New Years Resolutions – Yoga with Tara Stiles

I’m not usually one for setting New Year’s resolutions but 2015 is going to be different. This year I’m going to set resolutions, goals, monthly targets, in the hope that it will stop me procrastinating. I’m one of the world’s biggest procrastinators and I’m not proud of it. It’s time to change.

I still haven’t finished setting my resolutions. I haven’t even started planning out my goals and targets. And yes, I’m very aware that we’re almost at the end of January. But hey, I’m a procrastinator and old habits die hard.

I did set one resolution on 1st January though (and I’ve managed to keep it so far!) and that’s to do some regular yoga practice. For years, I’ve been one of those people that reads yoga magazines… but never actually does any yoga.

Make Your Own Rules Diet Tara Stiles

At Christmas, my friend Nicky gave me a copy of Tara Stiles ‘Make Your Own Rules Diet’. It’s an oddly titled book (especially as it’s not about dieting!) but that aside, I found it a thoroughly great read. The book covers three key elements that Tara believes are important for well being – yoga, meditation and food (all vegan recipes, yay!)

Make Your Own Rules Diet Tara Stiles

Of the three sections, my friend thought the yoga would be the least appealing to me but, surprisingly, it’s the one that’s left the biggest impression. I’ve been to a few yoga classes in the past but I’m so inflexible that I really struggled in them. However, Tara has such a gentle, encouraging approach that I wondered if it was time to give yoga another try. She says ‘If you can breathe, you can do yoga’. Really? Is that all you need to be able to do? Just breathe? Well, I thought, I can do that.

Make Your Own Rules Diet Tara Stiles

On Christmas morning, my hubbie and I decided to try one of Tara Stiles yoga sessions. We searched YouTube and spotted Flexibility and Range of Motion Beginner Yoga, which sounded perfect for us. In a flash, this stunning, strong, super bendy Tara appeared on our TV, flowing gracefully from one position to another… And then there was us two. I thought I was inflexible. M was miles worse. He could barely bend over. ‘How did this happen?’ he called out in horror.

I decided I must have super short arms… either that or Tara has abnormally long arms because how on earth does she reach her feet like that? Laying on the floor, she encourages us to lift one leg and hold onto whichever part of the leg feels comfortable. I can’t even get my legs perpendicular. I can barely grab onto my thigh let alone my foot. M can get his leg about 2 inches off the floor. We try desperately to reach for our legs. Any part will do. We catch sight of each other and we look so utterly ridiculous that we can’t help but burst out laughing.

Make Your Own Rules Diet Tara Stiles

Our first session is 9 minutes long but it goes by in a flash. We wave goodbye to Tara and evaluate what happened.

Well, we definitely need to start some daily stretching. I’m pretty sure most 80 years olds are more flexible than us.

We make the determination to do a couple of sessions a day with Tara over the course of the Christmas holidays – one in the morning and one in the evening – and see how we go. We both actually look forward to the sessions. Tara has got such a calm tone to her voice and she’s super encouraging. She keeps reminding us to stay within our limits. No strain. No pain. Now that’s my kind of yoga!

There are tons of Tara Styles sessions to choose from on YouTube but, for now, I’m sticking with a couple of the beginners sessions. I’ll move onto something more challenging when I feel ready. I especially love this one, filmed outside by a beautiful infinity pool. Just looking at that gorgeous sunshine, blue sky and water is really uplifting on a cold, dark January morning.

After just a week of doing Tara’s beginner sessions twice a day, I was already a touch more flexible and I definitely felt like I was walking taller. Imagine how tall I’ll be if I keep this up all year!

It’s now week 4 of January and I’m still enjoying these mini yoga sessions. I love the fact that I get to do them in the privacy of my own living room. It feels like I’m having personal 1-2-1 sessions with Tara. And it’s free too!

Considering where I’m starting, I’ve set three modest yoga goals for 2015…
(a) Touch my toes from standing (with legs straight)
(b) Touch my toes from sitting (with my legs straight out in front of me)
(c) Get my heels on the floor in Downward Dog

Here’s how far off I am at the moment…
(a) 7 cm
(b) 4 cm
(c) 5 cm

Once these are checked off, maybe I can up the stakes and aim for one of these handstands. How cool would that be?

Make Your Own Rules Diet Tara Stiles

Do you yoga? If so, I’d love to hear what kind of practice you do. Do you attend classes or practise at home?

Have you set any resolutions or goals for this year?

10 thoughts on “New Years Resolutions – Yoga with Tara Stiles

  1. Good for you!!! That’s so awesome, I feel like yoga is so beneficial for everyone. I used to be flexible… And went to yoga regularly before I went to New Zealand. I did my first yoga class in over a year, yesterday. I literally felt 1,000 years old…. I was soooo far from where I had been before!! I did feel amazing after though, so I can’t wait to get back into a regular practice!!

    1. I felt ancient on Christmas morning too, when I realised, to my horror, just how inflexible I was. It’s amazing how quickly you can improve though. Only a few weeks in and I already feel so much better. I even managed to touch my toes the other day. Yay! Since you already have a solid yoga base, I bet you’ll be back all bendy & flexible in no time at all xx

  2. That book sounds like me kind of ‘diet’ 🙂 Well done on getting off to such a constant start with yoga – I have tried over the years to do more pilates and it is hard to get into routines, but it sounds like you have found a system that works for you!

    And as someone who has never ever been able to touch their toes, I look forward to following your progress there. If you can do it, you may inspire me to have another go!

    1. Kari, these mini yoga workouts are amazing! After just 3 weeks I can now touch my toes after I’ve finished the session… both standing & sitting! With all the extra running I’ve been doing lately, the yoga couldn’t have come at a better time. The trick is definitely to get into a routine – I always do a session straight after I come back from a run (I’ve had no muscle aches even after my hard runs so I think the yoga’s helping with that too), then I try to fit it one more session before I go to bed xx

  3. I downloaded this because of you and I really enjoyed it, even though I do quite a bit of a yoga home practice. I was delighted that my morning proactice and hers was almost the same!

    I would say your legs are likely to be so tight because of running and cycling – both will tighten your leg muscles. You need a solid core foam roller and use it daily. Be prepared for pain, but it is worth it. Your running will improve as a result!! Look at youutbevideos to use it correctly – this is the one I have and it is brutal, but really does the job!

    1. Hey Jen! Thank you so much for the tips about foam rolling. I was actually reading about it last weekend and wondering whether I should buy one. I’m doing a lot of hill running at the moment which is making my hamstrings even tighter. I read that foam rolling helps prevent injury too which is a bonus as I’ve signed up to run the Bath Half Marathon for charity. It’s on March 1st so the next few weeks are going to be pretty intense. Definitely will buy the roller!

  4. Well done you .. and on Christmas Day too, so funny it made me laugh out loud! I should do more exercise, maybe my present circumstances will now allow me more time to get fit again!

    I don’t make resolutions but I do try to set attainable goals which I can reach if I put the effort in!

    1. Honestly Vicky, Christmas morning was like a scene out of a sitcom. I don’t know how we got ourselves in such bad shape, but I’m happy to report that after 3 weeks of yoga, I can now reach my toes! Woohoo! The next step is core strength… I’m not sure what’s happened to my stomach muscles but they seem to be on vacation at the moment!

  5. I am one of those people that reads yoga magazines, but never does any yoga (seriously). I love the little conversation between you and your hubbie, haha, after reading your story, I really need to get my body as flexible as possible. After meeting my grand-aunt in Melbourne for the very first time (the long lost relative), she’s only in her mid 80s, she still can touch her toes and practices Tai Chi everyday. She’s incredibly flexible! Please let me know how the yoga exercises go with you guys! Hope you had a wonderful holidays and a great start to the New Year!

    1. Hey Rika! I’m so relieved to hear I’m not the only person that reads about yoga rather than doing it! I’m in awe of your great aunt. That’s incredible that she can touch her toes at her grand age! Now I’ve started the yoga I’m definitely keeping it up as I’ve seen a huge improvement in my flexibility. Already I can touch my toes after I finish a session (something I haven’t been able to do in years!) My posture’s improved too and I feel like I’m walking taller. I’m so loving Tara Stiles right now!

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