Rachel embraces both the rigorous academic world of yogic philosophy and the “real world” of asana, meditation and service. She’s an RYT who’s written for Yoga Journal, NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett, OM Yoga Magazine (UK), MindBodyGreen, The Good Men Project, InDance, elephant journal, Common Ground, and RecoveringYogi; trained with Rusty Wells, MC Yogi, and Amanda Giacomini, and studied for a Masters in Systematic Theology under groundbreaking radical theologian (and badass grandma) Rosemary Radford Ruether.
Rachel grew up on the Great Plains, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor father and a music teacher mother. She spent a lot of time reading Little House on the Prairie and looking up at the big South Dakota sky.
A few years and an East Coast later, she thought she might like to spend her life tap dancing and belting out Gershwin showtunes in fishnets and bad wigs. She spent awhile in Scotland in her early twenties doing just that. That’s where, after years of hoofing it on wooden floors in awkward pink and black leotards, she discovered yoga.
Several oceans and a few adventures later, Rachel found herself on the West Coast, where she was all set to spend her life being a professor of Marxist social theory and progressive embodiment theology. She wanted to shift American religious culture from one based in fear and sexual repression to one rooted in love and social justice. Rachel spent those years doing a lot of Bikram yoga, soaking up esoteric French cultural theory, and not writing her Masters thesis. The yoga helped that project. So did playing piano. So did reading a lot of Chuck Palahniuk and going to the opera. But none of those diversions got much of a thesis written.
That’s when Rachel realized she didn’t want to spend her life in a library under fluorescent lights writing about radical theology but not doing much real-world work beyond the dusty shelves. Disillusioned with academia, she found refuge in shaking martinis, singing in wee original musicals, baking bundt cakes, and writing the Next Great Best-seller.
Then one Sunday morning in 2009, inspired by a passing referral from a colleague, Rachel discovered Bhakti Flow, and the teacher who would become her mentor and friend, Rusty Wells. She found therein a rare melding of all the best things in her life: spirit and athleticism and sweat and song and breath and service and theology and laughter and community and rhythm and dance. She knew immediately that she was in the right place.
That year, Rachel completed a Certificate in Yoga Philosophy at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she had the pleasure of learning from yoga luminaries Richard Rosen (history and pranayama), Carlos Pomeda (Upanishads and meditation), Gary Kraftsow (Viniyoga and classical theory), and Sally Kempton (Tantra); she then studied Patanjali’s Sutras with Chase Bossart and Kate Holcombe, and continued to practice and teach with Rusty Wells at his premier yoga arts studio, Urban Flow.
These days, having relocated to Portland, Oregon after 12 unforgettable years in the Bay Area, Rachel teaches Bhakti Flow vinyasa at YoYoYogi and fumbles her way through the 7th Series yoga that is parenting an inquisitive toddler. Between classes, she is currently revising two book-length manuscripts: one a whimsical manual on the yoga of baking, the other a down-to-earth melding of yogic philosophy and urban narrative.
She bows in deep gratitude to the many teachers who’ve blessed her life to this point, and looks forward to meeting you on the mat to share her love for this light, lyrical, life-changing practice.
Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Guru Devo Maheshwara Guru Sakshath Parambrahma, Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha
Rachel's vinyasa classes are a music-infused blend of athleticism, dance, and spirit. She crafts an intense flow-based practice rich in yoga philosophy, sweaty with hard work, and celebratory in tone. You can expect creative sequencing, advanced backbends, arm balances, inversions, and maybe a vertical split or two along the way. Rachel hopes you'll laugh as much as you sweat, and walk out feeling a little stronger, a little softer, and a lot more balanced.
Northwest Hoyt St. #101
(In the Pearl District)
YoYoYogi is my new home-away-from-home. After landing in Portland, I discovered YoYo in my search to find “that perfect spot.” I wandered into Alex’s Saturday afternoon class, and when he pulled out the drums, chanted with a smile, talked about the Bhagavad Gita, and then proceeded to kick my butt with a dynamic vinyasa, I knew YoYo was where I was supposed to be. Love the high-energy folks, the hunger for Chaturangas, the beautiful Pearl District studio, and the fact that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Come on down and join us for a good sweat and a great time.