In a bad mood? Spend five minutes with Rae Broderick, and you’ll feel instantly better. The holistic health coach, Strala yoga guide and Root Wellness Studio founder has a light, easy way about her that lets you know she’s doing something right, both as an entrepreneur and a mother.
Here, she shares insight into the journey that took her from yogi to yoga teacher, what yoga has taught her about parenting, and how she carves out unique space in what often feels like an oversaturated industry.
What drew you to yoga in the first place?
I was drawn to yoga about 20 years ago when I was in high school. My mom had seen Rodney Yee on Oprah, so she bought his DVDs and a mat. It turned out it wasn’t her cup of tea, so I found myself rolling out the mat, popping in the DVDs and practicing every evening before “Dawson’s Creek” and “Gilmore Girls” came on. I eventually started exploring classes at local studios and the YMCA.
Why did you want to become a yoga teacher?
It didn’t occur to me for quite some time that I could teach yoga to other people. Once that clicked, it just seemed natural. I wanted to share something that had changed my life with other people.
How has yoga influenced how you parent?
Yoga reminds me that it is always possible to begin again, as well as the importance of presence and starting where you are. When it comes to parenting, more often than not your day is not going to go as you plan or anticipated. Giving yourself the permission and self-compassion to be human helps you navigate the uncontrollable.
In treating myself well, focusing on my breath and honoring how I feel on any given day and in any given moment, I am able to create a safe space for my children to do the same. I’ve even taught my toddler how to take “big breaths” when his emotions get the best of him. It’s a practice, not a perfect, right?
What’s the biggest lesson you learned about yourself when you became a mother?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that my womanhood, my identity beyond motherhood is still really, really important. Taking care of myself and creating space for my passions, dreams, and goals helps me be a better mom and connect more fully with my children. I suppose I am mothering myself and nurturing that little girl within.
In whatever I do, I try to live my life by being the change. I want my children to know what it looks like to prioritize themselves and their well-being while being part of a family unit. Sure, there are compromises and it may require a bit of juggling or getting up before everyone else to do the thing but you’ll never regret carving out that extra bit of space for you because you matter which, as a mama, can be easy to forget.
You have two young (one very young!) boys. What kind of foundation are you laying down now in the hope that they will eventually become as interested in health and wellness practices as you are?
I also have an 11-year-old stepdaughter! Again, I really try to be the change. My children see me rolling out my yoga mat or running on the treadmill. They see me drinking water, meditating, and drinking my smoothie. They also see me enjoying my snacks, having a glass of wine and eating a big old italian ice with them on the boardwalk. Kids are sponges and they absorb everything. If they see you taking good care of you and incorporating your chosen health and wellness practices, something is going to stick.
I don’t want them to mimic my behavior but find the things that make them feel the best in their minds, hearts, and bodies. I try not to implement too many rules or restrictions surrounding food and movement as I think it is really important for children to eat and move intuitively. Exploration and finding what they like or don’t like, what feels good and what doesn’t is really important.
I let them find their way and gently guide them back to center if they get too far off of their path but, I have to say, from what I can see already, they have some pretty great internal compasses.
You’re an entrepreneur. What’s the toughest lesson you’ve learned in starting your own business?
The toughest lesson I’ve learned is that if I don’t do the thing, no one is there to do it for me. I’ve also learned that you can always find a reason to not try or not start, whether it’s not enough time, not enough money, not enough whatever. The truth is, you’ll never have enough. There will never be a right time. The time is now. If you have an idea, take one, teeny, tiny step toward it and continue to take teeny, tiny steps each and every day.
No matter how small or insignificant you feel these steps may be, they add up. I’ve also realized that your voice, personal experience and insight matter. It doesn’t matter how many online yoga guides there are or how many recipe blogs and websites talk about easy cooking for your family. If you are passionate about something, share it. Get it out there. Don’t focus so much on making yourself different from anyone else. There’s only one you, and that difference is more than enough. I guess I’ve learned more than one lesson along the way!
The wellness industry can feel a bit oversaturated. What’s your advice to anyone who wants to carve out a unique business in the wellness space, as you have?
Be you. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Your unique life experiences and perspective are what set your business apart. Also, don’t be afraid to show the parts of you that you feel don’t relate to your business. If you are the face of your business, trust me, it relates.
I love Bruce Springsteen and ‘90s pop culture. You bet I’m sharing that somewhere in my bio or in my social media feeds, because these things make me happy. When you’re excited about something that you love unconditionally and wholeheartedly, people get on that train and will ride along with you anywhere.
Honesty is also key. I’m not saying you need to openly cry or air your dirty laundry to your customers, but people connect with authentic, real life stories and situations. I try to be as transparent as possible as I navigate growing a business which goes a long way in terms of customer service and support. If I have a question, I ask it. If I need clarification, I ask for it. If I made a mistake, I own it, apologize and move on. I keep people in the loop as much as possible so that they understand I am showing up as fully and as presently as I possibly can, which I think is comforting for both sides.
I’m not sure how popular of an opinion that is, but it has worked for me and has been one of most common and positive bits of feedback I get from my community. What you see is what you get, and in terms of wellness, I think it helps others know that they, too, can be themselves, that they don’t have to follow what anyone else is doing, that they can find what makes them feel the best and carve their own path. This health thing is not one-size-fits-all, and I want nothing more than to empower people to be and feel their best and support them as they explore and define what that means for them.
Rae is a true believer in being an active participant in your health and wellness and creating a life of well-being rooted in you: what you like to do, what you like to eat, how you like to move, your wishes, your hopes, and your dreams.
As a yoga guide, she creates a safe environment in which people can explore what shapes and movements feel best for their body in any given moment. She has led classes, workshops and retreats around the tri-state area and abroad, including Yoga Journal’s yoga in the park series in Bryant Park, On The Spirit of NY’s yoga cruise, and at The Cliffs of Moher Retreat center in County Clare, Ireland. She was the first guide to bring stråla yoga to Northern Ireland. Her yoga and health coaching experience has been featured on such websites as The Sweat Life + Yoga Journal.
As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, she works one-on-one with people to create customized attainable, sustainable health and wellness goals with a focus on nutrition, movement, relationships, mindfulness and more. Her unique offering, Elemental Healing, blends holistic health coaching and applied astrology.
In addition to coaching, she offers an online membership/graduate school for the school, root(ed). Each month, the community explores yoga, meditation, astrology, mindfulness + more under the umbrella of a specific theme.
Whether she has the true fortune of leading or helping a single person or a crowd of individuals, her intention is and always will be the same: to make people feel welcome, supported, at ease and to remind them to begin right where they are.
She is based in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, where she lives with her husband, Colin, and their three children, Erica, Samuel, and Bruce.