Tag Archives: 21 day yoga challenge

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 Intent.com 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 Intent.com, 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 TaraStiles.com

Use Meditation to Get Yourself Back on Track

It’s easy to fall off the band wagon when it comes to making positive changes in our lives. Whether we commit to a diet, an exercise plan, or a new way of thinking, we often start with the best of intentions and somewhere along the hours, days, and weeks in, we slip back to our old habits. It takes effort, and the desire to change to make an actual lasting change. Sometimes it doesn’t happen right away, and sometimes it’s hard to get back on the path, when we’ve wandered off so much.

For me, meditation has been the path I would love to be on the regular with. I practice yoga daily and have that as a moving meditation with usually some after a class for a few minutes, but I crave more. I imagine the space I could create with a daily mediation practice. I image myself waking up 20 minutes earlier, sitting with myself, and seeing what happens. I write and confess this to you as a reminder to myself of the positive change I’d like to create. I have a blanket on the floor waiting to be meditated on. I intend to make this change now.

Feeling Into You

 

My friend Vera at Strala meditating after class.
My friend Vera at Strala meditating after class.

What happens when you begin to mediate is you begin to feel into yourself. You become sensitized to how you feel physically and emotionally. You start to gain insight into your life and your purpose. Intuition becomes more and more clear and when you consider your intention you become a super feeler.

Meditation practices focuses on the breath. There are so many techniques that involve different things to do with the breath. You can count the breath as it comes and goes, holding the breath at the top and at the bottom, breath short and fast, long and deep, and vary pace and timing to an infinite amount of possibilities. The idea behind all the breath work is to allow you to feel. When you take a big deep breath you can feel more than when your breaths are shallow.

Try it now. I’ll do it with you. Wherever you are close your eyes, take a big giant deep breath in through your nose. Hold it at the top for a few moments, and slowly release all the air out through your mouth. Repeat twice more and gently open your eyes.

What is a healthy habit that you’d like to have for your life? Let me know in the comments so we can support each other and live great lives!

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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! 

Mallika Chopra: My Yoga Challenge

intent meditationI struggle with yoga.  I feel guilty admitting this given I am a Chopra, a meditator, from India, live in Santa Monica, have dear friends who are yoga teachers, and have a website on intention.  People assume I am a yogi, and I’ve even been recruited to be a spokesperson for yoga by companies even though I struggle with Downward Dog!  I’ve also written about the comedy of being a Chopra in a yoga class (but more on that next week)!

But, in the last few months, I have committed to my intent to lead a healthier, more balanced life – to meditate daily, eat better, exercise more, and practice yoga.  I was invited to join a group of friends for a Monday morning yoga class, and while I was very doubtful I would enjoy it, I committed to it thinking that by being accountable to my friends to “show up” would force me to actually show up.

I have done 3 classes so far, and I have to admit that I am secretly starting to enjoy them.  I’m realizing it takes a few classes to get the flow of the poses, and the self-assuredness that yoga is a personal practice where you can improve with every practice.  Our small class is relaxed and fun, and the social interaction is as motivating as how I feel physically and emotionally after class.

So, it is timely that I am joining my friend, Tara Stiles, and Intent’s partner, Sports Club LA, to launch the 21 Days of Yoga Challenge on Intent.com!

Each week we will be posting a new yoga challenge on Intent.com.

Please support people’s yoga intents, adopt one of the yoga intents or set your own (and put them in the yoga category).

This week, I’m adopting Tara’s yoga intent to challenge myself with sun salutations every day – something manageable for me as I will probably start with one a day!  I will re-affirm and update it daily, as well.  I hope you will join us for this challenge!

Also, I wanted to share this video of Tara and I chatting about yoga and intention, as well as her post about how she incorporates intention into her daily life.

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