Strala Yoga: Finding a Home and Falling in Love

As always, I am blown away by the comments and support you have left me on Monday’s post. There are no words to express my appreciation. I would also like to clarify that when I say I want to give back to the blog community, I do not just mean those that comment or have met. I mean everyone who reads, has stumbled onto the page once, my friends and family. I really just want to be a positive force for anyone that comes into my life.

I’m also blown away by the creativity in all the recipes I’ve starred lately. Breakfast today made this gloomy, cloudy, humid day in NYC bright.

Breakfast Protein Tart

This little gem was brought to you by Laura. Always a source of incredible eats. I’ve never seen anything on there I wouldn’t love to eat. Now, I just to need to out of NYC to have the time/space/planning ability to eat that way all day long. I used Nature’s Path Millet Flakes for the cereal in the crust. Next time, I think I will use a Weetabix Biscuit for a more cake like texture. And it easily breaks into dust so no blender needed! I was truly sad when it was over, always a good thing to have happen when eating.

Now on to something else I want to share with you.


My home is with my mom in Syracuse, NY. I do not have a “home” here in NYC. Harlem, eeeccckk, was definitely not a home. My apartment (if you can call the dorm slash sardine can I live in an apartment) is so closed, cramped, and tiny that it just gives me anxiety. My work used to feel like a home of sorts, but now I feel like I am just being judged all the time by everyone about everything I do – I feel like an outsider. NYC is a great place, but is it ever really “home” for anyone living here??

Way back in February was the first time I went to Strala Yoga. This is about the dozenth studio in NYC I’ve been to. The space is medium size, on the 6th floor of a building in Soho. It is wide and open, but the room is rather plain compared to some more decorated ones I’ve been to. It seemed average enough, yet for me it was love at first pose.

Pre-Strala, I had a touchy relationship with yoga. I practiced on and off, trying hard to commit to at least once a week to help with my arthritis and counter act damage from running, and the high intensity training I was doing everyday. I felt good enough after, but going to a studio was like getting a cat in water. And I did not have the patience for really focusing on the practice – I mindlessly did what the instructor said usually thinking about how long I had been there and what I had to do when I left. And don’t even get me started on the savasana, the corpse pose, that ends every yoga class. Because really I had time to lay there. The stretching was done, I had things to do – no time to lie still “clearing my mind.” And I definitely wanted nothing to do with the spiritual, looking inside yourself, finding answers part of yoga.

Flash forward to today – So far this week, I’ve been to Strala Yoga everyday. When class is over, not only do I fully embrace the quiet calm of savasana, I linger around like some sort of creepy solicitor.

Sometime around March, bb and I started referring to Strala has my happy place. I even got him to come attend class with me once. His first yoga class!! Now, b does not do things that make him uncomfortable or that hold no interest to him. But he could tell how important this place was to me, and I think he just needed to experience it himself. He said I was a different person in the studio.

Strala happens to be owned by the celebrity yoga instructor, Tara Stiles, but you would not know it. Tara, her husband Mike, as well as Strala itself, is the most laid back, giving, down to earth atmosphere I have ever entered. Every instructor there has a special gift and something great to share that makes their classes unique in some way. At Strala, they prefer the term Guide however, to instructor or guru. So completely unpretentious and encouraging.

The first half of the year was dark for me, filled with stress, lack of sleep, and sadness. I’m still not completely sure why – that was when I was on track with my school plans still. I have told people that Strala is only reason I did not crumble. I feel so much comfort and support from everyone, guides and students alike. Every time I walk into that studio I make a new friend. Being there just sends a wave of calm and happiness over me.

The insights and positive changes I’ve see in myself this year, I also owe to Strala. Of course the answers and the discovery were ultimately in me, but Strala taught me how to look inward, focus my mind, and really connect with myself and my environment.

I was taught this by the movements. The focus of the classes is to move with ease into challenging poses. Sounds counter intuitive, and like that hard to define yogi speak, doesn’t it? They use the term ease, quite often too. But don’t let that fool you – their Strong classes are some of the most intense workouts I’ve done. This is true yoga, and I experienced it for the first time here. I’ve never even thought about doing the crazy inversions and balances that you see advanced practitioners doing. I never even saw the progression from the basic poses into the harder ones at other studios. However, back in May I accomplished my first forearm stand.

I was always thinking about it too much, then one day I just took a deep breath slowly walked my feet up towards my head not expecting anything to happen, and next thing I knew I was vertical. Legs straight and all!

Basically Strala, and it’s guides, have been teaching me that it is not hookey to connect your mind and body. That through relaxation, breath, and ease you can actually accomplish more than if you push and stress your way into things. The amazing thing is that they didn’t not focus on me, or directly tell me any of this, it just happened by showing up. I just began transforming into a stronger, more capable, more focused person physically and mentally.

I could go on forever, and much more to say on the topic. I think I will have one post a week dedicated as a “yoga talk” post, since it has changed my life so much. I even want to participate in a teachers certification now. I can really see myself thriving in that.

I will have a lot of posts like this to come. Series of sorts, where I have to give an introduction to things in my life that I have been vague about recently, and then give more detailed, thoughtful posts. If I didn’t, I would be writing novels every time. Hope you do not get too annoyed by that, or if you have a better approach feedback is always welcome here at Freckles & Spice!!

 Happy Friday!! I will never get tired of saying that :)


Do you have a home away from home??

What is the last blog recipe you tried that blew you away? Share links!!


  1. So cool that you’re able to do these yoga-y things. I am terrible with yoga.

    And I haven’t lived in a big city, but I can’t imagine having your situation in NYC. I remember talking to you about your sardine can during blend … yikes.

  2. Congrats on the progress! Yoga is something that has always fascinated me (as well as NYC), something I’ve always wanted to try, yet 1) never had the opportunity and 2) never had the time and/or willpower to attend a class. I’ve heard great things about the power Yoga has on your state of mind and would love to experience that one day. Can’t wait to read your series as it developes :)

    • Thanks for stopping by! If ever make it to NYC let me know. I went by your blog. Yay for the first public post!
      Start trying yoga at home! There are a number of videos and books and audio. Tons on the internet. And you might need to try a few studios, or instructors until you find one that fits you.

  3. i’m so glad you liked the tart. you reminded me that i need to make it again soon!

    yoga has never been my thing, but i’m glad you found a space that feels good to you. :)

  4. The last keeper of a recipe I got from Runner’s World Online – if you look up soba noodles with peanut sauce, I think you should find it. It’s so easy and so good- my hubs says he could eat it every night! We add just a touch of red chili paste to it for a little kick.

    Good for you and yoga. I aspire to a lasting practice, but so far have only done video yoga workouts. It really does help with running pains! Keep working on your inner self – it can only get better!!

  5. It was great running into you thursday! I absolutely adore Strala – for all the reasons you beautifully wrote, and more. Before Strala, yoga was hit or miss for me – I had to be in the mood, and that just doesn’t seem right. Now it’s just “me” time, and I crave it!
    I’ll shoot you a message next time I’m around – I’m living in the east village now, so super close.

  6. So glad you find a place of peace in the big city!! My home away from home is my car…so weird but I travel a lot so I spend an hour each way to the airport. I always have comfy clothes, essential oil, my favorite cd’s, and bottled water in my car. It’s my little box of emotion. I can scream, cry, sing, or talk to myself all in the safety of my Toyota on I-90!

    I have always wanted to practice at Strala. I follow Tara on twitter and she seems like an amazing person. If I ever make it to NYC, we must take a class together!!!


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