Last week, I sat down with Tara Stiles, New York based yoga teacher and yoga's unofficial social media queen Millions of people around the globe hit the mat with Tara via herYou Tube channel. And The New York Times labelled her the "Yoga Rebel"in 2011.Tara was in London to talk about her new book "Make Your Own Rules Diet" and to introduce London to "Strala" (her own yoga brand and studio in New York City). I was meeting Tara at The W Hotel in Trafalgar Square, where her and Strala yoga have become the face of the W's yoga offerings. Hotel guests can enjoy Tara's yoga videos in the comfort of their own hotel room. She is also now collaborating on retreats at various W Hotels. Sure enough, as I stepped into the lift, there on the big TV screen was Tara striking a (warrior 2) pose.Immediately, I was drawn to watching her move. Yes, we all know she is stunning (beginning her career in modelling), but its something more than that. It's this edgy but sweet & unapologetic persona she exhibits that gravitates you toward her.When we sat down, I was curious to learn more about Tara's ability to connect many new people to yoga in her own creative and unique way. And oh yes, I wanted to hear about more about this 'breaking the rules' book! Here's what she had to say:
1. Can you tell us what Strala is all about and why you think people are so drawn to it?
"Strala is about positive feelings and the individual. Its about following how you feel. It's working on the process and not the goal of the pose." says Tara."And that concept allows one to go further, by having a good time, not pressurised, feeling more connected to people and not feeling like you are not good enough" she further explained.
2. You're in London running a 2 day yoga training (we're excited!) Can you share more about your plans with our city? Will we see more of Strala & you in London?
"Yes, I will definitely be making more trips to London" Tara shares excitedly. This is starting with a trip planned early next year.Strala classes officially launched on the schedule at Chiswick Roko Health Club with this trip. You can also enjoy recipes from her new book in Roko's cafe. Tara Stiles LondonSubscribe to om exchange hereto stay in the loop on Tara's next visit!
3. Tell us more about why you chose to call your new book "Make Your Own Rules Diet"?
"There are no rules in life and you need to follow your intuition and what makes you feel good" Tara puts simply. Is it working? It seems to be! She shared a few stories of the women she's met while on the book tour who've been able to overcome eating disorders and obesity by following her 'no rules' philosophy. In the book, Tara includes personal stories wrapped up with three main tools to getting healthy and staying balanced.(1) your mat - yoga poses for your mood(2) your meditation cushion - meditation techniques(3) your kitchen - 50 simple and cost effective healthy recipes.After an hour chatting with Tara, I left feeling reenergised. Sort of how I can feel after a really good yoga class!?!How does she DO that? I thought a bit more about this as I started to write this blog post and realised there are definitely a few characteristics Tara exudes which I would love to also create more of in my own life and perhaps many others would too...
1. Tara The Energiser Bunny
Her positive attitude and high energy is infectious. She reminds you of how happy and smily you might have been when you were you were a kid but somehow along the way it slipped away. Not for Tara...
2. Tara The Rule Breaker
Tara isn't trying to prove anything to anyone. Just like her yoga style, she is not rigid at all and is clearly in-tune with and listens to her own inner voice. And I love that. Yes, she's marketed herself well through partnerships with The W Hotel and Rebook but this doesn't define her and its also an excellent way to for her to find her tribe and get them moving. Whether you like what she does or not, its beside the point. Shouldn't we all live our lives a little more true to our free spirit?
3. Tara The Down-to-Earth "Un-posh" HomeTown Girl
Tara stays connected to who she is and where she comes from. I personally discovered Tara three years ago while searching for interesting yoga documentaries on-line. She took a trip to her hometown in middle America to help introduce people to yoga. Video below:Tara explained that when making the video instead of asking people "do you want to do yoga?" she chose to focus on the feeling yoga ignites and posed the question "do you want to feel more connected to your community and feel better?"Smart thinking because people said YES!I thought it was pretty cool of her to want to bring yoga back to her community. And for all her "yoga glory", Tara is definitely not full of ego or pretentious. She is also conscious that yoga should be available & affordable to everyone. Her open classes this week were £15 which is comparable, if not less, than many drop-in classes.Final thought - Tara and Strala are a yogic breath of fresh air for the London yoga scene. And the om exchange community is looking forward to welcoming her back in 2015! Big thanks to Tara for her motivating and inspiring spirit. NamasteIndra x