Tag Archives: instructor

Learn Crow Pose (Bakasana) on International Yoga Day

Happy International Yoga Day everyone! Get outside and practice some Yoga, or better yet, take 3 minutes and learn the proper way to balance in Crow Pose or Bakasana. Peace – R

Tola Yoga Rocks it LIVE on Periscope!

Super fun Tola Yoga class with the angelic Amy Johnson on Periscope yesterday! Check-it out and treat yourself to another 45 minutes of challenging yoga sequences that’ll certainly improve your practice, increase your strength & flexibility, and without a doubt burn tons of calories.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for updates and our next LIVE class! Peace – R

Coming Soon: Tola Yoga Classes on Periscope

Get ready for the best Yoga workout in the world: Tola Yoga on Periscope. Starting April 3rd at 11AM (Central Time) I’ll be teaching you my unique style of fitness Yoga I’ve created over the past 10 years. Meet my Chicago Yoga students and learn some new poses and sequences!RichTola_VerdugoMountainsJanuary2014

Think, Prepare and Leap…to Chicago

It’s been two weeks since I moved to Chicago to pursue Stand-up comedy and to teach Yoga in the third most populous city in America (about 2.7 million residents).  And what a city it is, with more than 50 million visitors last year alone, the “Windy City” has breathtaking historical architecture and world class culture including public art, theater and improvisational comedy, not to mention all the jazz, blues and house music. And don’t forget professional sports, which I should know since I’m currently living three blocks away from Wrigley Field…Go Cubbies!

And if you haven’t seen the sunrise over Lake Michigan, you should try it sometime. But wait, what about “I Love LA” and 9 years worth of plying my craft and producing 20+ hours of instructional Yoga videos throughout the streets of Hollywood? It’s all preparation for what comes next, and it’s all part of life’s wonderful journey. If you ask me I’ll always say never be afraid to take a chance on yourself, regardless of how scary it may be – or seem to be – to leave behind what you know best, i.e., your comfort zone.

The good news is Chicago’s not too foreign to me because I did spend two years here during my grad-school days at The Kellogg School at Northwestern University. Albeit, I spent most of my time in the comfy confines of Evanston, but of course I did venture down to bars in Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park and Rush Street for the occasional ruckus with my buddies – which you’ll know if you read my wild and witty memoir, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood.

So never be afraid to LEAP…just make sure your move is well thought-out and even planned, although too much thinking and planning may lead to inaction (not a good thing). And if you make it to Chicago, give me a shout and come take my Yoga class.

Which, by the way, as of today I’m teaching at all 9 locations of Chicago’s premier fitness club, Chicago Athletic Clubs. In honor of National Yoga Month, I’ll be teaching a special class on Sunday, September 27th at the Lincoln Square location. Hope to see you there! Peace – R

GQ – Letter to the Editor

If you’re a GQ reader like me, you probably read the August issue with Mila Kunis on the cover. On page 32, there’s a brief article by Mark Byrne called “Rewriting the Book on Yoga”, with a 15 minute yoga workout as prescribed by a studio owner in NYC. Unfortunately, I cringed when I reviewed the workout that includes three twisting and forward bending poses, the last of which is an advanced pose.

But before I add my two cents, let me state my fitness and yoga qualifications: I’m 48 years old, 5’7″ and weigh 150 pounds. My body fat is less than 9% and most people think I’m 33. I’ve worked out in fitness centers every day for the past 32 years totaling more than 12,000 hours. I’ve practiced yoga every day for the past six years totaling more than 2,000 hours. An accomplished student/athlete through college, I’m also a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Cycling Instructor, and 200-hour Certified Yoga Teacher. I’ve taught more than 15,000 yoga students of all levels in the past five years, from the ages 3 to 93. I’ve created more than 15 hours of instructional yoga videos in the past two years, including a Yoga Survival Guide detailing more than 100 poses.

I currently teach yoga to women and children living in domestic violence shelters, who had zero experience with fitness and yoga before I got there. I have neck, low back, shoulder and wrist issues, and have been injured three times since I started practicing yoga – all from bad teachers. Thus, my very precise teaching style is designed to minimize injury to any body part, especially the neck and low back. Finally, I’ve practiced yoga mostly in New York City and Los Angeles, the yoga meccas of the United States, and have taken classes with the “so-called” best teachers in the world. 90% of which are women.

That said, here’s why I disagree with the Byrne’s claim that GQ “found the best back-saving, workout-improving moves…” When it comes to anything twisting and forward bending while standing, you better move slowly and be super careful. Your stance is critical, which the caption doesn’t clearly emphasize. The caption also says “twist your head to look up”, which you should NEVER attempt without properly warming up the spine and preparing your body for such deep twists. Revolved triangle is a perfect example of this. A good teacher wouldn’t sequence this pose until at least halfway through the yoga class, because coming into this pose is AS IMPORTANT as the pose itself. So is coming back up to stand once you’ve been in the pose for any length of time. Here’s why: once your torso weight and your 10 pound head is down and over your forward leg, you’re balancing this weight over a tight triangular stance, making it quite difficult to manage. And since most men carry their weight in their torso and have tight hamstrings, coming into – or out of – this pose without bending your legs (like the picture shows), and without moving ridiculously slow, could lead to serious injury.

Thus, it’s not back-saving at all. It’s actually quite strenuous on your neck, low back and hamstrings. And requires ample core strength to control your torso as you’re folding forward at a 90 degree angle (if you keep your back straight like the picture – which is also very difficult). And although the directions state “you won’t be able to touch the floor right away – settle for your ankle”, very few men can even get to their ankle. Frankly, this is a very challenging pose for an advanced yogi, let alone anyone who’s never done it before. So take note and be VERY CAREFUL, especially when twisting and forward bending at the same time. And if you really want to experiment with this pose on your own, warm up and strengthen your core and abs first with my 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #82 – Easy Abs. Enjoy & hope to see you on the FAT BURN TOUR! – Rich Tola