Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Dellefield.
Rachel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I first started practicing yoga during my freshman year of college because of debilitating back and hip pain. I had played softball my whole life, and since I was a catcher, my body took a beating and it eventually caught up to me. I think what kept me practicing yoga at that time was because I was taking classes at a junior college and the yoga made me feel like I belonged and gave me a sense of community.
When I moved up to LA to attend UCLA as a transfer student, my yoga practice completely transformed. I was in the mecca for yoga with amazing teachers. I was lucky enough to find a donation-based studio, Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga studio and I was hooked. I began going five days a week, and what turned into a means for pain management turned into so much more. Somehow I found myself signed up for a yoga teacher training – I don’t remember the first time I thought to myself that this would be a good idea. It just sort of happened.
I signed up though, with no intentions to teach – only to deepen my practice. During my YTT, I went through a pretty sudden breakup. It just so happened that on the same day, we learned about the yogic principle “Praktipaksha Bhavana” and everything made sense. I understood why I was in teacher training – this yoga was taking place not only on my mat but out in the real world as well and I was being given the tools to navigate life in a healthy, equanimous way. How I dealt with the breakup was indicative of a larger practice – breathing and being in the present moment without preconceived notions of how that moment should be. Being with discomfort and sadness, and allowing myself to feel and then, keep moving.
Since completing my teacher training, I’ve been blessed enough to teach at Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga at a time slot that was so important to me. I’m now teaching at TriFit with some amazing yogis showing up on their mats, teaching privates, and subbing at various studios. I’m still working my 9-5, and the yoga completely enriches my week. I feel so lucky to get to share my practice with others and share the gift of yoga and breath with others.
Has it been a smooth road?
As far as advice:
1) Don’t be afraid to find your voice and be unapologetically you. People will try to silence you. Stand confident in the importance of what it is you have to say and what you have to offer to people. Your uniqueness is what makes you special and people will gravitate towards that.
2) Saying no is as important as saying yes. There will be other subbing gigs, there will be other time slots. The teacher burn-out is very real. It is so important to listen to your body and to say no when you need. Take time for yourself, plan your day in a way that is conducive to what you can actually do.
3) Walk the walk and practice what you preach. Mediate, breathe, self-study, exercise or move your body so what you teach comes from a place of authenticity. People can spot bullshit a mile away.
4) Find a mentor or a teacher that you resonate with, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make friends within your community or other like-minded people. You attract what you put out into the world and opportunities can arise naturally thanks to the community that you surround yourself with.
5) Get clear on your why. Why are you doing what you’re doing, why is this important to you, etc? When you get clear on your why, you clarify your next steps.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor, specializing in Holistic Yoga Flow, created by my teachers Travis Eliot and Lauren Eckstrom. Holistic Yoga Flow is a dynamic blend of power vinyasa, pranayama, meditation, and philosophy. I focus on a strong asana practice with creative sequencing, while still allowing for smart and safe alignment. You can expect to sweat and BREATHE and hopefully laugh (because I’ll sprinkle some jokes in there, and I think I’m really funny).
My classes are sprinkled with breathing exercises and meditation (typically at the end of class). I feel that the connection to the breath is so important to help transport the student into the present moment and by inhabiting the present moment, everything else starts to soften a bit. On a broader scope, I feel this encourages my students to take their yoga off their mat and into their daily living.
I also think that because of my 9-5 job, I see first-hand the effects of stress, the effects of sitting in a chair for multiple hours on end, the effects of staying indoors all day. My classes are all levels, so fit for everyone, but when I sequence a class, I do try to tailor them to help alleviate the kind of physical and mental stresses I see in a typical office environment.
For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
Oh my goodness, YES. I feel that the world could use some more feminine energy out there. In the fitness industry, there is definitely a go-go-go/yang-like mentality, that granted, is useful at times, but I feel that there’s been a bit of a shift into a focus on self-care. Some slowing down. Listening to the body. I feel that people are more receptive to this, especially with the onslaught of social media and what’s going on in current events. I know that for myself and in my experience, people are looking for ways to take care of themselves in a healthy and holistic way (ie gentle yoga, mobility work, deep stretching, meditation) and in the fitness industry, that desire hasn’t always been met. There can’t be yang without yin, ya know?
- Website: racheldyoga.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: racheldyoga
Chelsea Willette, Victoria Whalin at Red Hot Photography