A former model turned celebrity yoga pro and Nike collaborator. A former cross-country runner with who blends vinyasa with bumping cardio jams. A former English major who spreads the gospel of yoga’s benefits to the masses. These three inspiring yogis are all talented and insanely fit women who use their past experiences to bring fresh energy to the world of om. Whether you live and breathe on your mat or just take the occasional restorative class, find motivation with Tara, Erin, and Kathryn.
Tara Stiles (founder and owner of Strala Yoga)
When this self-professed anti-yoga yogi burst on the scene, traditional yoga practitioners weren’t thrilled about her spirituality-free approach. But Stiles persisted with her goal of making yoga accessible and has found
many followers who are grateful for the freeing philosophy. The former model’s NYC-based Strala studio has expanded around the world through partnerships with studios, gyms, and sports clubs and W Hotels. Stiles also has worked with Reebok on its yoga lifestyle clothing line and penned several successful books about yoga and nutrition.
What we love: Her positivity is contagious. Try her This Is Yoga dvd set for a refreshing home workout or download a one-hour class from her website and experience the Stiles style for yourself.
[photo credit: Town and Country]
Erin Jacques (former director of SLT Yoga)
This charismatic instructor used to head up New York City’s yoga outpost of Pilates studio SLT (which stands for Strengthen Lengthen Tone). While there, she gained a passionate following of yoga devotees who loved her fresh approach to the practice. Jacques was notorious for playing pop, rock, and R&B hits by the likes of Adele and Alicia Keys during her one-hour sessions. The former collegiate cross-country runner, personal trainer, director of yoga at Exhale Spa is now teaching at a variety of locations and serves as a private trainer while her fans await her next move.
What we love: Music + yoga = workout bliss! Jacques knows how to motivate people to work hard without that grueling feel-the-pain seriousness of other yoga classes. Hopefully she’ll bring her music-based workouts online one day for the rest of the country to try.
[photo credit: jasperphoto.com]
Kathryn Budig (founder of Aim True)
This high-profile yogi is a true spokeswoman for the practice. A talented writer to boot (she studied English and drama before beginning her yoga training), Budig shares her expertise and wisdom—with a welcome dash of humor—for publications including Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, Huffington Post, and MindBodyGreen. This celebrity instructor studied under legendary yoga figures Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller, so she knows her stuff, but Budig is great at bringing the technical and spiritual elements of the practice down to earth for everyone to appreciate.
What we love: Her “aim true” message is full of empowerment and self-acceptance, plus her food blog is full of delicious and healthy ideas for fueling up before a long mat session. Try one of her classes at online-yoga platform YogaGlo and look for a new book, Aim True, out next year.