Wellness: Interview with Strala Yoga Founder Tara Stiles

At Visual Therapy, we’re all about Mind, Body, and Soul. As we work with clients to line up their optimal wardrobes and help them to be the best version of themselves, we’re huge believers that it’s not the dress, but what’s in the dress that matters. And even though clothes can help you feel like a movie star, there’s something that needs to be taken care of first on a deeper level. Welcome to “Wellness Wednesday”: our weekly feature to bring you tips for a healthy, whole and fulfilled life. This week, we’re interviewing Strala yoga founder Tara Stiles.

With hundreds of thousands of views on some of her most popular YouTube videos, life-size posters of herself in Reebok stores globally, her own yoga program at W hotels worldwide, and a new book on the  yoga superstar Tara Stiles is definitely doing something right. Our team checked out Tara’s classes at Strala, a spacious studio in NoHo that she runs with her team, to try out their movement-based system of yoga. It works! Just an hour of an intense class in the morning left us feeling zen, strong and energized for the day. Tara proves that yoga can make you feel not only healthy, but also beautiful. Read her tips on setting intention, meditating and using music to expand.

Tara Stiles

Tara Stiles

You have successfully turned your passion into a career, with your own yoga studio in New York, published books and DVDs, a yoga wear line for Reebok, and fans all around the world. What’s the secret to your success? Intention is at the center of everything for me. My intention is to help myself connect and expand so I can help others do the same. When an idea I have for Strala fits in that intention, I zoom in on it, define and refine it so it can expand with ease. When I’m presented with a project or idea from the outside, if the aim fits in with my intention and it’s easy, then I move towards it.

If you could recommend one thing that anyone could do in the morning to start the day right, what would it be? Sit up in bed. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath for 5 minutes. When a thought comes in, guide your attention back to your breath. Great way to start your day and keep connected to your intuition.

If you could only do one yoga pose a day, what would be the most beneficial and why? Meditation. Since the main benefit of yoga is about the connection with the breath and ease of body, meditation is the most beneficial. It wires our brains to want to live better, eat better, and treat ourselves and others better. You can meditate in any yoga pose of course, as long as you are connected with the breath and guiding your attention back inward when it wanders. That’s when all the benefits of the movements can heal, repair, strengthen and ease tension in the body and mind. But if we can only do one, I’ll pick meditation!

What role does music play in your practice? What are your top tracks these days? Music is HUGE for us with Strala. It helps people relax, find a sense of ease, and most importantly have fun while practicing. I’m currently loving Summertime by Will Smith from back in the day and Hard Sun by Eddie Vedder is a staple in our classes. For relaxation we always play Tibetan heart chakra sounds. It makes everyone feel incredibly expansive and connected. Good stuff and good times!

Having seen Tara Stiles Eats, we know you’re a great cook. Is there one basic principle you would recommend to follow to feel healthier through your diet? Awe thanks! I’ve for sure gotten very interested in cooking and preparing food the last several years. The more you practice yoga with ease the more you want to feel better in all aspects of life, especially what you eat. One basic rule that works for me is finding great, fresh ingredients and produce. That way, however you combine it, it will still taste amazing and be great for you! And the best thing is discovering exciting combinations with fruits and veggies and grains. When my kitchen is stocked with great food it’s like having anything you can ever wish for to create something fun and exciting. Having fun in the kitchen is crucial too. Like yoga, a lot of people think cooking has to be serious, or they just can’t cook. If you can eat, you can cook. If you can breathe you can do yoga. Just get in there and get creative. You’ll have fun!

You have worked on special projects throughout your career, do you have a favorite and why? Collaborating with Reebok on our yoga line has been really special for me. They hadn’t had a yoga line before so we really got to create something from the ground up. It is like working in a start up within a super supported system. The people at Reebok have become family to me and I’m super proud of our creations. My goal was to make clothes that people feel comfortable, confident, and can have fun in. Yoga clothes can be very serious and I wanted to permission people to have more fun and be playful, and also have great clothes that are super flattering, vibrant, and special. We really pushed the boundaries a lot and created some great cozy pants and leggings, super fun tanks, gorgeously fitted and fun patterned bras and even cashmere sweaters with vibrant colored stripes. If you can dream it, you can do it.

If you weren’t a yoga teacher, what would you be? I have the super good fortune to have a few careers now, yoga teacher, head of Strala global training program, author, and designer, so I feel like I get to wear a lot of hats already. If I was to do something completely different it might be in technology. I’ve always been into computers. I was in a computer club in high school 🙂


For more inspiration for a healthy lifestyle, follow Tara Stiles on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and Pinterest.