Yoga: It’s Cool Like Tara Stiles and It’s Great for Your Health

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

[Today, I’m taking a quick break from writing on the swine flu, and I’m bringing you a post that is a little lighter and fun.  I hope you enjoy it.]

Yoga for Beginners

Tara Stiles Yoga Blog

Tara Stiles – Permission for use granted by Tara Stiles

Tara Stiles is so cool.

I don’t know Tara Stiles, I’ve never met Tara Stiles, and I’ve never even spoken to Tara Stiles.

We’ve exchanged a few emails and I guess I can call her my friend from Huffington Post where she writes too, but I have no idea who she is. She was kind enough to do a Q&A on yoga for beginners for me (see below), but other than that, I have no clue.

I do know that Tara’s a good writer and has mastered the art of yoga.

She breezes through yoga poses like a graceful ballerina, and she is so flexible.

I want to be cool like Tara Stiles

So, I figure, I’ll learn yoga and not only will it help me loosen up a bit but maybe I’ll be really cool too!

I already know, probably like most of you, that yoga is good for the mind body and soul. According to the Mayo Clinic, yoga is good to help relieve stress and helps you relax. A recent study at West Virginia University reports that yoga is good for relieving low back pain and can help with depression.

I want to learn yoga to become more flexible, get killer abs, to de-stress, learn to meditate by properly breathing and concentrating, but mostly, I want to learn yoga to be cool, like Tara Stiles.

I got to loosen up a bit

You can probably tell from my posts that I keep things very impersonal and professional. I don’t tell you much about who I am. I’ve been trying to separate my professional life from my personal life. I’ve kept it so separated that my college friends try to befriend me on Facebook and I won’t accept them. What’s up with that? I really got to loosen up!

How do I loosen up?

Well, first I think first I need to put a little more of “me” in my posts.

So I guess I could start by telling you some things about me, but what? Is there anything you want to know?

Second, I want to learn yoga and I’m going to start this week. Now, I know Tara makes it look so easy and I know she can contort herself into amazing positions and I know she looks really cool doing it, but for me, since this is my first attempt at yoga, I don’t think I’ll be twisting myself into any advanced positions right away. Mastering the Scorpion Pose, Firefly Pose, Side Crow Pose are on my yoga to-do list!

I think I’ll follow up with some future posts on my yoga experience. I’ll try to make it a cool post too!

Ok, ladies and guys too — if you’ve been thinking about yoga here is some really great info from my really cool cyber/Huffington Post friend, Tara Stiles!

Q&A with cool Tara Stiles!

Q:  (Barbara)

If you’re just starting out — how many times a week should you begin with? Are classes usually 30 minutes? 60 minutes? What’s average?

A:  (Tara)

If you can start out going to a class twice a week that’s a nice amount to get into the swing of things. When you feel comfortable with the class and the studio that you like working towards three times a week will build and sustain a strong and healthy body and mind. Classes are anywhere from average 60-90 minutes. Every studio is different. Often morning and noon classes are a bit shorter.

Q:  (Barbara)

What do you need to get moving? What should every yoga person have? A mat? What is the best type of work out clothes to wear? Do you need certain sneakers or will you be bare feet?

A:  (Tara)

All you need is lose, comfortable clothes, like a t-shirt, or tank top, and lose pants or shorts. Some studios have mats but you might want to have your own so you can practice at home also. Jade makes good mats. They are made of rubber and don’t slip. You’ll be bare feet also.

A:  (Barbara)

If a person isn’t flexible — if he or she can’t contort themselves into some of the yoga moves — what should they do? Will yoga increase their flexibility?

A:  (Tara)

Yoga builds strength and flexibility equally. Most poses have modifications so let the teacher know you are new and they’ll hopefully take care of you and show you how to modify the class for you. If you are overwhelmed in a class ever, rest in child’s pose until you can come back into the flow. It’s good to remember that there is always a harder and crazier pose that you won’t be able to do, so that makes everything sort of irrelevant. Just stay with your breath and go where your body will allow you to. The more you breathe, the more things will open up. Pushing and forcing makes things tighter.

Q:  (Barbara)

How do you focus during yoga? What are some tips to keep your mind at ease.   How do you keep it from wondering? How do you forget about your “to-do list” — How do you maintain focus?

A:  (Tara)

When your mind starts to wander to your thoughts try to guide your attention back to your breath. This is the practice. Our thoughts will probably never disappear, but we can become more aware of them and guide our focus back to our breath.

Q:  (Barbara)

What are 3 basic yoga moves?

A:  (Tara)

Down Dog: You’ll be seeing a lot of this one in yoga class. It’s the basic go-to pose great for building strength and flexibility.

Child’s pose: The ultimate resting position.

Tree Pose: Standing on one foot with the other pressing into your upper thigh. It’s basic, but always challenging.

Q:  (Barbara)

What are 3 yoga moves that are good for your back?

A:  (Tara)

All easy twists are great for your back. Boat pose and other poses that strengthen your abs prevent back pain so don’t forget to strengthen your core!

Q:  (Barbara)

What are 3 yoga moves that are good for your mind?

A:  (Tara)

All poses are good for your mind. No matter what your body is doing, the work is to keep your attention on the breath, not chasing after thoughts. This practice allows the chatter of our thoughts to settle and clears the way for intuition and awareness to emerge.

Q:  (Barbara)

Does yoga build muscle and will it build your strength? Does it burn many calories?

A:  (Tara)

Depends on the style you are practicing and how challenging it is for you. A physically challenging yoga class is the only workout you’ll need. Lots of our students at Strala are former gym members and devotees of personal trainers. They realized that our classes build strength, flexibility, and burn more calories than their gym workouts. Another benefit of yoga is that you feel great instantly after a good class and you find yourself wanting to keep that good feeling and start making better food and life choices.

Q:  (Barbara)

If you had to describe the feeling you get from yoga in 30 words or less — what would it be?

A:  (Tara)

Yoga is a practice that shows us who we are and what we can become. All we have to do is practice, and keep practicing.

Q:  (Barbara)

Yoga is…

A:  (Tara)

Your best health care plan.

Thanks Tara, you rock and you are so cool!

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