The first time I met Rachael Breeze, we didn’t technically meet at all. In line at the grocery one afternoon, I was in awe of an absolutely radiant woman in front of me. I said to myself, ‘I want to feel the way she looks.’ A few weeks later, at EarthSpa for my first Ayurvedic consultation, I almost jumped when Rachael came to the door - she was the woman from the store.
Ayurveda, the science of life, is an ancient medical practice with a well-rounded approach to healing. It takes into account a person’s body type, the season and surroundings, and solutions are prescribed that pertain to diet, physical activity, rest, lifestyle, medicinal herbs, and even skincare. Rachael’s clients come for various reasons; from those wanting to lose 20 lbs. to healing a broken heart. She tells me of a client who came to her with a thyroid issue, who also happened to be contemplating divorce. Over the period they worked together, not only did the client’s thyroid improve, so did her marriage. The client recently called Rachael to tell her she’d never been happier. Rachael smiles up at me with her goddess glow, ‘When your inner body is in balance, your external life can be too.’
Rachael’s office is nestled in downtown Fairfax. Bamboo planters line the entryway and the smell of lavender wafts faintly in the air. Arriving at her office, I don’t know what to expect. Ayurvedic medicine is so all-encompassing, I’ve often shied away from it, expecting it would require a lifestyle overhaul. Surprisingly, it doesn’t. I sit down with Rachael and we discuss my physical health and state of mind. I’m of the imbalanced Vata type: I get migraines, work to the point of exhaustion, and often feel ungrounded. She asks: Do I eat cold, raw food? Almost exclusively. Do 2 or more things at once? Always. Do high-energy exercise when I’m feeling low, in an effort to get back up? Of course. I brace myself to receive a long and arduous list of changes. Instead, Rachael walks me through some easy-to-incorporate solutions and we discuss the best way to implement them. For instance, use warming spices if I must eat cold food, balance out fast-paced Vinyasa classes with more passive Yin Yoga, do one thing at a time, mindfully, and a host of other simple steps that have me feeling more balanced, clear and productive than I ever have. And while she claims she doesn’t do psychotherapy, I walk away with some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
With 20+ years of multidisciplinary study under her belt, as well as a background in fitness, Rachael understands the body. She’s certified in, and has taught various forms of yoga, meditation, nutrition, chef-ing, massage and has studied Ayurveda with Vasant Lad, Prashanti De Jager, and DeAnna Batdorff at the Dyana Center in Sebastapol. She was a resident yoga teacher at the beloved Harbin Hot Springs for several years. Rachael discovered Ayurveda in her 20’s, when she used its principles to heal her own body. ‘I was eating a vegetarian diet, knew about herbal supplements, practiced yoga, was athletic and fit, but I was still depleted.’ Discovering Ayurveda gave her a vocabulary, and a frame of reference to understand and implement balance for her body. On a break, she took some time out in nature to do a cleanse according to her Dosha, and after only 10 days, she’d never experienced more energy & clarity.
Rachael offers both consulting and coaching. Consultations can be a one-off visit like mine, where someone needs just a few tips to get them on track. With coaching, she helps clients who are seeking bigger changes, working with them over time to reach their goals. She also leads workshops, including seasonal cleansing in the Spring and Fall. Recently, she’s added a workshop called ‘Walk In Beauty’, focused around self-care for women. ‘As women, we are natural care-givers, but often forget to take care of ourselves.’ With so many roles we play; mother, daughter, sister, best friend, bread-winner, wife, it’s easy to ignore our own needs, which causes us to become worn down and can lead to health issues. Rachael gets excited as she tells me about the curriculum, which includes group sessions, 1-on-1 coaching, and spa days, ‘My favorite thing is helping women go deeper into self-love’, she tells me.
I ask her more about her typical visit with a client, but it varies so much. Some clients need body care tips, while others benefit from supplemental herbs, dietary advice, recipes, yoga poses, guided meditation, or massage. As she tells me about her wealth of experience, my head is spinning and she can tell. She says, jokingly, ‘If you can find a better word for what I do, I’d love to know it.” I tell her: Magician. And it’s true. After following her advice now for 3 months, I‘ve never felt better.
Rachael offers FREE Initial Consultations for women wanting to feel more healthy, happy & beautiful through refining their self care and finding balance in their lives.
Her workshop, 'Walk In Beauty', begins April 23rd. Please visit her website here for more information.
Photo: Courtney Aldor
Post written for SFYogaMag.com