Category Archives: Yoga

Find information and resources on the physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions of yoga.

Hillary Clinton: Life Lessons from the Benghazi Testimony


Yesterday, when my daughters and I came home after school, I put on the live stream of Hillary Clinton testifying before the Benghazi hearings.

I’m not sure if they were 6, 7 or 8 hours into grilling Hillary Clinton yet, but at that particular moment, a Republican congressman was shouting at her. My girls watched, first with horror and then laughing – who is that man? (Actually, my 11 year old daughter asked “Who is that crazy man?”) As he continued to give his own theory on Hillary Clinton’s actions around Benghazi, my 8th grader, who has done mock trials in Elementary and Middle School, asked if that is how a hearing is supposed to go – are you supposed to make up someone else’s story? Or, are you supposed to ask questions, listen, and gather information, facts?

But it was Hillary’s demeanor – calm, collected, in control – that made the most dramatic impression on my daughters and me.

She listened. She reviewed her notes. She didn’t attack.

She smiled as a panel in front of her berated her with nonsensical questions. She acted like a seasoned world leader.

Here are a few life lessons that my girls and I talked about after the debate: Continue reading

The Evolution of Yoga: Why Yoga Continues to Expand and Grow Over the Years


by Bethany Cleg

Unless you really want to wear a loin cloth when practicing yoga, you probably have enjoyed the changes brought about by the evolution of yoga over the years. Today’s yoga practitioners have a wide variety of comfortable gym wear that wasn’t even possible 5,000 years ago, when yoga was first invented. It’s true that the practice of yoga began as a spiritual system of teaching to help students master the mind on their way to enlightenment, but that doesn’t mean that the core teachings in the physical asana won’t produce benefit in a chaotic and stressful modern world. Traditionalists may still want to visit India to get a first-hand view of older practices, but for most people in the Western world, the changes have helped this system to flourish and provide valuable guidance on health and fitness for millions, without the need for being stuck in the past. If you want to know what some of the changes are, here are just a few. Continue reading

Put Yourself First


Why putting yourself first is the best choice for everyone.

We all experience moments when we feel torn between doing what we desire, and doing what we think is in the best interest of another. Sometimes we forget that those that love us also want what is best for us, and the best thing we can do is set the tone by making self-care a priority. Here’s what I mean…

I found myself in an interesting position this morning. I planned on taking a yoga class this morning, which I love and feel is an important component of my self-care on all levels. But last night my boyfriend and I got into an intense discussion, which left me feeling worried for him, wanting to care for him and make it all better. When I woke-up I found myself torn between my desire to go to class, and a thought that I should stay in bed and make sure he felt cared for.

It’s not as though an extra-long cuddle was in any way unappealing to me, yet I projected my mind a couple hours ahead, and could feel a nagging sense of disappointment that I didn’t stick to my plan to go to class. And not because I wanted to adhere to the plan, but because I could feel how badly my body wanted a led yoga session. Yet I still felt torn…and guilty. Continue reading

Get Started with Yoga


Health and fitness can go through so many trends and fads but yoga can be traced back more than 5,000 years and when it comes to exercise practices, this one is a marriage of mind, body and spirit. Whether you’re new to yoga or you’ve been practicing for years, we love sharing new resources for growing! Pop Sugar is one of those resources and today we’re sharing some of our favorite routines to start in your home or studio: Continue reading

An Intentional Q&A with Tara Stiles

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.18.05 AM

Yesterday we got to share about the brand new book from Strala Yoga creator Tara Stiles, “Make Your Own Rules Diet”.  Today, she’s sharing her fears, must-haves and techniques for keeping up with intentions in a Q&A with our community. Check it out:

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Make Your Own Rules Diet and Giveaway

We’re entering the holiday season where we’ll be sitting down to meal after meal with family and friends. In preparation, we shared about the 21 Day Meditation Challenge to help get your head and heart ready. We also have something that will help get your body ready!

We at have long been big fans of Tara Stiles and all she does for fitness and healthy living. Now, we’re excited to share about her new book “Make Your Own Rules Diet”.

MakeYourOwnRules Tara Stiles


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Intent Former Editor Chelsea Roff Gets “Best Shift Ever”

Chelsea Roff
Photo Credit: Chelsea Roff’s Facebook page

Good things happen to good people – that’s karmic belief. This week Intent’s former blog editor Chelsea Roff was the subject of’s “Prank it Forward” series where they surprise deserving individuals with life changing gifts.

For those that don’t know, Chelsea left Intent last year to pursue creating her own non-profit organization that shows the vital importance of yoga in eating disorder recovery. Chelsea herself suffered from extreme anorexia – at one point dropping to 58 pounds and caused her to have a stroke two weeks before her 16th birthday. She spent 18 months recovering under the custody of a Dallas hospital. When she was released her therapists suggested that yoga might be good for her – and it turned out to be a life changing experience.

To give back to the community that gave so much to her Chelsea started an IndieGoGo campaign last July that raised over $51,000 in four days. For those four days Chelsea camped out above the “You Are Beautiful” mural in Santa Monica, refusing to leave until she reached her goal. Now that money is going to fund research based studies in yoga studios and treatment centers around the country. To help get the funds to hire a full-time staff for the organization Chelsea has also been moonlighting as a waitress. Did we mention she’s only 24? Chelsea Roff is the definition of using your own talents and abilities – and the power of intent – to save the world. To reward her for all of her selfless good work, her friends and co-workers teamed up with to provide Chelsea with the best shift ever.

It starts off with a kind stranger leaving a ridiculously huge tip – that Chelsea insists on sharing with the rest of the wait staff. Then a free trip for two to Hawaii, followed up by Chelsea’s dream job where she’ll be able to use the work she’s been doing with Eat. Breathe. Thrive. in conjunction with a funded medical center. To top it off Chelsea was surprised with a brand new car and a visit from her very first yoga teacher that showed her so much about strength and being proud of your body and the space you inhabit.

We are so proud of Chelsea, who will always be a member of the Intent family, and all of the things she’s done. It’s such a wonderful thing to see her get the rewards she deserves for doing such amazing, wonderful work. Congratulations to Chelsea! You deserve it, girl. And we can only hope that Chelsea’s journey also inspires all of you to show the potential of setting an intent and following through with it. We really have the power to make meaningful change in people’s lives!

Learn how you can help Eat. Breathe. Thrive. or find one of Chelsea’s programs in a city near you here.

Listen to What Your Body is Telling You

asa_yoga_meditatingAs I progressed with my morning yoga and stretching routine this morning, ribs and clavicle sore from a fall nearly two weeks ago, it occurred to me how often the decisions our brain makes directly impact the well-being of our body. My sweet body had no say in my decision to step from one countertop across to the other as I cleaned the cabinet tops of my daughter’s “new” vintage apartment. Mom wanted to be sure the kitchen was pristine for Natalie and her roommate.  Natalie had no time to stop me as I said, “Spot me.” Misjudging the spread between counters, I went straight to the floor. Crash!

While VERY fortunate to not have had worse consequences, my brain’s poor decision put my body in jeopardy. My sweet body had no say in the matter until its voice spoke up in resulting discomfort and the process of healing over time.

How often do our brains put our bodies in predicaments, decisions resulting in compromised well-being? Be it a movement that results in injury or a poor food choice that leaves our stomach churning in misery, a decision that came from the brain leaves our body to bear the consequences.

These can be snap decisions or ongoing decisions (think excessive eating, smoking, over exercising).  How do we give our body a voice? How do we let our body speak up BEFORE it gets jolted, pained or harmed? Remember, we get one body to experience this lifetime. It deserves respect and honor. And whether you see your body as a temple or not, it is THE primary home in which we live.  So, how do we give it a voice in the decisions our brain subjects it to? Repeated discomfort from its decisions often don’t do the trick. Think eating the same food over and over that leaves us miserable, but we can’t resist because it’s so yummy.

Maybe some perspective is a pathway to bodily comfort and health. We have our body, mind, emotions and Spirit, a “quadrinity” of sorts that represents our wholeness. Does your quadrinity work as a team? Does your brain often step back and let your body, emotions and Spirit speak? How do we train our brain to give the others a voice that is heard?

For starters, being more CONSCIOUS of our body, habituating our brain to listen to the body is one substantive step. What did I feel when I was about to cross the kitchen in the air? I recall thinking, “It will be less work than getting down to the floor and climbing back up on the other side.” Did I hesitate? Not beyond the thought. But that very thought was a cue that that their was a consideration to heed, and a possible risk in following through. Otherwise, I would not have had that thought of an alternative.

Listening to our INNER voice, instead of the brain’s overpowering “just do it” is a skill that takes dedication to cultivate, be it through mindfulness or meditation training or another method that works for you.

An article I recently read about Ayurveda gave me profound perspective, a catalyst to listening more to my body, albeit I have a ways to go or I would not have attempted my kitchen counter leap. Our BODY is always in the PRESENT. It never lies. It speaks truth. Yet, our BRAIN is often in the PAST or the FUTURE.  Putting our body first, giving it the opportunity to alert us to what it needs, or not, brings us present to the decisions we make can serve us better for the future and help us learn from the past.  It is here that I come full circle to yoga, which in essence is about connecting the body and the mind through your breath.

So, when making that decision, when that soft voice yearns to be heard, take a DEEP breath. LISTEN. What is that voice saying? Whose voice beckons to be heard? Was my body’s voice trying to speak to say, “DON’T DO IT! I WILL GET HURT!”  I need to be more conscious when my body’s voice is trying to keep my brain’s powerful voice at bay, protecting my body from yet another consequence that might leave me injured, sore, or wondering how to cure my upset stomach.

We have the tools. We just need to give our body its voice. As for our emotions and spirit, let’s take one smart step at a time. The segments of our quadrinity can all learn from one another.

photo by: tokyosucks

How Did You Get into Yoga? An Interview with Tara Stiles

Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 11.17.28 PMFor three weeks now, Tara Stiles has been hosting our 21-day yoga challenge on with Sports Club LA. Over the past few weeks we’ve shared blogs to motivate people to start a yoga practice or deepen the one they are already in. Now that we are winding down the challenge we sat down with Tara to find out why she does yoga, what people can get out of challenges likes these, and what the next steps are after it is done.

If you happen to be in the Bay area you can see Tara and Mallika Chopra speaking at Studio 1 for the Sports Club LA Strala Strong event tomorrow, Nov. 8. More information is available here. You can also follow @SportsClub_LA for updates on the event.

Intent: What is your advice for anyone interested in getting into yoga but isn’t familiar with this world? Where do they start? How do they find a style that fits them?

Tara: The first thing to know is you’re already great how you are. A regular practice will keep you connected to feeling great, being healthy, strong, and open. Don’t worry about touching your toes, or doing a headstand, the goal is to connect with yourself and feel great. I created loads of videos on YouTube for first timers, so you can practice in the comfort of your home, whenever is easy for you. Start with 10 minutes in the morning, and 10 minutes before bed the first week and see how that feels. If you are looking for a particular style or studio, good to ask friends what they like. If you check out a class and it’s not for you, don’t be discouraged, try something different. There are loads of variety these days. Main thing is to stay connected to you, follow how you feel, and don’t push or force anything. Have fun and let me know if you have questions or need tips. I’m here for you!

Intent: You practice Strala yoga in your own studio in New York, which is sort of your own creation. What does Strala mean and what drew you to that particular style of yoga? 

Tara: Strala means to radiate light in Swedish, which is something I learned after thinking I invented the word by combining strength, balance, and awareness. Strala is a movement based system of yoga that lets people feel into the full range of their selves. The result is a feeling of permission and freedom. We focus on moving over posing, and help people find their way into their own bodies, with a calm ease carried through easy and challenging things alike. It’s a ton of fun, and people call Strala, a Yoga Party.

Intent: For the past few weeks we’ve been doing a yoga challenge on, combining making intents with starting or moving your practice to the next level, how important do you think having intents is to a solid yoga practice? 

Tara: We have intents whether we are aware of them or not. With yoga maybe we practice to de-stress, to get more flexible, for our fitness, emotional wellbeing, or so many reasons combined. Becoming aware of our intents is a powerful practice to focus on where we are directing our energy. With intents we become productive. What isn’t necessary can roll right off of us.

Intent: You set a lot of intents for this challenge, how do you personally decide what your intent will be each day? 

Tara:Like most things, I follow my intuition. Each day is different and I’d like to cultivate different things in the day. I decide on the intent depending on what I would like to accomplish each day.

Intent: What do you feel is the main take away from challenges like these? What good do you think they can do?

Tara: Setting intents for 21 days in a row begins a habit of awareness of our habits. It’s a commitment to positive change in our lives.

Intent: For those that used the challenge to start getting into yoga – what should they do now that it’s over? What’s your advice for staying motivated to stick with it? 

Tara: Keep going. Find ways of practicing that are interesting and exciting to you. If you’re a morning person, practice when you wake up. If you have a lot of energy at night, do your yoga at night. Make your routine work for you, not what you think it should look like.

Intent: Some of us can’t be in San Francisco for your talk at the SCLA conference – can you give us a sneak peak of what it’s going to be about?

Tara: Super excited about SF, and very excited for Mallika’s meditation. The class I lead will be energetic and fun, and of course, move with ease. I’m leading a 2 day Strala Intensive all weekend where I train instructors how to lead Strala. It’s also open to anyone who wants to dive into the methodology. I lead these trainings at all the SCLA around the US and it’s been an exciting adventure. Strala will be on the schedule in all the clubs 1st Quarter of 2014.

Help support Tara and the Intent community by joining the 21 Day Yoga Challenge sponsored by Sports Club LA! For 21 Days Tara is posting intents to encourage you to start or deepen your practice and to help you better connect your mind and body with the world around you. You can support or adopt Tara’s intent. Or you can set your own intent! Just add them to the yoga category and let’s support each other! 

*Images from

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