We spoke to yogi queen, Tara Stiles on running her successful business and how she stays healthy and happy.

What does being fit and healthy mean to you?

Self-care practice daily. Meditation. Strala. Eating well. Self-improvement. Mindfulness. No excuses.

What was the catalyst that inspired you to become a yoga teacher and all-round healthy living advocate?

I saw a problem when I moved to NYC in 2000. There were a couple of yoga studios and not everyone was in them. My goal was simple, to evolve a system of yoga to help people connect to themselves (and not to a guru) so they can take ownership and responsibility and get excited about self care. Strala evolved out of that.

With a successful yoga studio in New York City and workshops and teacher trainings the world-over – how did Strala come into tuition?

It started with a class in Central Park and a goal to help people feel good and connect to themselves. My background in dance and eastern arts started to craft a system of easy going natural movement that started to work incredibly well in helping people ignite their relaxation response while moving through simple and challenging moments alike. People started to feel better, heal themselves, and get empowered. I was hooked on orchestrating and helping and breathing with everyone. That’s the essence.

We loved your most recent book Make Your Own Rules Diet and are super excited to get our hands on your next one – Make Your Own Rules Cookbook! Can you give us a little sneak peak of your top 3 must-try recipes that the new book features?

Thanks! I’m in love with all the recipes celebrating my friends and family around the globe. My secret favorites are the Easy Miso, Lazy Pad Thai (I make a few times a week) and my Great grandma’s cookies!

What are a few of the healthy foodie staples that we would find in the kitchen of Tara Stiles?

I’m so simple. I’ve always got a wide variety of veggies and greens like spinach, cucumbers, carrots, apples, bananas, and bell peppers. For the pantry, I’m stocked on almond milk, coconut milk, mung beans, rice noodles, almond butter, peanut butter, and loads of hot sauce! With those ingredients I can make so much.

Describe your typical day on a plate…

Honestly it depends on where I am in the world and what my day looks like. If I’m traveling, I bring some simple snacks with me for the flight like fruit and nuts and loads of water and eat something simple when I land like soup or a simple salad. If I’m at home, I’m super spoiled with all the tools of my kitchen and the markets of NYC at my fingertips. I’ll whip up a smoothie or avocado toast for breakfast with some tea or coffee. For lunch I usually love a huge salad with loads of veggies and nuts with my favorite home made recipe of ginger, dijon, coconut milk and hot sauce. For dinner I love something warm and hearty, like my easy pad thai or veggie bake. I love experimenting with whatever I have in the house.

When first starting out with a yoga practice, mastering poses alongside much more advanced participants in a class can seem a little intimidating. What are your words of advice to yoga newbies who seek to improve their practice at home?

The comparison to poses is a big bummer in yoga. Honestly it was a big motivating factor to start Strala, a class that is about the experience of the process, rather than the poses. It’s hard to avoid comparing if you are in a class being told to do this pose, or do that pose, and if you can’t, here is the beginner version. That approach is so counter to the essence of the potential that yoga can do for us. By staying in the process, the goal becomes simply to feel good, expand our comfort zone by moving easily, and allow the attention to drift inward. Stay consistent to following how you feel, no matter what class you are in is a good start.

Do you have a healthy morning ritual? If so, what does it consist of?

Taking a few moments each morning to connect with my breath, right from bed. I love this simple meditation practice, and a few moments to remember my dreams, in case they have any hints or secrets for me.

We couldn’t agree more with the message that Make Your Own Rules Diet conveys – finding that healthy place within and without is very much about finding your own way. What are your tips for becoming more in tune with our bodies and creating a lifestyle that works for our unique selves?

Thanks so much. My main suggestion is to get in the process of self-care. There is no quick fix, but there is an enjoyable lifestyle that we can all attain. Find a few minutes in the morning to connect with your breath. Take some time during the day or after work for some easy-going yoga practice. Prioritize getting in your kitchen, experimenting with fresh ingredients, and nourishing yourself and those around you. By practicing self-care, you’ll get hooked on self care because it feels so great to take care.

We’re super excited for you to return next year to lead a teacher training course here in London! For all our aspiring yoga teacher readers, fill us in on what we can expect from the training and how we can get involved?

Thanks so much. I’m excited as well. It’s incredible to see Strala take off in London. We’ll be full for the training, so if you’re interested, save your space. In the training we dive into the concepts of moving easily and naturally, accomplishing more with less effort. We explore proper body position and a soft, continuous flow practice that takes a lifetime to master and is fun. We workshop a shiatsu based approach of touch and support aimed to help yourself and those you lead in finding the easiest way to accomplish simple and challenging moments alike, and find deep relaxation and healing. We step into elements of effective leading like voice, support and movement. The program is open to anyone interested in deepening their connection to self, finding an ease in approach to yoga and life.

More info on the program is here. http://strala.myshopify.com/collections/strala-training

Make Your Own Rules Cookbook by Tara Stiles (Hay House UK, £18.99) is out nowGet yours on Amazon here.

Image: Steven Goh

More Tara Stiles: Coco Chocolate Shake | Top 5 Tips For Yoga Newbies