Tag Archives: guru

Demystifying the Art with TOLA YOGA

What is Yoga? 

You know how many times I’ve been asked this question in the past 12 years, from men, women and children (and mostly men). Because knowing the definition of Yoga is much different than understanding this physical and mental art form, including the similarities and differences between the many styles of Yoga, e.g., Vinyasa Flow, Kundalini, Asthanga. Not to mention how each style uniquely impacts your body and your mind. Which is all good, no doubt, regardless of style. And don’t forget your spirit, although that aspect is much less tangible in all Yoga.

So what can a Yoga master with a passion for fitness spanning more than five decades, beginning with Jack LaLanne in the 1960’s, do to demystify that age-old question?

That’s simple: create another style that specifically caters to the fitness-minded individual.

One year ago I introduced Tola Yoga to the world with live classes on Periscope and YouTube: http://youtube.com/RichTolaYoga.

Although my Tola Yoga brand was born in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, it’s conception occurred 11 years earlier on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. That’s right, I taught my first “Stars of the Future” class on August 4, 2006 at New York Yoga. And what a rush it was! Kudos and thank you so much to all the amazing Yoga teachers who influenced and inspired me throughout my 200 hours of training…Jenny, Nixa, Michael, Karl, Rita, Lori, Molly, Sam, Kristen and Emily.

Because success is best served with a strong foundation. As well as passion and perseverance. And if you’re lucky, your life’s colorful journey will be long, prosperous and rather trying at times. But if you live what you love, happiness will follow you everywhere.

No doubt. And how’s this for serendipity: the other day I was in the drug store and came across this writing pad with that exact phrase, LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE. In colors just like that. So I had to buy it. And repeat it…to you today and to myself everyday, along with a few other mantras.

Keep rockin-it everyone, in whatever you do, and don’t forget your daily workout! Peace – R

100 Days of TOLA YOGA in Seattle

This past weekend I celebrated my 100th day of living in the Emerald City while teaching Tola Yoga to more than 700 students in 63 classes.

And just like Seattleites love their coffee strong and flavorful, there’s no doubt they love my fitness style of Tola Yoga – which is also strong and flavorful. And if there’s anything more plentiful than a corner Starbucks in this town, it has to be these two elements: hills and rain.

No doubt.

Coming from a fitness and yoga dude who spent 100 days living in San Francisco (in 2012) and walking up California Street once a day, you gotta believe me, it’s true. Just try walking to the top of Queen Anne Avenue starting at Denny Way, or better yet, walk up James Street from Yesler Way to Broadway and you be the judge. And good luck if you’re carrying a 20 pound gym bag full of books, water and yoga gear – like I always do. Well, at least I can say I’m in the best shape of my life. As for the never-ending rain, well, it’s one of those things you get used to. I suppose 🙂

On that note, here are the five key highlights of my first 100 days in Seattle:

  1. Explored more than two dozen neighborhoods and cultural attractions including the iconic 605-ft-tall Space Needle, the beautiful Olympic Sculpture Park and Northlake Marina overlooking downtown Seattle (see pics),
  2. Established myself at six health clubs and yoga studios around town – currently teaching six weekly classes including one corporate client near Safeco Field (Go Mariners!),
  3. Spent three days kicking-the-bricks in the very clean and cosmopolitan, Vancouver, BC,
  4. Re-read five classic books including The Power of One, The Fountainhead, The World According to Garp, Tess of the D’Ubervilles and Great Expectations, and
  5. Worked out 100 days plus took a plethora of yoga classes with some wonderful yoginis.

Hope your previous 100 days were as plentiful and exciting as mine were.

Have an amazing St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Peace – R

PS…if you haven’t read a good book lately – and I’m talking about the good ‘ole fashioned hard copy kind – then give one of mine a try.

Go With All Your Heart

Many years ago, my sister gave me this polished piece of black stone inscribed with this:

Wherever You Go, Go With All Your Heart

I’ve keep it by my bed ever since, to remind me of what should be. For everyone on the planet.

Because it’s all about shining your light – coming from your heart, that is – out into the Universe in the most positive, truthful and heartfelt way.

Hey, what do you expect coming from a Yoga dude who’s been practicing and teaching this mind-body-spirit, self-love and self-respect, “it’s a lifestyle” practice for over twelve years.

Think about it. Wouldn’t life be grand If you shared the very best of you…all the time. You know the one: upbeat, positive, smiling, confident, respectful and considerate. To name a few.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Peace – R

Happy Autumn Everyone…Make it a Cleansing One!

Summer’s over and you’re back in the groove while sportively enjoying the August-like weather.

Now what? How about making the first day of Autumn a great time for a change. A simple change, one that involves deleting a bad habit from your daily repertoire.  It doesn’t have to be a major lifestyle change, i.e., quit smoking cigarettes or partying every weekend. Although that would be awesome if you could – which you definitely can, no worries, just pick an easy one like replacing your lunchtime soda with water, or stop eating bread and butter before your meal.

Easier said then done, you might say, but that’s BS…because you can do anything you set your mind to. So make it a cleansing Fall everyone, and drop bad habits like acorns from an oak tree!

Peace – R

Whatever You Do, Finish Strong…Like Usain Bolt

Nine-time Olympic Gold medalist and the world’s fastest man (for the past 10 years), Usain Bolt, confidently concedes that “there are faster starters than me but I’m a strong finisher”.YogaStylesVoiceOver

Because no matter when you begin your new venture or how quickly you come out of the starting blocks, the most important part of the race is the finish line. So finish strong!

Just like we’re doing with YogaStyles of RICH and the Almost Famous: CHICAGO. Yesterday we recorded the voice-over and we’re now thundering towards the finish line.

Have an awesome day everyone! Peace – R

500th Yoga Class in the First 50 Weeks: Chicago

Rich Tola - One Armed PinchamayurasanaI’m heels over head for teaching my 500th Yoga class since arriving in Chicago last September.

I’m grateful to my courageous students, fellow teachers and managers, and the owners of Chicago Athletic Clubs for giving me the opportunity to spread my passion for fitness & yoga, and specifically my style of Tola Yoga.

Looking forward to inspiring the world with YogaStyles of RICH and the Almost Famous.

Peace – R