Tag Archives: 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! 

A Chopra in Yoga Class and the Intent to Connect

We are midway through week two of our 21 Day Yoga Challenge with Tara Stiles and Sports Club LA and I want to thank all of you that have participated.

There have been a lot of inspiring intents about creating a yoga practice, getting back into it or simply wanting to create a deeper connection. Here are a few of my favorites that I wanted to share with everyone.

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The best thing about starting Intent has been to foster a community that supports each other and pushes themselves to do better things. That’s the real purpose of these challenges – to bring everyone together and encourage each other. Click any of the intents above to support them or adopt them as your own. If you want to join us you can create your own and put it in the yoga category on Intent.com.

And you’re not alone! I’ve been using the challenge to push myself in yoga as well As a Chopra there is this expectation for me to be really good at yoga, but the truth is I’m not. I’m not at all.

One Christmas, Gotham gave me a gift certificate for yoga classes. The certificate was valid for 6 months, and I had not redeemed it. When the guy looked at the certificate, luckily, there was no date on it — so, I lied. I told him, with a sweet smile, that I received it for my birthday in July. Not a moment of Chopra guilt.

As he was putting my info in the system, he furrowed his brows and I knew the question was coming. “Any relation to Deepak?” I nodded. “Yes, he’s my father.” He replied, “Cool. We have his books here.” I looked up, and my fathers face was smiling at me from above the counter.

“Deepak Chopra is your father!!” A woman waiting in line next to me, squealed with delight. “Oh, my God! I love him. Can I touch you? I have never met anyone famous before.” The rest of the people in line peered at me. I smiled awkwardly. “I’m not famous,” I said. “People know my father…”

The woman was right in my face now. “My name is Sarah. I loved his book – 7 Practical Laws of Love.”
Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” I replied.

Sarah put her mat next to mine. She started telling me about how the Law of Least Resistance had changed her life. The yoga instructor walked in, “I just heard you are Deepak’s daughter,” she announced to the room. “Now, I feel all this pressure!” The other people turned, looking at each other, nodding knowingly. And, then it all went totally downhill. I completely unraveled. It was the moment of truth and the whole room witnessed it.

I kept slipping during Downward Dog Pose. I couldn’t balance during Tree Pose. Forget about even attempting, Sirsasana, the Headstand Pose. Every time I turned to the left, Sarah was ogling me, but also a bit confounded about what I was doing. I felt totally inadequate. I just could not perform. People pretended not to see my awkwardness. Sarah actually stopped looking over. The teacher seemed to have slowed down a bit, embarrassed. Finally, it was Mrtsana, the Corpse Pose, and, thank god, it was over!

I rushed out. I did not glance at Sarah — well, to be honest, she was not even looking at me any more. I did not want to face the teacher. I felt like everyone in the room had discovered my most intimate secret. But as I ran out, the man at the register stopped me. “Hey, Ms. Chopra, could you do us a favor and sign these books?” There was a pile of my dads books on the counter. People started drifting out of the room.

I panicked for a moment. Sarah was looking over my shoulder now. “Oh, wow. I didn’t know Deepak had written a book on yoga.” She actually sounded perplexed. I took a deep breath. I dropped my head in shame. I took another breath. And, then, something miraculous happened. With that breath, somehow, I had re-connected. Another breath. Connection. I was a Chopra. Another breath. Admit it, I suck at yoga. Another breath. That is ok.

I smiled at the man at the register. “Sorry, I really can’t sign those books. They are my father’s, not mine.” Another breath. I started to walk out.

Remember who you are.

“But, you know what,” I turned back in. “I could sign my book, if you carried it…”

Sarah looked up, and the look was coming back into her eyes. The look of hope, the look that there was still something to believe in.
I stood tall, put my hands together in Namaste, and smiled that Chopra smile at her with all of its glory!

Setting goals and intents aren’t about being perfect – it’s about trying. So I hope you try with us!

The Value of Support

Hi Friends,

The 21 Day Yoga Challenge is a start of a life changing habit in awareness how we spend our time. For me personally, setting intents each day can be a little scary because all of a sudden I sign up to be accountable for this admirable intent I set out. The great news is, it usually works to some degree or another. The simple act of intending sets up the day for improved awareness of all my actions. I hope you will join us on week 2 of the Yoga Challenge. Our theme is yoga practice, which of course spans everything from on the mat, to meditation, to practicing ease in life. Enjoy!

Today marked the last day of our Strala Ready-to-Lead Fall training program. We do 2 of these long form programs a year here in NYC, and I am constantly inspired by the hard work, talent, dedication, and intention of the Guides-in-Training to help people with what they know and inspire people to live with ease. As I grow in my teaching of the programs, and in my own life and experience, I am constantly reflecting on the continued depth of the program as I grow, and am in awe of how much I learn from the participants, and how much they learn from the support of each other.

Support has become a theme in our training. I teach that when you lead a class you’re not alone up there, you have the support of the people in your class. They support you and you support them. When it comes to intents, we support each other and in turn support ourselves. We are connected and it helps to not just acknowledge that fact, but participate in the nature of connectedness by supporting each other.

When we support each other we become supported.

When we support each other we find value in ourselves.

When we support each other we have someone to lean on.

When we support each other we are connected.

Enjoy moving along with this routine to help you find support in your breath, body and mind. Enjoy and see you soon!

swaying in the breeze

 

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! 

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