Tola Yoga thanks you back!

Over the past 11 years I’ve had the pleasure of teaching some really inspiring students from NYC to LA to Chicago to Seattle – and several places in between – who make it all worth while.

Thanks for the memories everyone, and especially these kind words. Peace – R

“When I walk into Rich’s class feeling emotionally weak, without a doubt, every week, at the end of the hour, I feel stronger and more confident.” – Adriana R.

“Thank you so much for filling our little Seattle yoga class with such wonderful joy & skills. You are AMAZING and I have learned a ton!” – Sallie B.

“Rich is a master at sequencing poses. My body always feels great for hours after class.” – Lauren A.

“It’s very well-structured, plus I get a great full-body workout every time I take Rich’s class. He’s the best!” – Vika L.

“After 10 years, I took my practice to a new level when I started taking Tola Yoga classes.” – Rhonda C.

“Tola Yoga is effective in strengthening and stretching every part of your body, plus it’ll make you sweat!” – Ron W.

“Rich’s classes are transformative.”  – Jeremy S.

“Thank you for your classes and training this past year. I spent six weeks after knee surgery without putting any weight on my left leg, and because of your super long standing sequences, my right leg was strong enough to carry me throughout. For that I am grateful.” – Ananya D.

“We’ll be very sad to see you go… I get RAVE reviews about your class.” – Manager, TRIBE Fitness in Seattle

Thank you Seattle…until we meet again!

Top of Denny Way in Capitol Hill looking West

Thank you Seattle, for a wonderful six months of teaching yoga to well over 1,000 students in exactly 136 classes. Because as you may already know, I’ll be returning to my beloved Los Angeles (aka Home) where I first began teaching my fitness style of yoga in 2007 before it was even known as Tola Yoga.

And who says you can’t have a blast walking around and exploring Seattle in the rain? Plus, you never really get those torrential downpours like Chicago does, so who needs protection? Seattleites with an umbrella, that’s something you rarely see. I guess that’s why people would always ask, “You’re not from around here, right?” With my black leather jacket and biker boots and carrying a red umbrella, go figure. Or maybe it was just my California tan 🙂

Relaxing in Martin Luther King Jr. Park looking North

And what a great place to stay in shape and to keep moving forward, or I shall I say, upward…on the plethora of hills that traverse the Emerald City.

No doubt your butt works overtime in this town. I should know, I’ve walked more neighborhoods than Oprah has houses (well, maybe not) and loved every minute of it!

But what I’ll miss most – other than my yoga students, especially Charisma, Jodi and Sallie who never missed a class – are the amazing views of downtown Seattle you get just by walking around or lounging in Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, including my three favorites you see here.

40th & Stone Way in Fremont looking South

So thanks Seattle, and until we meet again I wish you the very best. Continue growing and providing your good citizens with more great buildings, parks, restaurants, culture, grunge-free fashion and of course, a Tola Yoga studio in the near future.

Hey, ya neva know!

Peace – R

 

Working out with “Belle of the Ball”

Or shall I say, Belle of the Gym. Let me explain:

The other day I saw this elderly woman working out in the gym and I thought to myself, wow, this woman really knows what she’s doing and she’s definitely a regular. It was the third time I had seen her this week.

I was definitely curious, so I introduced myself and asked Belle a few questions. Because when a fitness dude like me who’s worked-out or practiced Yoga every single day for the past 40 years (that’s no bullshit), sees a fitness dudette who’s well into her 70’s, well, I’m impressed.

Check it out. Belle has osteoporosis and says she knows the importance of lifting weights to stay strong so she works out three times a week. Yes, three times a week, every week.

And it shows.

When I asked if she ever misses a workout, she said, “Sometimes I slip and slide around a little bit with my days, but I always go three times a week. I have to.” Belle also said her body is not what it used to be so sometimes she feels it the next day. Similar to my own Mom who goes to the gym every week and has done so for the past 30 years, her body often feels it the next day too.

But no worries, because you gotta keep going. Your strength and youth depends on it.

So take if from Belle and “have fun with it!” And even though my Tola Yoga workouts may be too intense for her (I agreed), Belle says “mix it up with different exercises like the machines, treadmill or these bikes that let you ride through the parks of San Francisco (her favorite).”

Kudos to you Belle and everyone else getting your workout groove on every week!

Happy Mother’s Day everyone 🙂  Peace – R

100th Class in Seattle

Hey everyone, it’s that special time again when I teach my 100th Tola Yoga class in another one of America’s largest and most prosperous cities: Seattle.

So if you’re in the Emerald City this Friday at 9:15AM, come celebrate with me and my amazing yoga students and treat yourself to a fun & challenging workout!

I’m currently teaching Private and Corporate classes as well as one-hour Skype consultations that include a compete review of your lifestyle, eating habits and fitness program, plus an explanation of how Tola Yoga will help you achieve peak performance and peace of mind.

Email me at info@richtola.com to schedule a private class or consult, or come take any one of my weekly public classes at the following health clubs throughout Seattle:

Tuesday – 10AM at Emerald City Athletics in Fremont

Thursday – 10AM at Emerald City Athletics in Fremont

Friday – 9:15AM at Pacific Northwest Fitness (formerly Gold’s Gym) in Capitol Hill

Saturday – 11:15AM at Flow Fitness in South Lake Union

Sunday – 10AM at Soul Fitness in Belltown

Sunday – 12PM at Tribe Fitness in Capitol Hill

Have an awesome week and I’ll see you on the mat!

Peace – R

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.

Explore the world…including Vancouver

If there’s one piece of advice I can give – other than workout everyday and live by Yoga principles to build a strong body clear mind – it’s these three words:

Explore the world.

I just spent the past three days in Vancouver, Canada exploring a plethora of neighborhoods like Gastown, Downtown, Coal Harbor, West End, Davie Village, Yaletown, Kitsilano and Mt. Pleasant.  An amazing 25 miles worth of walking around one of the most beautiful, clean, vibrant and fashionable cities I’ve ever lived or visited. There’s been quite a few.

In Vancouver you’ll find tons of great shops and eateries and cool street fashion that had me people watching as much as checking out the sleek modern architecture that’s everywhere.

There’s also tons of little parks and beaches and public art that seem to pop-up out of nowhere. Like the A-maze-ing Laughter in Morton Park consisting of 14 enormous bronze statues – in all different poses – of a shirtless guy laughing hysterically. And what a great way to get your daily workout in. By kicking-the-bricks, as we used to say back in my NYC real estate days.

Speaking of which, Vancouver also has that international cosmopolitan feel, much like Manhattan and Chicago. Plus, the hi-rise apartment building where I stayed had one of those old-school Universal weight machines and some dumbbells, which came in handy every morning.  Add to that a yoga class, or better yet, a free 30-minute Tola Yoga class, and voila, you’re set!

So pack your bags, pick your destination, and do a little exploring on your own.

Peace – R