Book Review: Tara Stiles' Slim Calm Sexy Yoga

mbg Co-Founder & Co-CEO By Colleen Wachob
mbg Co-Founder & Co-CEO
Colleen Wachob is Co-Founder and Co-CEO at mindbodygreen.
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Slim Calm Sexy Yoga is the debut book from Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga and private instructor to Deepak Chopra. These three words -- slim, calm, and sexy -- have different interpretations for every woman. For me, it's healthy, patient, and confident. Whatever these words mean to you, you may be wanting to bring a little more of one of these blissful states into your life. And Tara Stiles is just the woman to help you do that.

I can personally vouch for the transformative power of Tara's yoga. After years of flirting with yoga (a class once a week or so), I've become hooked on Strala Yoga and developed a regular practice. After five months, I've become stronger, re-set my circadian rhythm and become more patient with myself (on and off the mat).

Slim Calm Sexy provides you with the yoga poses primer and a series of fifteen minute routines to help you cultivate the right practice for you, your body, and your mind. The "Essential Poses" section is the perfect introduction to key moves, including her signature high-lunge twists, before building the yoga routines. Whether you are a beginner, wanting to understand the fundamentals or a seasoned yogi who wants to target a specific heath need, Tara's routines can help with a wide variety of goals. In fact, she offers road maps for everything from toning abs, to alleviating anxiety to improving digestion, and bonding with your partner. Having trouble falling asleep? Try some seated easy twists and spine twists. Sluggish after a long flight? Try some lunges, Warriors 3, and plank splits. After reading Tara's routines, you'll be rolling out the mat before you reach for the aspirin or Ambien.

Tara emphasizes the mind-body benefits of yoga, which is backed-up by lots of scientific studies as well as Tara's own life. She is a living embodiment of the mental acumen and self-awareness one cultivates through a regular yoga practice. Moving slowly with your breadth is underlying every movement, and there's a series of breathing routines and meditation sequences to help quiet the mind and connect with the breath.

Tara has a straight-forward dialogue on the weight-loss and body toning benefits of yoga. Although someone probably wouldn't think twice about consulting a personal trainer or Pilates instructor on toning exercises, talking to a yoga instructor about weight loss can seem taboo. Buy why? Yogis know the nuances of the body better than anyone. And appreciating yoga's physical benefits doesn't diminish the spiritual ones. Talking openly about yoga's weight-loss benefits, will ultimately entice more people to hit the mat, increase yoga's influence, and enable more people to experience its greater health benefits.

Slim Calm Sexy's message, however, is much more profound than fitting into Skinny Jeans. Yoga as a "health tool" enables the body and mind to work in lock-step so that "you can start to trust your intuition and sharpen your awareness when it comes to health." Whether it's dealing with insomnia, seasonal allergies, carpal tunnel syndrome or the occasional hangover, a yoga practice will ultimately enable us to be the healing agents of our bodies and our own health gurus. If B.K.S. Iyengar's Light on Yoga is the Old Testament of yoga, Slim Calm Sexy Yoga is yoga's New Testament. But with way better pictures.

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