Emmie Rae On How Yoga Helped Her Quit Fast Fashion

by: Lucy Jones | 9 months ago | Features

Photo courtesy of Emmie Rae. 

At one point in her life, yoga teacher Emmie Rae thought that she'd never be able to give up fast fashion. But, after practicing yoga for a few years, she realised that every single one of her choices matters. "A balanced yoga practice leads to higher self worth as well as a deeper sense of empathy," she explains. "When you value yourself and the lives of others, it naturally leads to wanting to consume and purchase food and clothing that are beautiful, high quality and ethically made."

Rae believes that rest can rebuild connections between people, their environments and the things that they consume. Her project The Daily Rest is dedicated to restorative yoga, a practice that gets a pretty bad rap even within the yoga community. Through her website and her classes, Rae wants to prove that this form of yoga can be super beneficial for busy creative types who suck at slowing down (aka every single one of us). We caught up with her to chat about how we can introduce yoga into our daily routines and the power of positive personal choices.

Lucy Jones: Who are you and what do you 'do'?
Emmie Rae: I’m Emmie Rae, I teach yoga, write and guide people into a serious relationship with rest.

Can you tell us a little bit about your new project The Daily Rest?
The Daily Rest is centered around a reimagining of restorative yoga. It’s a space to teach and remind you how to practice real rest. To take a small piece of every day and dedicate it to doing nothing… to be aware of what unfolds. 

What motivated you to start The Daily Rest?
Restorative yoga is generally seen as super uncool, even in the yoga world. It’s often thought of as something your grandmother might do. After spending the last few years teaching and practicing restorative yoga, experience and feedback proved to me just how important and powerful it is, especially for people who are busy, work creatively and suck at slowing down. Restorative yoga needs a rebrand and The Daily Rest is my answer to that.  

How did you get into yoga teaching?
I’m one of those cliché people who walked out of my first yoga class with my life oriented in a completely different direction. From very early on in my practice I was determined to teach. I had no connections and incredibly tight hamstrings, but being here now shows me just how important it is to follow that little guiding voice no matter how crazy it seems.

Why do you think the practices of yoga and meditation are so important?
The trade-off for a world so hyper connected is, ironically, a loss of real connection — connection with our bodies, breath, environment, desires, other living beings, the divine, or sense of something greater, however you see it. Without real connection we are lost, and yoga and meditation bring us back. The process of coming back isn’t always easy, but it is always rewarding.

What's your daily yoga routine?
A Jivamutki yoga open class at Jivamukti Yoga Sydney and 20 minutes in a restorative pose. At least once a week I’ll do a full 90-minute restorative practice too.

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slightly more active rest asana • you don’t need a yoga chair (we don’t have any other chairs in the house ) or yoga blankets (I just like to show my pink ones off) you can do this at your desk / dining room table with a jumper or a scarf or a mouse pad (do people use those?!) under your forehead (for comfort but mainly to prevent being branded by the table and having to walk around with a red mark on your head all day) • try to find length in the backs of the legs and spine, even if length for you is just slightly less bent. the idea is not really to stretch the back of the body (though that is nice too) but to cool down (physically / mentally / emotionally) and particularly nice for drawing attention down and inward when you’re too hyped up to even think about lying on the floor. think of the pelvis tipping forward rather than trying to reach the destination with your forehead / nose. find a comfy position for your arms. super flexible people could do this with a yoga block or two. start with 10 breaths, stay up to five minutes • #restorativeyoga #relaxandrenew #thedailyrest #justdonothing

A post shared by the daily rest (@thedailyrest) on Oct 6, 2018 at 4:46pm PDT

Do you have any tips for newbies who want to introduce yoga or meditation into their daily routine?
Take a beginners course! And do something every day, even if it’s ten breaths in downward facing dog and sitting still for five minutes. The every day part is key no matter how small you start to begin with. The ability to laugh at yourself goes a long way too.

Do you think the pace of modern life makes these rituals even more important?
I think it makes them essential.

Yoga promotes mindfulness and gives you an awareness of your body, how do you think these things change the way you move through the world?
When you change your relationship with your body, thoughts and beliefs, the way you interact with the world around you changes too.

What does 'ethical fashion' mean to you?
Consuming way, way less. Understanding the true cost of a garment. Only buying what you really need and adore. Opening your wardrobe and feeling great about everything inside. Keeping at least 1/3 of your wardrobe empty.

How do you incorporate these ideas into your work and life?
Marie Kondo puts it so beautifully — keep or purchase only what brings you joy, in a practical sense, or purely for pleasure. I try to take this approach in every area of my life. From buying food, to hand soap or clothes, to who I spend my time with and the classes I choose to teach. 

Are there any other ethical practices that are important to you?
Veganism is a very special part of my yoga practice. Every time I prepare a meal or carefully select a vegan knit, shoe or lipstick over something made with animal products I feel connected to something greater. It sounds superficial, but when you realise that every choice holds power you in turn feel empowered, and every moment is imbued with meaning.

What is the most important lesson yoga has taught you?
The importance of commitment, discipline, relaxation and softness. To be unafraid of creating space. That anything is possible. To extend compassion even to those I don’t necessarily agree with (always a work in progress!).

What is one thing you'd like to see humans achieve in your lifetime?
To tread more lightly on the Earth, to treat all animals with respect and to honour the need for sleep and rest.

What's your life motto?
Just do less.

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