GYST #29: Stop the Cycle (Domestic Violence)

We owe it to our children and future generations to stop the cycle of domestic violence. So if you’re an abuser – or most importantly a victim – take heed from my charity, The Boulevard Zen Foundation, and Get Your S#!T Together with the healing powers of Yoga.

Keep the Drive Alive

Yoga masters Rich Tola and Jessi Harper teaching a charity class in Hollywood to benefit The Boulevard Zen Foundation
Yoga masters Rich Tola and Jessi Harper teaching a charity class in Hollywood to benefit The Boulevard Zen Foundation
Did you ever notice how quiet your fitness center is on Sunday mornings? That’s because Sundays are a day of rest, right?

Not in Father Time’s eyes.

And not in mine. Because whatever goals you set for yourself – such as getting leaner for the beach this summer or finding a more rewarding job – Keep the Drive Alive. That’s right, stay motivated every single day to move the ball up the field with your thoughts and actions.

Like getting your workout in on Sundays, or researching the internet and then canvassing your neighborhood for new opportunities. They’re all cumulative. And get you closer to your goals.

So no worries or self-sabotage about what you didn’t do this past week…just do it today!

Enjoy – R

My audiobook, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood, now on iTunes
Rich Tola's Memoir on iTunes

Memoir – Simply – In Stores Now!

Thanks again to all those who bought my book, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood. Post your comments below or on Facebook – love to hear them! And if you find yourself in San Francisco, you can buy a copy at Books Inc. in Opera Plaza, located at 601 Van Ness, and Browser Books in Pacific Heights, located at 2195 Fillmore St. With In-Store events coming in May!

You can also download the e-book on Kindle.com for $9.99

Here’s what readers are calling it thus far: enjoyable, inspiring, a great coast-to-coast read on a direct flight, fantastic, a real page-turner, and, wow, a well-written book with so many women. Well, what can I say, but there’s a really good chapter in there explaining the “cute-boy syndrome” and my retirement from “playing” aptly called, The Player Gets Played. And tons more stories that’ll humor you for a good 4 hours, or longer, if you get caught up on my multi-generational timeline of pictures – all 48 of them – from the early 1960’s to 2011.

So maybe you don’t want your 13-year old reading this, but if YOU do, you’ll learn something new about all sorts of places and things. Not to mention the plethora of businesses you’ll experience, including Wall Street and making movies. For sure you’ll be inspired to get up and try something new, or at least acknowledge that you could do something new, if you just believed in yourself and tried. Like a daily fitness program. Of course that’s in there too, in one of my favorite chapters, Self-Correct.

A portion of all sales is donated to my charity. Thanks for reading! Enjoy – R

Memoir Helps Women and Children of Domestic Violence


Hi Everyone,

I’m happy to announce my memoir, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood, is available for purchase at www.Amazon.com. There’s 386 pages worth – featuring 69 short chapters of wild and inspiring true stories.

10% of all sales donated to The Boulevard Zen Foundation, where we teach yoga to women and children living in domestic violence shelters.

Enjoy – R

Exercise study finds 15 Minutes = 3 Years

Click to Purchase
Researchers in Taiwan studied 416,000 participants for 13 years, analyzing health levels and reported levels of physical activity each year. They found that “just 15 minutes of moderate exercise a day increased the life expectancy by three years compared to those who remained inactive.”

Lead researcher Chi Pang Wen of the Institute of Population Sciences at Taiwan’s National Health Research Institutes said, “Dedicating 15 minutes a day to a moderate form of exercise, like brisk walking, would benefit anyone. The first 15 minutes…the benefits are enormous.” Wen said the Taiwan findings were consistent with similar studies in the past using Caucasian participants, but his team was the first to come up with the minimum level of exercise necessary. “It’s for men, women, the young and old, smokers, healthy and unhealthy people. Doctors, when they see any type of patient, this is a one-size-fits-all type of advice”, Wen said.

So if you haven’t started with a daily fitness program, make it easy with my 15 Minute Fat Burning Workouts. 7 different yoga-based workouts anyone can do. Without ever leaving the house. They’re simple, effective and attainable. Not only will you live a healthier, stronger, and leaner life, you’ll also increase your life expectancy by another 3 years! Look and feel better longer. Because 15 minutes a day equals 1% of your life. And who doesn’t have 15 minutes a day to respect themselves…PLUS live 3 years longer!

Click HERE to Purchase for $14.99

Click HERE to Download for only $1.99 each Workout

10% of all sales are donated to my charity, The Boulevard Zen Foundation, teaching these yoga workouts and more, to women and children living in domestic violence shelters.

Change one thing…like Sardines

Have you ever challenged yourself to change one thing? That is to say, to change one thing about yourself that you know would significantly benefit you in the long run. Something that you do – or don’t do – that when changed results in a positive outcome. For me it was Sardines. Yes, those small, saltwater, oily-rich, silvery soft-boned fish that feed exclusively on plankton, and therefore, do not concentrate mercury and contaminants as do other fish.

Named after Sardinia, the Italian island where large schools of these fish were once found, sardines are: 1) rich in Protein – which provides us with amino acids to create new proteins, 2) one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA – which have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels, 3) an excellent source of vitamin B-12 – which promotes cardiovascular well-being, 4) incredibly concentrated in vitamin D – which plays an essential role in bone health since it helps to increase the absorption of calcium, 5) a very good source of Phosphorus – a mineral that is important for strengthening bones, 6) a very good source of Selenium – a mineral with powerful antioxidant activity whose dietary intake has been associated with reduced risk of cancer, and 7) relatively inexpensive, low in calories and have a long storage life. Except for the fact that sardines contain naturally occurring substances called purines – which too much purines in the body can lead to an excess accumulation of uric acid, and thus, can lead to gout or kidney stones – they’re excellent for you!

So why is it that prior to this week I wouldn’t go near sardines? Because when I tried them as a youngster, I hated them. Or at least I hated them at that particular time in my life. So when my father told me he eats canned sardines regularly to help combat his cancer, I thought why not change one thing about myself and start eating sardines. No matter my pre-conceived notion that I hated them, I purchased a few cans and dove right in. Now sardines are a regular part of my diet. Quite frankly, I like them more than any other of my previously consumed canned aquatic vertebrates, like tuna and salmon.

Whether it be sardines or a daily fitness program, change one thing that will better your life today and in the long run. Just because you think you don’t like something, doesn’t mean you can’t change your way of thinking. Especially with my 5 Minute Fat Burning Workouts. They’re so short, simple and easy to follow, that anyone with a computer or smart phone can do them in the same amount of time it takes to eat a can of sardines! Here’s a 5 minute workout from my 100 day web series: #94 – Leg Stretches. Enjoy – R

Domestic Violence Permeates

By the time you’re 10 years old your subconscious has formed and thereafter differentiates between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. For example, if you grew up with a mother or father who was a big drinker or smoked cigarettes, then your subconscious considers these activities (or bad habits) as acceptable behaviors. Behaviors that are more easily adopted by you because they’re acceptable to you. Thus, if you experienced or witnessed domestic violence in your youth – like more than 10 million children do in the United States every year – then domestic violence has permeated your subconscious and has become acceptable. Not good. Actually, it’s pretty pathetic that a child unknowingly accepts domestic violence at no fault of their own. It’s also pretty pathetic that a child has to identify the concept of LOVE with such traumatic visual and emotional experiences. And it’s horrible on the child’s mother (or father in some cases), to experience the physical, mental and emotional poison of domestic violence. Poison because domestic violence permeates a victim’s body, mind and spirit, oftentimes causing irreparable damage. Damage to the victim’s self-confidence and self-esteem.

That’s why my charity, The Boulevard Zen Foundation, is striving to bring the benefits of yoga to women and children survivors of domestic violence – everywhere. To help rebuild their SELF, because yoga is all about the SELF, and to teach these women and children how to respect their minds and bodies with the amazing physical and lifestyle benefits of yoga. Our compassionate and well-trained teachers also lead by example and serve as a living testament to how anyone can better themselves with the help of yoga.

Over the past year I have personally taught more than 100 women and children living in domestic violence shelters. I know that look in their eyes that says “I’m not good enough” and “I can’t do it”. A look that I’ll always counter with, “Yes, you can do it, and yes, you can believe in yourself”. Because I do and I know they can. Be well, believe & achieve! – R

Get Comfortable with Feeling Uncomfortable

The other day I met a bodybuilder who said he tried yoga and hated it because it made him “feel uncomfortable”. I responded with just one word, “exactly”. Simple put, yoga demands you to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

If you ever tried yoga and immediately began to fidget and squirm your way out of your first downward facing dog, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Because the physical practice of yoga (the asanas), put your body into challenging positions that will QUIET your MIND and get rid of all that mind chatter. Of course we know what mind chatter is, right? It’s that inner conversation you’re having with yourself about anything and everything that’s going through your mind. Including the discomfort you’re experiencing in a particular pose – including the simplest of down dogs.

When the ancient yogi’s practiced 6,000+ years ago, yoga was embraced as a culture that included the art of positioning their bodies into asanas (poses) for long periods of time to cleanse themselves and to reach a higher enlightenment, aka, nirvana. Yoga was revered as a lifestyle seeking union with the Supreme. Yoga also enabled it’s male practitioners – since women weren’t allowed to practice – to quiet their bodies and their minds while focusing on one particular object for an extended period of time. No matter the feelings of discomfort. Today most people think yoga is either just stretching and meditation, or some kind of body-twisting exercise that’s really good for you but really hard to do. And the really hard to do part usually has something to do with not wanting to endure discomfort – for any period of time.

So if you’re anything like our bodybuilder friend and don’t like feeling uncomfortable, keep your yoga workouts short and sweet with just 5 minutes a day. Soon you’ll get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, and you’ll truly begin to experience the benefits of yoga. And always remember that pain is bad and discomfort is good. So enjoy some good discomfort with our upcoming FAT BURN AMERICA TOUR: 100 Cities in 100 Days, Hollywood Walk of Fame Preview! – R

Benefits of Yoga

The Boulevard Zen Foundation teaches the benefits of yoga to women and children living in domestic violence shelters. That’s why we’re going on the FAT BURN AMERICA TOUR: 100 CITIES in 100 DAYS, to inspire Everyone to workout with us Everyday for 100 straight days at historic sites in all 50 states! And to help The Boulevard Zen Foundation raise funds to teach women and children survivors of domestic violence, Everywhere.

YOGA
– Builds physical strength & flexibility
– Builds mental strength & focus
– Builds self-esteem & self-respect
– Builds energy & stamina
– Builds courage & self-love
– Reinforces proper breathing & posture
– Improves internal health & circulation
– Improves self-confidence & creative thinking
– Increases concentration & self-discipline
– Promotes relationship building & trust

And you don’t have to take a yoga class to get these benefits. Keep it simple and practice a little each day. And here’s me teaching the women and children living at the domestic violence shelter in San Diego. Enjoy and don’t forget to get your workout in! – Rich

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