Yoga instructor Tara Stiles first gained popularity when she appeared in a series of YouTube videos about yoga produced by her modeling agency. While many may have tuned in to see the leggy Ford model get twisty, her enthusiastic, down-to-earth style was undeniable. She has since parlayed that enthusiasm into a successful career as an internet yoga guru (her YouTube videos are now viewed by millions), yoga columnist, New York City yoga studio owner, Nissan spokesmodel, and personal yoga instructor to Deepak Chopra.
Stiles' first book is entitled Slim Calm Sexy Yoga. It follows a rather traditional format, leading with an encyclopedia of poses and then illustrating various ways that these poses can be combined to create yoga workouts you can do at home. I have always maintained that this type of book is great to have around for reference should you need to look up a pose or find inspiration for your home practice, but in order to fully enjoy the benefits of yoga, it is important to attend good classes with qualified teachers as frequently as possible, especially for yoga beginners. The problem with this book is that it wants to be more than it is. Let's first take a look what Slim Calm Sexy Yoga can offer you.
What This Book Can Do For You
The first section of the book, Essential Yoga Poses, provides a good visual reference for basic poses. The large, clean photographs distinguish this book from the many on the market and showcase Stiles' flexibility and grace. The second section of the book features short sequences of poses that are intended to encourage daily practice. The sequences offer up a nice variety of poses, though those hoping to see fast results by doing the poses prescribed for fat burning, smooth skin, and better orgasms are likely to be disappointed.
What This Book Can't Do For You
It's not that you can't get these benefits from yoga. You can lose weight, reduce stress, and improve your sex life if you practice regularly over a sustained period of time. Yoga can improve your life, but it's not a quick fix. The problem with this book is that it is just a book. If Tara Stiles was giving you frequent one-on-one instruction (as she does for Deepak Chopra) or if you could regularly attend her classes at her New York studio, Strala (as the subjects of her case studies do), I have no doubt that you would soon find your life changed by yoga as promised. If this book inspires you to go out and find a yoga class that you attend a few times a week and supplement with the sequences from the book, that would be great. But while 15 minutes of yoga a day is better than no yoga, claiming that the routines in this book are enough to deliver the results promised seems like a stretch.
The real shame is how Slim Calm Sexy Yoga has been overshadowed by its own marketing, which attempts to portray this fairly conventional book as something revolutionary and provocative. It's difficult not to be offended by the book's promotional website (http://www.slimcalmsexyyoga.com/), featuring this quote from one Stiles' case study subjects: "I lost 35 pounds and went from a size 8 to a size double zero!" Advocating the desirability of becoming a size double zero undermines the book's promise to lead you to a healthier lifestyle. All this hype may be in the name of bringing yoga's benefits to a wider audience (and, of course, selling more books), but it's unfortunate that in order to get to the lotus, one first has to wade through a swamp.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.