Superfood Breakfasts With Wildly Inspiring Women: Tara Stiles
There are two things that brought me to Strala NYC. One – Yelp reviews said that Tara and other guides personally welcome each new student to the studio, and number two – the hilarious “Totally Enlightened” video, in which Tara Stiles and Heidi Kristoffer poke fun at the stereotypes about yoga. I was hooked after the first class. Since then, I’ve been coming to the studio every week, went on a super fun yoga retreat in Miami with Tara, Mike and Heidi, signed up for the Fall Ready-to-Lead 2014 training (yay!), and have been telling everyone about how life-changing Strala is.
Tara’s philosophy is that the guru is within, and when you move with ease, you become ridiculously happy. I can attest to that! The movement is growing very quickly, and Tara Stiles is traveling the globe to expand the network of Strala guides. One beautiful Saturday morning, I caught up with the inspiring, glowing, amazing Tara Stiles over a superfood breakfast (Tara’s first acai bowl to be exact – recipe here!) before a STRONG class at Strala.
Strala is now a global happiness movement. Did you ever think that moving with ease would ever lead to that?
When I was a kid I had a big desire and a feeling that I would be able to connect with a lot of people and share happiness. That was my goal and I had no idea what it would look like. I’m glad it looks like Strala. When I started Strala, I saw a need in the market. There wasn’t anything like that. Most yoga studios have strict rules, a defined and very formal relationship between the teacher and the student, and doing poses the right way and using sanskrit is what’s important. At Strala, we’re about moving with ease, creating more space, and being happy!
Do you do vision boards or any other similar practices to turn dreams and goals into reality?
Mainly people inspire me. I feed off interactions and conversations with people that elevate my spirit. Watching people in SOHO and around the world can be inspiring. I like to read a lot on a lot of topics. Nature is an essential inspiration. Really into street art too. I have an affinity for bright colors, bold expression, and positivity. That comes in many forms and I draw inspiration from a lot of it.
What advice do you have for those who are just starting to build business out of their life purpose?
Follow your interests. Contemplate on your intention with what you’d like to build. Commit to doing something regularly that aligns with both. Don’t worry about a business plan before you have a business. Start creating and allow your vision to evolve. Give yourself time to create and contemplate and recreate. If your interests change, follow that change.
Tara Stiles with friend Deepak Chopra
Tara in Italian Vogue
Tara’s FIT collab with WHotels Worldwide
Strala empowers. I always enjoyed yoga, but never thought that I could teach it, but now thanks to you and the amazing Strala team I’m on my way to doing Strala Ready To Lead, and leading my own yoga and superfoods retreat! Do you think anyone can be a Strala Guide? What does it take?
Thank you. A person who is passionate about helping others, is interested in leading a fun, supportive, energetic experience, and has built the skills to provide a safe and open structured class, can make a good Strala Guide. A great one truly cares about helping people above all else and understands the greatest elevation happens out of facilitating freedom, not control. My goal is to elevate as many great Strala Guides as possible. These people create big positive impact on a mass amount of people. When a Strala Guide is able to help a person toward health and happiness, they can do what they do best in the world, and create a better world. Strala Guides support people so they can support others.
Tara Stiles at Strala
Tara Stiles by Pia Brunost
I imagine that you are approached with offers to work with brands a lot. How do you choose the ones to work with?
I have a clear intention that makes it super easy to decide what to do and what not to do with my time and energy. Most of the time it’s incredibly obvious to me and has helped me manage my time effectively. It’s a process of growth and time management because there are a lot of great things to align with. I would love to do so much more, and I am able to, the more Strala grows. There are lots of Guides that are involved with a lot of great things now too. The support expands.
What helps you to tap into your intuition?
Regular Strala practice and meditation. Eating well and taking care of myself is everything. I love to cook and when I feel frazzled I’m drawn to get in my kitchen, or a kitchen wherever I am on the road, and make food. It always taps me right back in.
Strala is a moving meditation. I always leave class feeling completely reset and happy. Do you also have a still meditation practice?
I have a couple mexican blankets set on the ground in my living room to remind me to meditate. I’m not going to lie, I’m not there 20 minutes each day. Sometimes I make it there for 5 minutes, sometimes I try to just not check my email from bed first thing in the morning. My main practice is watching myself drift off from center and guiding myself to a better practice. Mediation helps and I’m on a quest to practice more regularly along with Strala.
What is your food philosophy?
I eat mostly plant based without any rules. Pretty intuitive. I think the best part about being a grown up is you can eat whatever you want whenever you want. Sometimes I have coconut ice cream for dinner. But not every night. If I’m at someone’s house I’ll eat what they are serving. I love to cook so always experimenting with new creations. They most always turn out pretty great because the ingredients are all awesome. I love brining back spices and local food inspiration from my travels.
How did you come up with the idea of writing a cookbook, and what can we expect from it?
The benefit of Strala is it changes how you feel about food, especially if there is anything off about that feeling. Moving with ease helps people want to feel better all the time. The missing element is then what the heck to prepare? Healthy cooking, like yoga, can be super overwhelming and intimidating and expensive. Just like with Strala, I’m on a quest with food to spread super delicious recipes that are simple to make and inexpensive.
What book impacted you the most? Siddhartha.
What countries now have Strala ambassadors, and which ones are next on the list?
There are Guides in about a dozen countries and growing fast. US, Canada, Mexico, France, Ireland, Germany, UAE, Taiwan, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, India, Spain. In the next few months I’m headed back to Mexico City and Australia, London and Paris to train more and support the existing Guides and programs in gyms and studios.
Tara Stiles expanding around the globe: Singapore
How do you relax (besides Strala that is;)
Hot bath. Good book. Good friends. Knitting. Going for a walk. I love relaxing and get so inspired when I take space to clear myself.
Favorite breakfast to eat at home? Please share recipe.
Green Dream. Spinach. Banana. Almond Milk smoothie. And summer Green Dream now, Spinach. Banana. Orange Juice :)
Green Dream Smoothie
Favorite breakfast to eat out?
Oh so much. Good old fashion NY bagel is fun. I love Cuban also and head to Cafe Habana in my hood when I get a chance.
What’s next for Tara Stiles? :)
Dinner probably. Thinking of experimenting with rice noodles, whatever veggies I have in my fridge and some spices I brought back from Colombia.
I go to Tokyo this week to celebrate the success and energy of my Reebok Yoga apparel collab. Then a lot of Strala Intensives this summer, IDEA, Yoga Journal and of course 2 Strala Summer Camps in NYC. So much fun. After party my house!
Thank you Tara. I can’t wait to become a Strala guide this fall! x Ksenia