Tara Stiles gives me something to do

Posted on August 13th, 2013

One of my favourite things to do when travelling is try out yoga classes. Especially in big cities. And especially when I’m frazzled. And one of my favourite I’ve tried is yoga teacher to the stars Tara Stiles’ vinyasa class at her Soho studio Strala. I was there last Wednesday.

Yoga at Tara's studio.

Yoga at Tara’s studio. In my green shorts.

Tara’s class is a dance. And a wholly impressive exercise in gentleness.

There I was in crow pose to the strains of Red Hot Chilli Pepper. There I was holding Warrior #2 for five minutes to Run DMC. And there was Tara purring her encouragement in her mesmerising lilt, skipping around the class to adjust and touch us on the ankles, chuckling like a little girl. She chuckles the whole time.

But this is what is truly lovely. Throughout the class, when inviting us to take a pose further, she repeats this:

“It’s just something to do”

You know, no other purpose. No big aim. No mandate. Just to try it.

She follows with something a few of my yoga and meditation teachers have shared over the years:

“Nowhere to go, nothing to do.”

 My God! There isn’t, is there.

The joy of her invitation – to take crow into side crow or to grab your ankle in half pigeon for no real reason – strikes me just as I try to do exactly that. I realise that everything can be done, you know, just for kicks. Because there is nowhere to go, nothing to do. Ever. It’s in the very applying yourself to this mindset, that joy floods in.

To do something with no end-point, no mandate, no carrot (no external reference) you must come in close and focus (internally) on what exists when there is no grand aim. And you know what’s there?

My goodness, it’s gentle joy!

Each time Tara issued the invite I sank further into The Big Fat Whateverness of it all.

We all need more of these invites, don’t you think?

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  • Em

    My god, you hit the nail on the head for me. What a revelation, to have no carrot; to be motivated from some quiet voice within rather than a mental dictator or a (misguided) promise of what the rest of the world will think/do/say in response to your bloody minded drive.

    But how important to aim for (the doing ‘for something to do’), since all those other motivations leave one empty and unsatiated after all.

    Thanks as always Sarah.

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  • http://www.fuelurbanwellness.com Amanda Daley @fuelurbanwellness.com

    Oh I attended her classes in NY last year too – they are SO great!! I particularly loved the ‘freestyle’ nature of her classes. And I love the community vibe the studio there has :)

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  • Ian

    Gentle joy … love that Sarah.

    Praying you are able to hold onto that on your travels … x

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  • steph

    Love this.

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  • Stormie

    My word, how she sounds like MY vinyasa teacher! She is adamant about not pushing yourself too far, that everything we do is perfect no matter what stage we reach. To move for pleasure is a thing of beauty and healing, for sure.

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  • http://www.mumsjugglingact.com/yoga-why Jana

    I love TARA! I’ve been following her for years. I use her YouTube videos daily for some morning lounge room yoga! So jealous you got to go to her actual studio! WOW!

    Jana :) xx

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  • Charmaine

    Loved this thankyou!

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  • Lauren

    So jealous! I can’t wait to take one of Tara’s classes. Thank you for that beautiful summation! Your writing is always sublime xx

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  • http://www.cassandrallen.blogspot.com Cassandra Allen

    Stellar post Sarah! Loved it. Re-read it.

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  • http://SourcesOfInsight.com J.D. Meier

    It’s a great reminder how letting go, helps us hold on … to our bliss (from the inside out.)

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  • Missmac

    I also love doing yoga while travelling, minimal exercise gear and I’ve found it really helps that jetlag feeling. I did some great vinyasa in Harlem last year, and am now in the UK on holidays where I did a class in Glasgow. So nice to have the familiarity of yoga in foreign cities.

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