Body & Breath: Movement Coach Britta Rael on the Importance of Mindfulness
“I want to help people to master the fundamentals of movement, because movement is fundamental to life. If someone can really take ownership of how they move, it opens up enormous opportunities for them to take more ownership [of] how they live.”
Mastering the movement of one’s body sounds simple enough. But for mindful movement coach Britta Rael, the real work goes beyond simplistic stretching and dives deeper to help others move, flex and heal themselves from the inside out through strategic breath and body exercises.
“Wellness is not ever just one thing, one aspect. I think that concept can be quite daunting or overwhelming for people. I love helping people simplify their bigger goals into smaller, process-based changes and integrate the small things or qualities in order to make lasting and profound impacts on their wellness. It’s really, really rewarding work,” Britta shares.
Originally from Colorado, the Seattle-based wellness enthusiast has dabbled in dozens of physical activities, from weightlifting, running and acrobatics to cycling, rock climbing and surfing. Now, as a seasoned yoga instructor and practicing functional movement coach, Britta aids individuals with tapping into their own unique wellness behaviors to help them “feel more and move better in their bodies.”
We chatted with our Bloom Farms CBD community member to hear more about her journey and to learn about the importance of mindful movement.
Have you always been active or did your passion for wellness develop later in life?
I've always been active. I grew up backpacking with my parents, cooking meals with my family and playing sports. I really started investing in my own health and wellness in college. My mother lost her life to an aggressive form of cancer during my freshman year, but she had benefited from the healing power of raw, organic foods, meditation/prayer and alternative therapies during her treatment. She passed away when I was 19, but her lifestyle changes really opened my eyes. I attribute those changes in perspective and her example as the fuel behind my pursuit of "wellness,” which has influenced nearly everything that I am involved with today. I worked in sustainable, regenerative agriculture as a farmer as well as a food writer. I became fascinated with the human body, the human spirit and how we are infinitely tied together with nature.
Ultimately I chose the path of studying yoga straight out of college and becoming a teacher because it contains all of these aspects. As far as exercise goes, I can never be married to one form. Yoga asana is my baseline, but I love weightlifting, running, acrobatics, cycling, hiking, rock climbing, surfing, swimming and doing outdoor yard work.
What has your journey taught you about yourself?
I've learned so much about my body, from my physical needs and biases to how my environment and hormones affect my emotions and state of being. The biggest lesson that continues to ring true is that being "well" is my natural state, and I get to make momentary choices every day that either support or challenge my "wellness." I like to think that I'm choosing better every day as I get older, but it ebbs and flows.
Speaking of ebbing and flowing, you are a functional movement coach. What does that entail?
Great question! I don't label what I do or teach as one modality, because it’s a very limiting way of a) doing business and b) moving! I've studied many movement forms over the last decade or so and see my work primarily as helping people to feel more and to move better in their bodies. I don't just teach exercise drills and choreograph classes (although I do that and love it!). I want to help people to master the fundamentals of movement, because movement is fundamental to life. If someone can really take ownership of how they move, it opens up enormous opportunities for them to take more ownership [of] how they live.
What inspired you to become a certified yoga instructor?
I try to live with the wisdom and practices of yoga at the heart. I teach yoga asana (the physical poses), along with pranayama (breathwork) and meditation. I don’t think that these facets can or should be taught independently because it’s a holistic system. I decided to pursue the teaching path because of how profound an impact yoga as a complete system had on my life in a very short time. I had been practicing Kriya yoga for a couple years, and it transformed my whole life; my body, my perception, my relationships. I went to India to deepen my experiences and came back with certain clarity that I wanted to impart this information and these systems for wholeness to others. I took my first official yoga teacher training in San Diego in 2010 and have been teaching full time ever since.
Why do you feel strategic movement is so important, in and out of the yoga studio?
I love the feeling of doing yoga (asana), because it helps me harmonize my movement with my breath and really pay attention to every single body part, sensation, external and internal cues. It’s a rich practice that is more accessible for people to develop awareness [compared to] other movement modalities, because it’s slower and centered on breath and body weight.
You are also a proud consumer of CBD. When did you first begin using it?
Ahhhhh yes, my beloved CBD. It gets a bad rap these days, because marketing people slapped CBD on everything to make it sound like a miracle drug. But CBD and all of the other components of the plant are really magical! I first started using CBD in 2016 as a way to help me stay grounded in my body. It was very effective without the [intoxicating] impact of [products available in dispensaries]. I’m very sensitive so anything I consume is generally a very low [amount]. Nowadays, I use it several times a week to aid my recovery from strength training and running. About three years ago, I found Bloom Farms at a local retailer and loved their 1-for-1 initiative for food scarcity as well as how much they emphasize clean, high-quality products.
Which Bloom Farms products are your favorite?
My favorite Bloom products include the 300 mg Balance and 600 mg Relieve tinctures. I’m really excited for the Sport Stick that just released, since it's great for topical recovery after a hard workout.
You are also the host of a podcast, Rael Talk. What does the show focus on?
Thanks for asking about this! I launched my podcast back in 2017 and really started producing episodes in 2019 while living on the road. I wanted to create an additional outlet for my creativity and to support my business. Rael Talk offers conversations and information to educate and inspire listeners in the areas of movement, mindfulness and meaningful connection. It’s been very fun so far and I’m looking forward to giving it more time and energy.
So what’s next on the horizon for you?
I just moved to Washington state this year, so I am in the middle of getting established and undergoing a pretty big brand shift, which is exciting and also a ton of work! The biggest thing on the horizon now is my annual “Wellness Recharge” retreat in Mexico in January 2021. It’s such a fun, rejuvenating experience and one of my favorite events to host.
Follow Britta Rael for more mindful movement tips and outdoor adventures.
Instagram - instagram.com/brittarael/
Website - brittarael.com
Podcast - podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/rael-talk/id1472062221
Born and raised by the beach in Southern California, Valeri Spiwak lives and breathes West Coast culture and its surrounding artistic charm. Valeri, with a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and a Minor in French, continuously seeks to explore the beautiful and obscure, and shares her adventures through captivating wordplay, clever writing and skillful copy.