing helped transform Deepak Chopra into a cultural phenomenon. Now Dr. Chopra, hailed by Time as “the poet-prophet of alternative medicine,” returns to this groundbreaking exploration of consciousness and the power of mindfulness, adding the latest scientific research as well as expanded thoughts on the connection between body and mind. Inspired by the unexplained recovery of patients in his own practice who had been given just a few months to live, Dr. Chopra began his search for answers. After returning to his native India to explore humanity’s most ancient healing tradition, Ayurveda, he combined those insights with Western medicine, neuroscience, and physics. What he discovered—a “network of intelligence” in the human body with the potential to defeat cancer, heart disease, even aging itself—forms the basis of Quantum Healing. In this new edition, Dr. Chopra once again offers a fascinating intellectual journey and a deeply moving chronicle of hope and healing.

 

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3. Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace by Sharon Salzberg

Real Happiness at Work brings the profound benefits of meditation to an area where people could use it most―the workplace. And it’s written by one of the world’s leading meditation teachers. A follow-up to Real Happiness, the New York Times bestseller, Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness at Work is a practical guide to improving work life through mindfulness, compassion, and ingenuity. It’s about being committed without being consumed, competitive without being cruel, managing time and emotions to counterbalance stress and frustration. It shows readers how to be more creative, organized, and accomplished in order to do better, more productive work. Dividing the idea of workplace satisfaction into eight pillars, Real Happiness at Work is filled with secular wisdom; core meditations on broad themes like motivation, awareness, and seeing the good in others; and more than a dozen exercises, including Moving From Me to We and When Things Go Wrong. Sprinkled throughout the book are short “stealth” meditations, the kind that are quick, private, and doable anywhere―“Let the phone ring three times, follow your breath, then pick it up” and “For an upcoming one-on-one conversation, resolve to listen more and speak less.” Even the best jobs are filled with stress, tough deadlines, impatient bosses, seemingly endless meetings―all the ills of harried life. But as science increasingly shows, meditation is the antidote.

 

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4. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris

After having a nationally televised panic attack, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had propelled him through the ranks of a hypercompetitive business, but had also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out. Finally, Harris stumbled upon an effective way to rein in that voice, something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation, a tool that research suggests can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain. 10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.

 

What yogi-friendly books do you recommend? Sound off in the comments!

Chasing Nirvana Yoga offers on-site yoga and wellness classes for employers, tenant-residing buildings, community spaces, events, and more. To schedule your free consultation, visit www.chasingnirvanayoga.com.