Five minutes with Tara Stiles

If you’ve ever felt awkward during the ‘om’ part of a yoga class, teacher and author Tara Stiles hears you. Hailed as the ‘yoga rebel’ by the New York Times, her brand of yoga is less philosophy, more movement.

Sidestepping traditional chanting and Sanskrit, Strala is all about guiding your own feeling and flow, moving far beyond set poses. Alongside running her studio in New York City and authoring several top-selling books, she collaborates with Reebok, working closely with the design team on their yoga lifestyle range and speaks at conferences around the world bringing her health and wellness message.

With a packed schedule we sat down with the yogi to find out how she kick starts her day to get it all done. Take notes.

Establish a routine

“Sit up in bed first thing and breathe for a few moments. Just five minutes of easygoing meditation always feels really great. I started keeping my phone at the office so when I go home I’m not on the phone at all. Even leaving the phone in a different room is really beneficial.”

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Find what works for you

“Start your day with some practice that makes you feel better, even if it’s just five minutes of yoga. Go for poses that are big and balanced and open in the morning like tree pose, dancer’s pose and warrior 2. Pigeon pose is also great if you feel a little jammed up from the night before it releases some of that tension.”

Lose the connotations of yoga

“Everybody is different. If we get too rigid about it you’re losing a lot of benefits of connecting to yourself. It’s important to do movements that feel really good for you and your body and let that evolve form day-to-day, morning to night. You’re going to feel different at different points of the day, different weeks, different years.”

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Make your own rules

“Yoga doesn’t have to be a strict 90 minute practice with a teacher. Just start. Put down a mat at home and move around without worrying about what it looks like. If you’ve done some yoga and have some vocabulary to play with, that’s a good start.

Get it out of your head that it has to be like this or that. You’ll surprise yourself by seeing how much freedom you actually have and how much more you’re able to do when you get out of your own way and start to feel good in your body.”

Just breathe

“If you can breathe you can do yoga, and I think the neat thing about it is it’s a tool to help you feel better, people who say I don’t want to do you I think it’s the wrong question sometimes, I think do you want to feel better? What hurts? What’s going on? And maybe they have stress, and getting into it for whatever reason you have is great and going from there.”

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