Tara Stiles on Balancing Business and Baby
Big life changes can throw off even the most prepared individuals, but if there’s anyone who has mastered the art of going with the flow, it’s Tara Stiles.
Tara, founder of Strala Yoga and rebel yoga trailblazer, started her yoga career by setting up a sign in Central Park offering up a free weekly yoga class to a group of regulars and anyone who walked by and wanted to join in.
Later down the road, she upgraded to a makeshift studio in a living room. Tara wasn’t certain where her efforts would take her, but her ability to embrace the unknown has allowed her to build what is now an international yoga business.
With a YouTube channel, weekly newsletters, seemingly never-ending travel plans, and Strala Partner Studios, Tara has a lot on her hands. Oh, and one more thing, Tara and her husband, Mike, are expecting a baby!
At about the halfway mark of her pregnancy, Tara is still continuing business as usual for the most part. Taking everything day by day, Tara is learning how to honor her work, her body’s changes, and her happiness.
What advice do you have for business women who are going through any life change?
Self-care, I think, is the number one thing that makes everything better, and it’s often the number one thing that we ignore. Especially as women, we put self-care on the back burner and we think we have to do everything first before we take care of ourselves.
If I do feel stressed or I do get sick, I know it’s because I’m not taking care of myself; I’m not sleeping enough, I’m not cooking as many meals at home, or I’m missing my movement practice. I think a lot of women are trained to think, “If I sleep less, I get a prize. If I eat on the go or eat at my desk people will think, and I will think, that I’m working harder. I think that’s a dangerous approach. You’ll still get a lot done, but you’ll eventually hit a ceiling. If you just flip the priorities to know that if you sleep well, eat well, and move well, your life will shift and change and open up in all the directions that you desire.
You and your husband have a lot going on, running Strala and handling all of your other business endeavors. With this new life event added to your plate, are you changing your business strategy at all?
Honestly not so much. We’ll play it by ear, but we plan on doing everything the same and just bringing the little one along. I’m lucky I have a lot of people in my life who will take care of the baby if I need it; my parents are still alive and healthy and my brother is there to help, too. We are continuing to expand and grow and I’m so happy with the business. It’s great and fun and I get to work with Mike so we have each other in a way. We’re also able to make our own schedule. Although it’s busy and hectic, there’s flexibility and random days off here and there. I think we’ll have fun, but we’ll see, who knows? Haha!
Have you considered hiring a team to help spread out the workload?
We have strategic partners and several people we work with who are experts in fields we need, like video production, web building, and work like that. We have a lot of help and support, but I’m not a fan of hiring people who can do work that I know we can accomplish more meaningfully and efficiently. I’m not the type to have an assistant. I have a few mentors who have amazing, impactful companies who feel the same about their business and communicating with people directly, not through a chain of command.
Have you noticed any major changes in your yoga practice?
“It does feel great to move every day and keep a practice going to feel strong in my body and mind.”
The way we practice Strala is very centered around natural movement and paying attention to how you feel. Having this type of background, I don’t have to shift much from that idea. The principles stay the same, but what actually feels good in my body now is very different than what felt good 6 months ago. There are obvious movements that don’t feel good now, like lying on my belly and a lot of big openers and back bends. I know a lot of gals love to keep their inversions going while pregnant but, for me, it feels not so great with the baby in there. I feel like this little lady wants to do her own moves and keep me right side up. It does feel great to move every day and keep a practice going to feel strong in my body and mind.
You’re a very healthy person already, but are you doing anything differently in your daily life to support your health?
I’m paying a little more attention to all three pillars: sleeping enough, eating well and moving often. I’m going to bed a little earlier and I laid out a yoga mat right by my bed so I move around a little more regularly. I’m making sure to have regular trips to the farmers market so the kitchen is always stocked with healthy foods.
As for movement, I make sure I get something in every day. I can tell a difference. I was in Amsterdam not too long ago, and I felt kind of crappy one day and I realized really quickly that I hadn’t done 20-30 minutes or an hour of practice in two days and I felt kind of crabby. So I went back to the hotel and did my movement routine and I felt a lot better instantly.
For those of you who feel stuck in a rut and want to break the cycle to start feeling better, Tara suggests just focusing on one of the three pillars to start. “If you just change one aspect of your life, you’ll start to see all the other changes unfold easily,” says Tara. For her, movement is the best one to start with because movement forces you to be present in your body.
How do you prioritize your well-being in times of change or stress? Let us know in the comments below.
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