Build a Strong Foundation with Tola Yoga

Everybody knows the answer to that infamous question, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall”, right? Of course, it’s “practice, practice, practice”. And if you believe best-selling author and pop psych writer, Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers), you’ll say it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become world-class in any field.

But what happens when the foundation you’ve set for all your practicing is not that sturdy, or better yet, it’s built on quicksand? 

That’s why anyone looking to build a strong yoga practice should learn the proper fundamentals before spending hours upon hours in the yoga studio. Just like I say in Chapter 68 of my memoir, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood, it’s always best to Learn from the Best. Or at the very least, learn from someone who has learned from the best.

That’s also why if you’re in Los Angeles you should treat yourself to a Tola Yoga class or private lesson to help you build that strong foundation. There’s something for everyone…from beginner-to-advanced as well as pregnant women…with my five distinct classes:

  1. Tola Yoga Fundamentals  – for beginners or anyone looking to re-learn the basics
  2. Tola Yoga Prime – for intermediate students and strong beginners
  3. Tola Yoga Power – for advanced students and strong intermediates
  4. Tola Yoga Prenatal – for women in all stages of pregnancy
  5. Tola Yoga Stretch & Restore – for all students from beginner-to-advanced

Feel free to email me your questions and to schedule your Tola Yoga private lesson today: info@richtola.com

Peace – R

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

GYST #28: Exploit Your Senses

This episode is all about having success with two sides of the same coin: Making the Best of your two key Senses, sight and hearing, plus doing whatever you can to Learn from the Best. With a healthy dose of inspiration from a true hero and prolific author/activist, Hellen Keller.

Raise the Minimum Wage to $12

As President of the United States, that’s what I would do. That’s right, and I’d slash corporate taxes to offset the increased labor costs, thereby creating a zero-sum game of sorts – so the government gets their fair share of taxes and companies can still make profits and thrive.

Let me explain.

For the past 6 years I’ve lived a creative life that wasn’t about the white-collar world and its 9-to-5 days filled with coffee breaks and softball games (or maybe now it’s soccer). In the creative world, getting a job to support your passion is all about blue-collar and minimum wage, not to mention how difficult it is to even get a job. And who can live off $8 an hour? Do the math: $8 x 7 hours (with your mandatory breaks) equals $56. After the government takes their share, let’s be generous and call it $50. Times 5 days a week equals $250 – a measly $1000 a month.

Now who can claim their Independence – let alone afford health insurance – on $1000 a month?

Nobody can, unless you share a studio apartment with 3 other people and eat peanut butter and bananas every day. Sure, you can get lucky and land a server or bartender job where you’ll earn tips on top of that, but it’s not that much more. Trust me, I know. And the work is stressful and grueling, so always remember to tip your wait staff. And go for the 20%…it makes a difference.

Today the news said that 20% of Americans are struggling to meet their financial needs on a day-to-day basis. That’s 1 out of every 5 Americans who can’t make ends meet. Way too many.

So what should we do? Raise the Minimum Wage to $12

Happy Independence Day everyone…and don’t forget to get your workout in!

Enjoy – R

‘Man of Steel’ Delivers

So you’d like to take your family to see a really good movie with a bunch of really good actors about saving Mankind that’s New Age cataclysmic yet also heartfelt and Zen.

That’s easy.

MAN OF STEEL…it’s all that and more!

Not only does director Zach Snyder (300 and Sucker Punch) capture you visually and vividly like he always does, the amazing cast keeps you riveted and wanting more. Starting with the chiseled and Zen-ful Henry Cavill complemented by the beauty and charm of Amy Adams, the talent just keeps coming. There’s Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon (loved him in The Iceman), Laurence Fishburne, Ayelet Zurer and Christopher Meloni.

So give credit where credit is due, and go see Man of Steel. Because it Delivers – just like my Emmy award-winning sound engineer, Alex Wilkinson, did on my Audiobook. Kudos to Alex!

Here’s a clip that shines some light on my childhood and bartering ways in “The Barbershop”.

Enjoy – R

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

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