In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, I’m talking with Tara Stiles, founder of Stråla Yoga, whose approach to yoga and meditation is to make it as inclusive, unpretentious and accessible as possible.
“I love the saying, if you can breathe, you can do yoga,” Tara says. “And especially if you’re interested in doing it, then follow that intuition. Whether you’re young or old or somewhere in between, or have a problem or have any limitations or whatever it is.”
Tara says practicing yoga is about so much more than just the physical poses, but about building up your physical, spiritual and mental energy so you can show up and be present and leave content. That comes from developing fluidity in your life, finding alignment in your internal and external environments, and listening to your body.
“So, it’s really moving slow enough so you can notice what’s happening. Allowing your breath to move your body, I think is amazing,” Tara says. “We miss out on all of our potential and how easily we can move when we ignore our breath-body connection, as well.”
The mind-body connection is what allows her to truly tune in, and she encourages everyone she teaches to find that oneness of their own. One of her tips? Get down on the ground. Even a brief few minutes moving from your chair to the floor, practicing some short cat-cow exercises to get movement circulating through your body, or just deep breathing practice, are great ways to take a break and listen to what parts of you might need a little more attention.
In her new book, “Clean Mind, Clean Body: A 28-Day Plan for Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Self-Care,” Tara shows how you can integrate well-being into every part of your life. She guides you through a mental and spiritual cleanse, and outlines ways you can change your nutrition and movement.
“I’m trying to broach the subject here of more living in line with your energy and trying to harness your energy and have more of it when you need more of it,” she says.
She’s considered a “yoga rebel” because she doesn’t follow any conventional dogma that often keeps the practice out of reach.
“A lot of times with yoga, it can be so dogmatic and so student-teacher, messed-up relationship that the student just depletes their energy and forces their body into these strange positions,” Tara explains. “And then, just to be simple about it, it messes up their life and messes up their energy, which is the opposite of what yoga is supposed to do for you.”
Instead, “There’s this great principle of softness,” she says. “If you just allow yourself to be moveable, bendable in your joints first, but then an emotional softness, relaxing a little bit, then all of a sudden your breath starts to move your body naturally, your breath gets bigger and more full.”
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Follow Along with the Transcript
Tara Stiles Website: tarastiles.com
Stråla Yoga Website: stralayoga.com
- People call you the Yoga Rebel. – 1:49
- If you want to do the spiritual work of yoga but you don’t have energy in your body, it doesn’t work very well. Is that the vibe there? And if so, how did you come to that? – 3:51
- You’re the personal yoga instructor for Deepak Chopra. Vanity Fair says you’re the coolest yoga instructor ever. How did you keep that from going to your head? – 5:46
- To me, even before yoga, I feel like I learned a lot of that through movement and through dance and through sequencing. – 10:24
- Talk to me about your perspective on food for this mental alignment, spiritual alignment that you’re talking about in the book? What are the principles? – 11:44
- Really moving slow enough so you can notice what’s happening. Allowing your breath to move your body, I think is amazing. – 16:36
- I think all of the yogic breathings are great for different things. If you want to manipulate or control or build heat or calm down or focus, but really that just active softening before anything happens, soften, and then notice your big breath. – 18:18
- Have you seen a shift over the past decade where it’s a little bit more gender neutral where there’s a lot more men doing yoga or is it still more women than men? – 21:46
- I know they come in a series, I know there’s all sorts of asterisks to apply for this, but you got to pick one. What one brings you the most joy? – 24:38
- You can do whatever movements you want, you can do them in a way that’s nourishing for yourself where are noticing your body’s cues. – 28:58
- I love the saying, if you can breathe, you can do yoga. – 33:09
- With Strala we’re really focused on moving in a way that feels better. – 36:57
- When you move from one position to another, they do it really smoothly. Why is that so important? – 39:44
- Yoga and sleep, walk me through what I need to know. – 46:02
- There’s a few classes we do the beginning of the week to sit down and breathe more and more focus on meditation and mindfulness in the beginning of the class, but then we just get to it and move. – 47:51
- I’ve been to a few studios where I walk in and go, “I’m not doing yoga here,” and I walk out. So there’s a quality issue, and certainly that’s something you’ve managed, your facilities, they’re all super clean. – 52:06
- Deepak has these really great questions that I think are amazing, who am I? What do I want? How can I serve? And what am I grateful for? – 56:06
- It sounds like doing your own thinking and creating a world where people can use yoga as a tool in the future, I think is important. And anyone can start doing it now. – 58:40
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