Strong Vinyasa with Tara Stiles at Strala Yoga

Tara Stiles
Tara Stiles

The new house of (Tara) Stiles, Strala Yoga is a breath of fresh air downtown. I finally stopped by last week. A beautiful loft on Broadway and Houston, Strala has magical light and expansive space. A cozy little corner of art and couches invites you to move in. There’s a long wall of mirrors in the back, from its previous life as a Crunch gym, but that only adds to the Real World Yoga feeling. I kind of don’t want to share such a gorgeous uncrowded space, but I have to support their admirable affordable pricing just $10 for all classes! Even the 90-minute ones! And those with Ms. Supermodel herself.

Classes are Vinyasa flow, but they use a unique system of levels. Instead of Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced, the classes are called Strong, Relax, or Recover. I took a “Strong” class; it was a steady stream of burning poses, but really chill in tone. Tara is super friendly and easy going. She reminded us to use as little energy as needed for each pose, a lesson I could stand to take into other areas of my life. (Or even my front quad as we held Warrior II. Again.)

The Relax classes are aimed one notch easier, towards stretching versus strengthening. The Recover classes let you rest a bit longer in each pose, a nice complement once a week at least. I really like the naming focused on WHY you’re taking the class, instead of who you think you are.

I also took a Strong class with Tara’s husband Mike. [Full disclosure: I do some consulting for his web firm.] He’s also perfectly laid-back and cheerful, even as he demos and dishes some ab-twitching pose. I’ve seen him take back-to-back classes before teaching his own. He combined the Strala sequencing and the studio’s eclectic playlist to keep us smiling throughout class.

Tara is an inspiration, styling yoga for a modern, multitasked life. Check out her million free videos on YouTube, her iPhone app with Deepak Chopra, or her new book on Amazon. Or stop by Strala and see if you can figure out how she makes it look so easy.

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