Working out, it's a thing. I always find myself in the middle a discussion between my girlfriends about what new class they took, with some weird mash up name and new techniques, yogaloties, spinersize, balioga blah blah blah. In my busy schedule, and my lack to wake up earlier then I have to I don't really have time to test new things out so I am quite the creature of habit when it comes to my workout routine. I want to know what I am getting myself into and that it’s going to be effective. As a runner it is easy to stay semi fit, but it is always great to mix it up so I love doing yoga. About a year ago I found a 7:45 pm yoga class here in Venice. I love that because I had time to get home from work, have a bite and head to class. When I got there it was packed with about 3” between mats, the lights were out and a remix of James Blake was playing. The flow was constant, but the music was so good it made me want to keep going. I had control of my all over thoughts, my body, and with music, my soul.I automatically told all my girlfriends and now we have a club, a yoga club, I too can now be involved in on the work out class talk. Every week we go, and all leave feeling mentally and physically satisfied. Because of the consistency of people, music, and work out I automatically took interest in our instructor Rachelle Tratt. She has a way of running a class with confidence, provided a seamless flow, great music and inspiring meditation. I had the honor of asking her a little bit more of what makes her the instructor that she is, tips to help your practice, along with some of her personal projects outside of yoga she is working on.
How cute does she look in the CHARLIE romper? Get one here
Lets start with a little background. How did you come across the practice of yoga?
-I grew up a Tom Girl, and have always loved various forms of movement, fitness and playing sports. About 10 years ago, I discovered yoga, by complete fate. I was experiencing stomach problems at the time due to stress. and a friend suggested that I try yoga, and I was pretty resistant to that idea, because at the time, my image of yoga was that of someone meditating on a mountain. But then I took my first class, and everything changed. I remember this class like it was yesterday, I hated every single moment of it. I judged myself. I judged the teacher. I felt awkward. And then that magic moment happened in the final relaxation, where I finally felt peace in my body, in my mind, and in my heart...and just like that, I was hooked.
What inspired you to start teaching others yoga?
I have always been a people person and all of my work in the world has stemmed from my interactions and connections with people. I studied psychology in college, and was planning to continue on to graduate school, and then I found yoga. Against my family's initial desire, I decided to pursue a yoga career and thus changed the course of my education and life to follow my inspiration to work with people through movement on a more somatic psychological level. And today, what still inspires me about teaching yoga, well, just keeps growing and growing, every damn day. I love providing a safe, supportive, sometimes playful or challenging space for people to move through whatever it is that they are needing to move through in their life. I only get people for an hour and fifteen minutes, so my goal is to have them feeling better about their bodies and lives both during the practice and when they step off of the mat. I look at teaching yoga as an platform to inspire, and to give people the opportunity to both work out and work in, all at once.
Sometimes in our busy city lives it is really hard to stay focused even in something like a yoga class, what are some tips to stay focused on yourself during your practice?
Great question, and please know that I am guilty of this, every single time that I step onto my mat. It is 100% completely normal that our minds will wander during class. Our minds will take us on a journey that has nothing to do with the current moment- maybe you will think about what you are going to eat next, or about your laundry list of things to accomplish, or what you are going to wear on that next date...you know what I mean!
So knowing that this is completely normal for EVERYONE, my suggestion is to have a sense of humor about it all, to be a witness to your thoughts, to let them come and go just like waves in the ocean, to not judge or attach to any single one of them, and then the key is -- to come back to your breath and to your body. It is the simple tools that will help to bring you back to the present moment. Breath and body. Breath and body. And then suddenly, oh hi present moment, there I am again.
I personally love your class not only because the constant flow, and meditation, but because you have a great way of integrating music into your class. And its not your average spa music, but songs that get me moving and wishing I had my shazam by me. How do you build your playlist?
First off, thank you! Thank you for resonating with the music that I play. To be honest, I selfishly play music that I want to practice and teach to. Spending time curating my playlists is a way to set sacred space for myself, my students, and for the practice. I search for a beat, a rhythm that moves me, and wakes something up inside me, and then I know, if it does that for me, chances are it will translate like that for the rest of the class.
Also, one of my personal goals is to learn how to DJ, so in the meantime, this is my way of creatively tapping into that kind of energy.
What are the positives of having your music playing rather then the traditional yogi classics?
My first 500 hr teacher training, one of the senior teachers told us to not play music. She said music if just another distraction for us humans who are pretty much addicted to distractions. While I honer her belief and point of view, I look at it very differently, I use music in class as a means of transformation, a way to follow a beat and rhythm and then to uniquely create your own. However, I do try to use music with little to zero lyrics, as I do believe that music with heavy lyrics can be a distraction. Regarding traditional yogi music vs the kind that I play, well, I am not your traditional kinda' yogi so.... :)
Sometimes its hard to get yourself to a class, it takes a lot of control, what are some tips to help get everyone in the right state of mind to showing up?
I totally understand. Getting to class is half the battle! I believe it is important to set goals for yourself, and if yoga is one of time, then great! First, become clear on why. What is your intention for going to class? Is it to sweat? To move your body? To get clarity? To be in community? To be inspired? Whatever it may be, then let that intention become so strong that it holds you accountable for making it class. Also knowing that life happens, and sometimes you can't always make it to a class, so please make sure not to be hard on yourself. Tomorrow is a new day!
And it is also helpful to have a buddy system, plan a date with a friend, who will also help to hold you accountable to your practice.
And lastly, in all of the 8+ years that I have been practicing, I never once said, "wow I wish i didn't go to that yoga class." Ya feel me? I hope so!
A couple of my friends have asked me what kind of eating and drinking habits they should have before, during and after yoga classes. Do you have any suggestions?
First off, always listen to YOUR body. You are different than your friends and me! Yoga is about creating a very deep and personal relationship with your body and yourself. So start noticing what you are craving before or after class. Personally, I like to practice on a belly that isn't super full. I prefer to wake up and enjoy some hot water with lemon and raw honey, and then I usually have my coffee and brekkie after my practice. Also, I suggest bringing water to class, but not filling your belly with so much water during the physical practice, as sometimes I find students using that as another method of distraction. If you are practicing later on in the day, make sure that you eat, but maybe not right before you hit the mat.
I know you travel to host a lot of yoga retreats, can you share what the day in the life of one of the retreats is like?
My deepest passion is sharing travel with people in a meaningful and spirited way. I whole heartedly believe that traveling and experiencing as much of the world as we can, is what helps to give us perspective on life. Just like in yoga, traveling helps us to see the world from a different angle and reminds of who and what truly matters in life. Retreats are great because they are designed for YOU. All of the planning is taking care of. All you have to do is say YES, and get yourself there, show up, and then let the magic unfold.
When hosting a yoga retreat, my intention is always to hold space for people's transformation, and to help give them an adventure far beyond their wildest dreams.
A typical day on a yoga retreat with me looks something like :
Morning meditation, group yoga practice (followed by sponsored pressies) delicious nourishing breakfast, then some free time to decide what YOU want to do (depending on the country and retreat center - swim, jump in the ocean, read on a hammock, go for a walk...) then a group excursion and adventure together, then an afternoon workshop/another from of movement and practice, followed by dinner / and some nights after dinner there may be a cultural experience as well.
I have hosted yoga retreats in Israel, Play Del Carmen, Bali, and Tulum.
Retreats for 2016 and 2017 both locally and Internationally are being planned and designed right now, so stay tuned!
Lots of exciting things in store!
Can you share with us what the Nashama project is?
Neshama (means) "Soul" in Hebrew.
My parents met and fell in love in Israel and thus began my love story with a country.
The "N" in in honor of my mom, Nicole, who passed away when I was a little girl.
Years ago, someone gifted me an opal hamsa necklace, from Israel, and little did I know that this would that defining moment and the start of something that would completely transform my life.
With an idea, a desire to give back and inspire, and to share a product, a country, and my personal story of perseverance with the world, The Neshama Project was born.
The Neshama Project is a socially conscious jewelry and lifestyle brand.
Stones from Israel.
Made with Love in California.
Follow the Project: @theneshamaproject
Follow Rachelle's Spotify: RachelleTratt