LOCATION: Uvita/Playa Ballena in Southern Costa Rica
This angelic picture was taken on a mountaintop in southern Costa Rica, close to Uvita and Playa Ballena. Rachel Brathen, a yoga instructor living in Aruba (who was recently featured in The New York Times) considers herself a tree hugger. “Trees give the greatest comfort. I remember a long time ago, before I was a yoga teacher or meditating or caring at all about the environment at the fine age of 15, I would go for long runs in the forest in Sweden (where I’m from). I was having a bad day once and stopped in the middle of my run, crying over something or other. I leaned up against a tree and gave it the BIGGEST hug, and it totally hugged me back!”
Rachel says after the moment passed, she dried her tears and turned around because she felt embarrassed for hugging a tree in the middle of nowhere. But now, she says, “I am a proud tree hugger. A person that says it’s silly to do so has obviously never tried it.
“Having a connection to nature is a beautiful thing,” says Rachel and shares one of her favorite quotes by Osho—
“Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers – for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.”
Trading Sweden for eco-friendly Costa Rica right after high school changed Rachel’s life. Sharing how she made positive changes in her life, Rachel says, “I started devouring every book, film, documentary I could find. I still do.” Today, Rachel is vegan (that’s a super green thing she says), she buys organic food, green skincare and organic cleaning products made in Aruba.
“Once you learn how your life affects the earth we walk upon, you cannot unlearn. You will change, for the better,” Rachel says.
Rachel’s life is truly inspiring. She practices what she preaches, and it shows in how happy, healthy and fulfilling her life is. I could say this with conviction because I’ve had the good fortune of taking her paddleboard yoga lesson when I was staying at the Aruba Marriott, and it was one of the most beautiful and spiritual experiences I’ve ever had. To read my article and learn more about paddleboard yoga, click here.
Rachel Brathen currently lives in Aruba with her three rescued dogs who she says are tree huggers too. You can find Rachel Brathen Yoga Lifestyle on Facebook.