Tara Lee's been on my radar for a few years as we share mutual friends. She came highly recommended as a yoga instructor and I've been doing her yoga DVDs at home for a long time, which have been convenient, effective and useful, especially alongside my running habits. I used her pregnancy and postnatal yoga DVDs and she's recently released two excellent DVDs called Solar Energise & Inspire and Lunar Rebalance & Recharge - one morning routine to give you more energy, inspiration and enthusiasm for the day ahead and one to help balance your nervous system, relieve stress and relax you in the evening, enabling you to sleep better. Tara has a beautiful, calming style and incredible yoga knowledge as she's been practicing for over 20 years. She teaches a dynamic, vinyasa flowing style of yoga, taking influences from ashtanga, sivananda and para yoga traditions. Tara features regularly on Sky TV and has been placed by the Evening Standard as one of the top 5 yoga teachers in the UK. She's released a new yoga mat called The Bump Mat, which is extra thick and was designed to help pregnant women and anyone who has knee issues or who just want more padding and comfort for their yoga.
Here Tara talks about the benefits of yoga, natural health and beauty.
1) Tara lovely to meet you at last. How long have you practised yoga and what brought you to it?
I have been practicing yoga for over 20 years (more than half my life)! I started at university when a friend asked if I would join her at a class and I have never looked back!
2) How does yoga make you feel? What are the benefits to you?
It makes me feel calm, yet energised. It helps give me perspective and makes me feel inspired. Yoga gives me a feeling of connection both to myself and others. It helps keep me sane in this crazy, busy world and gives me more patience! It also helps me feel like I can better manage juggling motherhood and work.
3) How quickly do you feel that yoga take its effect on your clients? What changes do you and they tend to notice when they take up the practice?
I think most people will notice an immediate effect after their first class! It doesn’t take long. In fact, as soon as you start to connect to your breathing, you notice changes as you are directly impacting the nervous system. Most people notice they have more energy, feel calmer and are less reactive to stress. They feel better in their bodies and build strength and flexibility if they practice regularly, which prevents injuries and keeps the body healthy. My students report sleeping better and enjoy a general feeling of wellbeing. My pregnant students also comment that they experience less aches and pains and that the yoga often helps them with their labour.
4) What does a healthy diet look like to you?
I like to include as many fresh, natural foods as possible to give me optimum energy. I personally avoid processed food, sugar, caffeine, meat, wheat and dairy. I love cold pressed juices and smoothies.
5) Have you ever been on a yoga retreat and if so, where, for how long and how did you feel afterwards?
I have been to Costa Rica the last two years to study with my teacher. I feel as though I am literally floating staying in the jungle, doing yoga, meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises) 6 hours a day. It’s the best feeling!
6) What’s your favourite style of yoga and why?
My favourite style of yoga is Para Yoga. This is a style based on the Tantric yoga tradition. The reason why I favour this style (after trying many others) is that it works on a much deeper level, going beyond just the physical. It moves into the deeper koshas or layers of our being, accessing the more subtle body. It incorporates more subtle energetic work within the asanas, employing the use of bandhas, breath work (pranayama), mantra and meditation. I am also fascinated by the philosophy and psychology underlying the practice.
7) Where do you love to go on holiday?
Morocco holds a special place in my heart as I got engaged and married there. I also love Costa Rica for it’s jungle, beaches and wonderful people.
8) Do you have a favourite healthy cafe/restaurant?
9) What kind of meals do you cook at home for your family? Is there a favourite meal that you can recommend?
I like to cook delicious soups in the winter and fish and salads in the summer. I recently discovered how to make Miso Cod which my daughter loves and is easier than I expected! You can easily google the recipe.
I also like to make big batches of ribolitta stew after a friend shared the recipe with me recently. I love to make energy balls and raw chocolate with my kids!
10) Where in the world serves your favourite food?
I love Mediterranean and Asian food. Give me fresh fish with vegetables or salad and I’m very happy!
11) What is your beauty routine like and do you have a can’t live without product?
My beauty routine is quite quick. My morning routine can take a while though as I usually do yoga and meditation first thing. I like natural products as much as possible like Pai, Neal's Yard, Ila and Aromatherapy Associates. When I have time, I do oil pulling with an Ayurvedic blend first thing in the morning. I also love to use essential oils. My can’t live without product is sesame oil, which I regularly massage onto my skin. This makes me sleep well as it is helpful for balancing the Vata dosha as an Ayurvedic treatment.
12) What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
Stop worrying about what other people think of you. Surround yourself with people who support and elevate you. Believe in yourself and follow your dreams!
Thank you Tara.
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