Today’s message is especially dedicated to the coolest yoga instructor on the planet, Tara Stiles. Happy Birthday!

As promised, here are the Top 10 Flat Belly Foods to get you ready for beach weather…

1. Guacamole! Try this recipe: mash one ripe avocado and add diced red onion, cilantro, loads of lime juice, a little salt and fresh pepper and a squeeze of a Thai chili sauce called China Blue (you can get it at many big chain grocery stores). A chip is really just a vehicle for guac anyway, so use raw veggies instead to save calories (Try fennel and crisp romaine boats).

2. Salad with real vinaigrette Try experimenting with different vinegars and add a tablespoon of a healthy oil like olive, walnut or canola. Season with salt, pepper, mustard and a minced garlic clove.

3. Lean chicken breast with a “crust” Most crusty coatings have a lot of butter, white flour and breadcrumbs. Try egg whites and crushed almonds.

4. PB & J Just apply the cardinal rule of healthy eating: whole grain bread and natural (read: less sugar) peanut butter and fruit spread rather than jam (make sure it’s free of high-fructose corn syrup). For a healthy Elvis-y twist, spritz with a little non-fat cooking spray and grill.

5. Mixed Olives Nicoise, Picholine, even the kind with pimento inside.

6. Vietnamese Beef Salad Great takeout; better homemade

7. Light and hearty pasta Capellini, pine nuts, sun-dried tomato, plus chicken and basil make a meal somehow both summery and satisfying.

8. Macadamia nuts These are high in fat and calories so use sparingly, but crushing a few and sprinkling on fat-free yogurt or fruit tastes really decadent.

9. Pesto, Pesto, Pesto Try roasting sweet grape tomatoes and mix in a teaspoon of basil pesto – a little goes a long way, and roasting transforms tomatoes from a garnish to meal (or at least a very tasty side dish).

10. Chocolate pudding with bananas and graham crackers. ‘Nuff said.

Thanks to Liz Vaccariello, Editor-in-Chief, PREVENTION magazine!


“In deep meditation the flow of concentration is continuous like the flow of oil.”
-PATANJALI, founder of Yoga philosophy

Tara Stiles is a yoga master and the founder of Strala Yoga in New York City. She is the resident expert and face of the Women’s Health Yoga Channel, and is a popular writer for the Huffington Post. She connects healthy approaches to exercise, awareness, food, and everyday feeling good with a wide audience around the world. Her work covers many aspects of yoga including basic how-to and preventive health care. Tara is recognized for her bold, fun and approachable style, breaking down ancient tradition and ideas into useful practices for everyone. Stiles’ teachings at Strala centers on building strength while helping people to live healthy and feel good.

Yesterday I spent some time with Tara and one of her yoga instructors, Mike.

I was excited to learn Tara’s philosophy on yoga and how it can help you in sports and life. In yoga, you will feel some pain, but you work through it. And you feel good. Then, when you feel some pain in other areas of life, you tend to work through that, too.

One of the keys to peak performance in sports is to stay in the present, by focusing on your breathing. Deep breathing. This can be found in yoga.

In yoga, as in sports, physical skills take a while to develop, but with hard work, you can get to a high level. But the benefits of yoga can instantly make you feel better by giving you more energy and make you feel healthier and stronger. In fact, Strala Yoga’s motto is “Live healthy. Feel good.”

I asked Tara to give me her top 5 benefits of yoga for athletes. Here’s what she said…

1. Breathing – yoga forces you to breathe longer, more fully and harder. This will help your body be more efficient.
2. Strength training – you will build more strength by building the main muscles in your sport and ones you don’t use as frequently.
3. Focus – by focusing on technique and breathing, yoga helps your focus on the court and on the field too.
4. Recovery/Injury prevention – much of yoga is stretching, so it is great for pre/post competition as well as injury prevention. It releases tension from tight areas and bring them back to their natural state.
5. Balance – the more balanced you are, the better you move, hit, throw and shoot. It will also give you more control and power.

So try some yoga to help you in sports. Better yet, stop by Strala Yoga in the city and take a class with Tara or Mike:

“Tara Stiles has got to be the coolest yoga instructor ever.”

Thank you to Tara Stiles and thanks for reading.