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Stretch. Sip. Schedule & Focus. 4 Morning Habits That Make My Day

February 3, 2016
mbg Class Instructor
By Tara Stiles
mbg Class Instructor
Tara Stiles, founder of Stråla Yoga and author of "Clean Mind, Clean Body"
Photo by Matt McDonald / mbg creative
February 3, 2016

Up-and-at-em is my normal pace, whether I’m lucky to be around all the comforts of home or on the road in some new and interesting place for a Strala event.

I’ve always been pretty relaxed about finding the space, comforts, and routine that help me feel set up, energized, and inspired for the day.

Well, unless I’m up at 4 a.m. for teaching a big sunrise group yoga class followed by a full day of activities and fun, or those countless international overnight flights on which my morning routine consists of being shaken by a flight attendant, peeling off my eye mask, and realizing I’ve missed the breakfast round and we’re moments from landing.

Those mornings are about getting as much sleep as possible. Best prep for me is to not be too tired.

Honestly, I have zero complaints. My schedule is organized around exactly what I set out to do and so much more. I’ll let you in on my four biggest secrets of setting your day up for success right now.

You ready? You ready to have your whole being energized, creativity unleashed, and let loose your inner superhero?

Tara stretching
Photo by Matt McDonald / mbg creative

1. Simply stretch.

This is my morning meditation and yoga routine. I teach people to make the goal of yoga to sensitize and to connect with how they feel instead of trying to accomplish a yoga pose. It’s fun to deconstruct this idea by moving around your home in a way that feels good right as you wake up.

My moves ultimately evolve each morning into what looks like a yoga routine. A few lying down twists, a pigeon pose, and a couple of hip openers, and usually a few moments of seated meditation.

The secret to the effectiveness of the routine is paying attention to how you feel. You’re different every day and your routine will be too, if you’re listening to how you feel.

Becoming sensitized allows your body the space to heal imbalance, drop tension, build strength evenly, and calm and focus the mind. Otherwise you’re just doing external yoga poses.

I can see why there are past and current trends of so many environmental factors being added to “yoga” to make it more exciting: cardio, weights, dark room, candles, heavy metal.

When yoga is just about the poses, we can exploit any possible accessory to spice it up, to make it more exciting. When it’s about how you feel and your inner world, you’ll dive into a rabbit hole of endless magic. You’re all the spice you need, more than you can possibly imagine.

Tara making tea
Photo by Matt McDonald / mbg creative

2. Sip and fuel.

Since every day is different and I’m paying attention to how I feel, I don’t drink or eat the same thing each morning, but I do have some pretty useful go-to options in my morning repertoire.

I gab a lot, whether it’s teaching classes or giving a talk, so I like to drink and eat what’s good for my body and energy as well as my voice. Basically I get all my tips from Christina Aguilera. Now if only I could sing!

Sipping on Traditional Medicinals Cup of Calm tea is nice pretty early in the morning to clear out any roughness from tension, travel, or long days. Sometimes I even enjoy Cup of Calm before bed, depending on the day!

Oatmeal with maple syrup or my favorite smoothie of spinach, banana, and almond milk is a next great step. It’s like a first breakfast depending on the day’s schedule.

After morning classes at Strala or a morning event, there is usually an opportunity for a second breakfast like avocado toast or scrambled eggs. Hot sauce everywhere.

Tara meditating
Photo by Matt McDonald / mbg creative

3. Schedule it.

I fall on the practical side of manifesting. It’s a little something I like to call, getting $#!+ done.

The more people I find whose positive impact on the world I admire, the more I find the same redeeming qualities: tireless persistence of positive, selfless action; fierce ability to go against the grain; staying true to the purpose of a vision; and day-after-day good old-fashioned work.

There are so many distractions and in general busy-ness that can get weeded out when you put down the social media, schedule the things you need to do, and get to work.

Tara knitting
Photo by Matt McDonald / mbg creative

4. Focus your attention on others.

Put your attention on those you come across during the day. Be of service. Open doors. Listen when people are talking. Really listen.

It’s more important to be compassionate and listen to the stories of those around you than to force them to understand yours. Not only is it more important, but it’s energizing, interesting, and offers bucket-loads of perspective for whatever you’re aiming your attention toward in your life.

I like to spend a few minutes in the morning knitting hats for friends. It’s a fun, meditative practice that feels nice to create something comforting for others.

So when you finish up your tea or coffee sipping, meditation, morning yoga, and healthy breakfast, put yourself in service, and most importantly, don’t make a big deal about it.

Tara Stiles author page.
Tara Stiles
mbg Class Instructor

Tara Stiles is the founder of Strala Yoga, a revolutionary approach to healing through movement. She's also the author of Clean Mind, Clean Body. Thousands of guides are leading Strala classes around the globe in partner studios, gyms, and clubs. Strala has been illustrated in a case study by Harvard Business School, and its philosophy of ease and conservation of energy are incorporated by business leaders, entrepreneurs, and well-being professionals.

Stiles teamed up with W Hotels on Fit with Tara Stiles—a program bringing Strala Yoga classes and healthy recipes to W properties around the globe. She collaborated with Reebok, working closely with the design team on their yoga lifestyle range, as well as developed a line of knitwear and homeware with Wool and the Gang. Stiles has authored several books including Yoga Cures, Make Your Own Rules Cookbook, and Strala Yoga, all translated and published in several languages. She has been profiled by the New York Times, Times of India, The Times.