Tara Stiles Get Real About What Pregnancy Taught Her
The radiant Tara Stiles is the founder of Strala, a global yoga company. Thousands of Guides lead Strala classes around the world in studios, gyms, and health clubs, and Strala is practiced by a very large online community in nearly 100 countries. Strala has been illustrated in a case study by Harvard Business School, and its practices of ease and connection are incorporated by business leaders, entrepreneurs, and well-being professionals everywhere.
Tara teams up with W Hotels, bringing Strala Yoga and healthy recipes to W properties around the globe. She collaborated with Reebok to create the Reebok Yoga lifestyle range, and has authored several best-selling books, including Yoga Cures, Make Your Own Rules Cookbook, and Strala Yoga, all translated and published in many languages. She has been profiled by The New York Times, Times of India, The Times (UK), and featured in most major national and international magazines.
Tara supports the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, President Clinton’s initiative to combat childhood obesity, bringing Strala classes to more than 30,000 participating schools.
You’ve talked a lot about slowing down. How has this pregnancy changed your pace with work and life?
I’ve really prioritized a lot more efficiently than I’ve done over the years. I used to feel like a ping pong ball running or flying from one thing to the next and since this pregnancy, I’ve realized what I feel like I could have done better all along. Everything still gets done when you don’t go a mile a minute and the amazing thing with more space and time, I feel more grounded and connected to my passions. Things have grown so much richer and deeper with my work and life and I have this little one inside to thank for what I couldn’t navigate before.
What has pregnancy taught you about your body?
How we live, feel and think is right there in the body. I’m learning the wisdom of the body through pregnancy. The universe is doing all the work and I’m going along for the ride. I feel an excitement for physical, mental and emotional self care much stronger than before. I feel like I took care of myself all right before and my inspiration was to be of better service in the world. Now I understand more fully self care works the best when your main inspiration is the joy of self care itself. From this place I feel I can truly be of service. It has a different level of centeredness and understanding now.
You are a Yogini and business mogul what are your tips for a mom who wants to grow a budding business?
I think Moms in many ways have a great advantage of time management that a lot of us who started our businesses before a family took for granted. I spent years running in many directions because there was no real responsibility or schedule other than my own to keep. Moms may be able to side step this growing pain by who is around to take care of and what schedule they are on. Besides this advantage, its’ always important to be a bit flexible with how you think things should look as you build a business. Doing several things that catch your interest and seeing how it plays out is a great way to grow and to see which avenue catches on. If you’re not having fun it won’t work. Always make sure to check for joy. If it’s missing, see if you can reconfigure to find it again. It’s bound to be there somewhere.
You’re a wiz with book writing, how do you get it done? Is there a new book in the works?
Oh thanks. I enjoy writing books, we’ll see how it goes! I’ve got a new idea outside of my yoga and wellness roots that I’m excited about. Stay tuned!
What are your favorite yoga positions for pregnancy comfort?
Easy-going movement every day has been essential for me. My practice looks so different depending on how I feel. Now I’m loving movements that feel really stable like warrior 2 and high lunges and anything that opens up my sides, hips and back like half moon and tree.
Being a foodie with your own bestselling cookbook, what foods are you nourishing yourself with this pregnancy?
It’s changed a bit through the months on what feels good in my body. We spent a couple weeks in Spain between Strala events in Europe in the early fall and I was all about the fruits and fresh greens. Literally a big salad for breakfast made me super happy each day. Now that I’m back in NYC and in my 3rd trimeter I’m making a lot of hearty soups, gobbling up the oatmeal, and even baking cookies occasionally. Snacking on simple things like banana and almond butter has felt really good. I eat more often and smaller portions than before. My endless quest to reduce the amount of coffee I was drinking was made easy by morning sickness. I’ll have a decaf when meeting up with a friend, but I’m happy not to be hooked like I was before. The nesting really did take over!
Have you had any surprise cravings?
In the beginning I was in Asia for 5 weeks and all I wanted was bagels. That didn’t happen until back in NYC. By the second trimester I was pretty much back to normal, with the exception of needing to eat something small every so often to feel good. Now I have a crazy thing for cold and slushy things. I’ll literally make a snow cone out of ice and water and a dash of lemonade or oj and be so happy to chomp on that.
Have you and Mike gone on a baby moon?
We travel so much for Strala. We were in Asia for 5 weeks in the beginning but it was so back to back with events. Literally a day in Australia and 2 days in the Maldives in between Singapore, Malaysia and Bali kind of thing. Then Europe for 2 months was a little more relaxed. We had a program in London and a training in Berlin with some open time in between. I had an event in Dubai and then we took a couple weeks just for fun in Ibiza to relax. We cooked every day, went to the beach, read and relaxed. It was awesome.
You’re a world traveler, what are some of the first places your baby’s passport book will be stamped? She’s headed to London and Amsterdam and France with us this fall! I hope she likes to travel!
What’s your self-care practice look like nowadays?
It’s interesting to me that I do a lot of the same self care practices as before but the reason is completely shifted. Before I took care of myself so I could be more productive. Now I take care of myself so I can feel great and have good energy. I know when I do that everything else falls into place and everything becomes a self care practice, not just the acts of self care like yoga, meditation, taking a bath and things like that. Although I do all of those things regularly, for me the real benefit is in the mindset shift. Every moment becomes a self care moment.
What are your favorite must-have products that have helped you this pregnancy?
I’m always so simple when it comes to products. Coconut butter and oil over my whole body, especially the belly has become a daily thing and again I wonder why I didn’t do this before. It’s the best moisturizer.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Everyone has such a different experience with pregnancy. I love hearing stories from Moms who have been there before. There is something magical about that wisdom that gets passed down from family, friends and even strangers. An asian lady came up to me on the street a few weeks ago and said, a little more time, she’s not ready quite yet. She could tell by the position of my belly that the baby hadn’t dropped yet. I just loved that moment. That universal sisterhood makes us strong. Ultimately our own experience is deeply personal and unique. We have so much more freedom than we might think to enjoy this time in our lives.
Tara with her baby girl Daisy.
Follow Tara at TaraStiles