Tola Yoga Classes on the Weekends in DTLA

Time to fulfill the first part of our theme from last class, Launch & Let Go, by offering Tola Yoga classes in Downtown Los Angeles (that’s DTLA of course!).

Yoga Fundamentals is perfect for beginners or any level student looking to advance their practice by learning principle yoga poses.

Yoga Prime is perfect for intermediate to advanced students – plus courageous beginners – desiring a challenging yoga workout. Note: you will break a sweat.

Come take a class this Saturday or Sunday, or treat yourself to both classes if you really want to transform your practice.

Reserve in advance with PayPal or Venmo:  info@richtola.com

Peace – R

Daily Fitness & Yoga Pays Off

Everyone knows that by exercising every single day while embracing a Yogic lifestyle – for the rest of your life – you’ll certainly reap the benefits, right? Well if you didn’t, let me assure you that sticking to a Daily Fitness Program that’s based on Yoga principles will definitely pay-off.

Rich Tola - LA Magazine's One of LA's top 3 Most Sexy Men
Rich Tola – L.A. Magazine’s “One of LA’s Top 3 Sexiest”
Case in point: Yesterday Los Angeles Magazine named me One of LA’s Top 3 Most Sexy Men…at the ripe age of 50! Not too bad, considering the others were 20 years younger.

So what does it take to look and feel 20 years younger? Just follow my 5 Simple Rules for Looking 20 Years Younger and you’ll be set. Or at least you’ll be on the right path to achieving the physical and spiritual beauty and sexiness we all desire, with no regrets for putting on those useless pounds…especially as we approach the hectic Holiday season.

Now don’t get me wrong. Not everyone is blessed with good genes and a penchant for feeling hungry all the time, like I am. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Anyone can! It only takes the desire and discipline to respect yourself everyday and to put your body – and your soul – to the challenge. Start with believing you can, then get rocking with bite-sized workouts like my 5 Minute Fat Burning Workouts on YouTube (click HERE for my favorite Abdominals!). They’ll get on the right path to a stronger core and flatter Abs in no time, then take it from there. Just get started today. YOU CAN DO IT!

And then move to Los Angeles and maybe next year you too will be named L.A. Magazine’s Sexiest Man or Woman…hey, ya neva know!

Enjoy – R

5 Ways to Workout on Vacation

So you’re on vacation with lots of time for R & R and you’re thinking you want to workout – or what you’re really thinking is you don’t have to workout because you’re on vacation, right?

Wrong.

Because the only way to keep that Strong Body – Clear Mind is to do something physical fitness related EVERY single day. So keeping with your Daily Fitness Program, here’s 5 ways you and your entire family can workout together while on vacation that’s effective and affordable:

#1 – Walk, Jog or Run

There’s nothing better than lacing up your Chuck Taylors and Kicking the Bricks…literally. Whether it’s a brisk walk, steady jog, or a fast paced run, this is the simplest way to get your heart-rate up while taking in the natural beauty of your surroundings. I always prefer a long walk first thing in the morning, but no matter what time of day, lace’em up and get going!

#2 – Bike or Swim

Perhaps a bit more complicated than #1 since you’ll need a bike or a lap pool, but if you’re anywhere near the beach you’ll certainly find bike rentals, or check-out the local YMCA since they usually have a 25 yard pool. Two more great fitness activities the whole family can enjoy!

#3 – Push-ups and Sit-ups

How can you go wrong with good ole push-ups and sit-ups that you can do just about anywhere with no props required. Start with push-ups and do as many as you can – Chaturanga style for you yoginis – then lay on your back with your legs bent (or bicycle them) and do as many sit-ups as you can. Then do it again and again until you can’t do any more!

#4 – Take a Class: Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Cross-training or Whatever

Whatever suits your fancy – of course mine is Yoga – research the local health clubs and private Yoga and Pilates studios and treat yourself to an invigorating group fitness class. Albeit, the most expensive of your 5 workout options, but certainly a great way to meet people and experience the local teaching styles as well as learn from other popular teachers!

#5 – Rich Tola’s 5 Minute Fat Burning Workouts

The most effective of your choices because my 5 Minute Fat Burning Workouts on the web are simple, easy-to-follow and effective. Plus there’s 100 Workouts to choose from, and you can combine them to equal as much time as you have to workout. And if you’re spending all your time at the beach or poolside, here’s Workout #84 – Lounge Chair Abs to get your started!

Enjoy – R

Don’t Be Afraid to Jump

Rich Tola teaches Yoga at domestic violence shelter
Rich Tola teaches Yoga at the domestic violence shelter
Last weekend I decided it was time to move back to the beach – since I spent the summer of 1985 a few hundred yards from the ocean in beautiful Marina del Rey. However brief my first southern Cali beach experience lasted, I knew I’d be back.

But wait, don’t I need a “place to live” and a “job” and at least “get to know the area” before I just pack-up and move there?

Not at all, if I believe in myself and I’m not afraid to jump. Not literally, of course, but in way that describes what most people experience when they’re asked to commit to something new and challenging. Like Yoga. Or walking 2 miles every single morning before you take a shower. Or doing my 100 consecutive days of 5 Minute Fat Burning Workouts on YouTube (all of them, especially my AB ones!). Oftentimes we experience subtle fear and inward resistance usually followed by “rational” reasons for not doing it. Like “I can’t do Yoga because I’m not flexible”.

You know how many times I hear that phrase – about a dozen times a week. That’s right, because I usually talk fitness with people I meet and encourage them to embrace a daily fitness program that’s based on Yoga. Simple, effective and to the point. That’s my style, especially when it comes to respecting yourself with an arsenal of exercises that’ll stymie Father Time.

Muster the confidence to believe in yourself, and whatever you do, Don’t Be Afraid to Jump.

Enjoy – R

Here’s another book sample about helping others believe they can: Chapter 42 – Intervention

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