Catching up with yoga guru Tara Stiles

Tara Stiles

New York based creator of Strala Yoga, Tara Stiles, is that girl. You know, the one guys love and the girls want to be. Funny, kind and super talented (not to mention her rocking body), Stiles is the first to collaborate with the W Hotels on their new global FIT program. We caught up with her at the W Bali, the third in a series of glam retreats around the world for 2014.

This sounds like a dream job. What’s the catch?

Seriously, there isn’t one! Strala’s about having a good time and being carefree. I’d say the same about the W. It’s a work hard, play hard mentality and experiencing fashion, music, culture – and now fitness – while travelling. We’ve made some great in-room videos geared towards travelers. Poses for getting ready, boosting energy and detoxing.

Tell us a little more about the Strala philosophy and how it all got started.

When I moved to New York I was going to all these different studios and workshops that were contradicting each other and I began to see a great divide. I was seeing a lot of people getting discouraged because they couldn’t achieve the goal of the pose.

I just wanted to share a class that was fun, approachable and accessible, so I played contemporary music and started describing everything in English, making it more about the process itself. It’s a more fluid, graceful, easygoing approach that hadn’t really existed in yoga and there was great feedback. I was never trying to develop a style of yoga, it just evolved naturally.

Books, brand expansion, charities, a line with Reebok, The W …how do you fit it all in?

I never got into this with the intention of making it a job, so everything I do is a choice and something I genuinely want to be doing. I’m also one of those people who is comfortable wherever I am. I love the studio and being home in NY, but I also love travelling.

That sunrise class under Buddha in the holy Balinese temple as part of the W FIT by Tara Stiles retreat was very cool….

Yes, it was an incredible experience. A lot of people say that Strala’s very non-traditional. But from my perspective, having done every type of yoga my whole life, I don’t feel like I’m breaking away from anything. I just feel like I’m bringing the authenticity of my own experience and perhaps that’s something that other people can connect with as well. Being in such a traditional environment was really special.

How do you nourish your body? How strict are you when it comes your diet?

I eat lots of chocolate but I don’t binge or splurge. I just follow how I feel and prioritise eating the good things. I’ve been into cooking for a long time and I always carry healthy snacks. I’m not crazy worried about having to be a certain size or anything because I know that if I eat well then that’s how my body’s meant to be at that particular stage of life. I have a holistic approach. And I love chocolate-coated espresso beans!


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Carli Philips
Carli is currently the Melbourne contributing editor of luxury interiors and design magazine, Belle. Her editorial work has been published in Elle, Grazia, Harpers Bazaar, Vogue Living, Inside Out, Nylon, Russh, Virgin Voyeur in-flight, Sunday Style, The Age, Business of Fashion, L’Officiel, Wish Magazine and The Australian for which she contributes to the fashion pages. An avid traveller with a keen eye for design and fashion, Carli has been a contributor to global trend forecasting agency WGSN and a consultant on various specialty projects. She’s also keenly interested in health and fitness with activewear being her usual attire.