For 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