I had so much fun catching up with super inspiring Rachel Brathen, affectionately known as “Yoga Girl” to over 2 million followers online. Here are a few takeaways from this interview.

Dashama: What is your best advice for people seeking happiness?

Rachel: You have to know what you want. Let yourself get rid of self-judgment and fear, sit down, get clear about what you want and the Universe wants to give it to you!

Dashama: What would you suggest for people to become happy? Any specific yoga or lifestyle practices / formula that helps you get clear and feel happier?

Rachel: Yoga is the foundation, because it is an accessible tool for many people to feel better. Yoga really does it for me. I love my time on the mat. But it doesn’t have to be yoga. It could be surfing, running, meditation, painting, dancing, or anything else. Find what makes you feel good. And do that as much as possible! And when you feel bad in some way, sit with it and let it burn so you can fully feel it. This will eventually help you let it go. This will help you live a lighter life.

Dashama:You said that connection is your primary motivation now. What does this mean for you and how did you get started with this desire to connect?

Rachel: I have a really big online community that is growing rapidly and the social media digital world is not real. I get a lot of emails 300-400 per day, and I know through the online world I can only help so much. So I’m developing more ways all the time to make real connections such as leading retreats, workshops, classes or even just hugging someone on the street.

Dashama: What’s next for you?

Rachel: After the Happiness Tour I’m excited to have a break and travel a bit less. So now we are looking for a studio space in Aruba. Last year we travelled over 40 weeks that was a bit too much, so now we are excited to create a place for people to come to us.

Dashama:  Was there a certain book that really opened things up for you?

Rachel: Yes, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. When I read it at the age of 17, it didn’t really mean anything. I came back to it a year later and it changed my perspective on life. So I recommend it to anyone who seeks a life shift.

Dashama: Was there a yoga tradition, lineage or teaching philosophy that influenced you a lot over the years?

Rachel: I feel I have been through all of the styles and my own practice shifts as the seasons. I focus on meditation, keeping it super assessible and approachable to everyone in a contemporary way. I like to keep it light, with upbeat music and authentic, which people really vibe with.

Dashama: I heard you went to India and shaved your head before, is that true?

Rachel: I went to India as a young person, but not on a spiritual pilgrimage. It hasn’t called to me yet. But I know when the time is right, I will go.

Dashama: I felt really called to help India after I went there, with a billion people without safe drinking water. This is the initiative for “Be the Change” world tour to raise awareness of water crisis and to help people and environment. I hope you can be a part of it as well. Do you have any places in the world that you feel that way? When you went there, you wanted to try to help.

Rachel: Yes, absolutely! There were many places world wide where I have felt that. I have been traveling to Africa since I was young, and there are so many places that need our help. So now we’re launching a new retreat direction, combining social contribution with yoga in our travels. We will be launching our non profit at the end of this year.

Dashama: That’s so wonderful! I love to see people giving back to help the world in the largest way possible. You are doing so much great work in the world. Thank you for your contribution! Where can people reach you to learn more about what you are up to?

Rachel: Yes, on my website RachelBrathen.com and also on Instragram.

Dashama: Thank you for your time and I wish you many blessings on your journey. Namaste.

Watch the video to hear our full conversation and view Rachel’s bestselling book “Yoga Girl”.