Category Archives: Inspirational

Stay Zen #7 – 20 Ways to Be 20 Years Younger

Who says you can’t look and feel and have the spirit of someone 20 years younger. I do, and there’s not a week that goes by without someone guessing I’m 30.

You can too, with my 20 Ways to Be 20 Years Younger! Enjoy – R

Get Fit. Live Healthy. Lose Inches. Stay Zen.
RichTola.com. Follow on Instagram @BLVDZEN

Stick to Your Guns

Whenever I hear the expression “stick to your guns”, I think of Tom Cruise (aka Maverick) in the 1986 blockbuster, Top Gun, when he’s in the heat of battle with six hostile MiGs and triumphantly declares, “I will not leave my wingman”.  Now that’s someone with true conviction who literally sticks to his guns, and one who sets a great example for anyone with little or no resolve to even make it through Lent without abandoning their abstinence.

Case in point:

I recently had dinner with two friends, a man and woman about my age (i.e., 50), who have each gained 20+ pounds in the past year. And both said exactly the same thing – that they “gave up sugar for Lent” and were determined to shed their unwanted weight. But when it came time for dessert, they both changed their tune and ordered the most sugar-filled items on the menu – Tiramisu in an edible chocolate cup and a slice of Red Velvet cake.  So when I chuckled and asked, “Aren’t you going to stick to your guns and not eat sugar for the next 40 days”, they simply brushed me off and said it was no big deal since it was only this one time.

So much for having the courage and discipline to stick to their guns, especially when it comes to their health and well-being. Something I just can’t get my arms around (no pun intended).

Think about it. Setting your intentions and following through with your game plan, i.e., doing what you say, is not only good for your psyche and your self-confidence, but also helps everyone else around you because you’re leading by example. And if you don’t believe you can do it…NONSENSE. Just set your intentions and muster the fortitude to stick to your guns.

YOU CAN DO IT…just like I’ve been doing in Hollywood for the past 7 years. Peace – R

Rich Tola at LA Fashion Week

Rich Tola at Los Angeles Fashion Week (March 10, 2014)

When the going gets tough…go to the Yoga

So what does that mean, you might ask…go to the Yoga? Because as tradition may have it, we usually associate “the going gets tough” with the likes of Clint Eastwood and our ability to toughen up and power through any challenging situation with “the tough get going”, right?

Wrong.SandiTreePose

Well, at least it’s wrong in the sense that what is really needed in challenging times is our ability to find peace within ourselves and truly understand that everything is temporary and everything will be OK. To be calm, to reassure yourself that the Universe is conspiring for your highest good in every aspect of your life, and to know that letting go of fear, angst, frustration, disappointment, judgement and self-doubt are all part of the powers of Yoga.

Embracing a lifestyle based on Yoga principles is not just about practicing asanas (i.e., Yoga poses) in a church-like studio with other like-minded individuals. It’s also about how you think, feel and project your positive energy and charisma out into the world, not to mention how you handle tough situations by remaining tranquil and patient and believing you will persevere.

Easier said than done, perhaps, but totally do-able. Whether it’s living week-to-week while always searching for new gigs and barely making ends meet (like my creative friends), or enduring a 3-day flu that keeps you from your Daily Fitness Program (like I just did), or mourning the sudden death of a family friend (RIP – John Scheifele).

Just GO TO THE YOGA, because it works.SandiChildsPose,jpg

And if you’ve never practiced Yoga or don’t even know where to start, try a simple Tree Pose or Childs Pose (see photos), or check-out our 15-second Yoga sequence I recently posted on Instagram @BLVDZEN.

Get Fit. Live Healthy. Lose Inches. Stay Zen.

Enjoy – R

No Retreat, baby, No Surrender

Bruce Springsteeen’s quintessential phrase “No Retreat, baby, No Surrender” from his mega-hit, No Surrender, penetrates much deeper than our country’s blood brothers in the stormy night vowing to defend us through raging Wars. At least it does for me. And today was a perfect example of how a powerful song like this can inspire me to inspire you…30 years later.

Verdugo Mountains in Burbank, CA

1-Mile Away View of the Verdugo Mountains – Burbank, CA

Just as this song came on my playlist today about halfway through my 2-mile run, I passed this elderly woman walking up the hill. She had to be at least 90 years old, all hunched over and wearing a light blue cardigan sweater and dark wrap-around sunglasses to shield her from the rays. She was ever so delicately ambling up the steep incline with the help a walking cane. And if you’ve ever traveled up that 1-mile stretch from San Fernando Blvd to Sunset Canyon Drive at the base of the Verdugo Mountains in Burbank (see photo), you know that it’s pretty darn steep. So much so that it probably took this senior citizen 20 minutes to walk to the next house. No matter, because she was still walking up that hill.

author, Rich Tola

author, Rich Tola

Now that’s what I call “No Retreat, baby, No Surrender”.

Because getting older doesn’t mean you can’t fight Father Time and do something every single day to strengthen your muscles – and your bones – and to preserve your body as best you can. It’s called a Daily Fitness Program, and ANYONE can do it.

And it doesn’t matter what you do: walk, jog, bike, swim, Yoga, weights, Hulu-Hoop, whatever! Just do something, like the elderly woman in Burbank. While you still can.

Peace – R

Keep Kindness in Your Soul

When you lookup the word ‘humankind’ in the dictionary it says “human beings collectively”. Let’s go one step further and add “who are implicitly kind to one another”, and make that a requirement for the entire human race. At the very least, shouldn’t we always respect ourselves and be respectful and kind to others as we journey along this amazing ride called life? And more importantly is our ability to take this unreserved kindness we’re born with – because we all start as little babies that are sweet and kind, right – and Keep Kindness in Your Soul. Forever would be good…just keep it going into adolescence and throughout adulthood.

author, Rich Tola

author, Rich Tola

Case in Point: Yesterday I was riding the bus from Burbank to Downtown LA when we stopped at the Los Angeles Zoo – one of my favorite LA Landmark’s as evidenced by my charming video, Zoo Yoga. About 50 students and 3 teachers (no kidding) started boarding as I quickly hopped over to a better seat inside our soon-to-be traveling sardine can. Pretty cool stuff for a 14 year-old, but perhaps not so much for us unsuspecting passengers enjoying an otherwise peaceful ride. It actually turned out to be a great ride, and here’s why:

About 10 minutes into our trek I reached for my cellphone. Hmm, that’s odd, nowhere to be found. I immediately retraced my steps and figured it was somewhere between me and my previous seat. No worries, I’ll just remain calm and confident that someone has found it, and more importantly, that this someone has the KINDNESS in their SOUL to return it. Not to mention the good character to do the right thing. Interestingly, I really believed one of these Zoo-going kids would return it and save me from that nightmare of losing your phone!

So I stood up and shouted, “Excuse me, did anyone in the front of the bus find a little black phone”. A youngster immediately raised his hand and said yes. A rush of excitement washed over me as I saw the greatness of ‘humankind’ in that one boy. Way to go kid! Way to have KINDNESS in your SOUL…and way to set a great example for each and every one of us.

Keep Kindness in Your Soul, my friends, for as long as humanly possible.

Happy Thanksgiving & Hanukkah everyone! Enjoy – R

3 Tips to Improve Your Posture

It’s that time of year again, when the air is brisk and your Perfect Posture begins to wane in the face of Wintertime weather. I call that your Wintertime Posture, when your body naturally compensates for the cold with a defensive-type posture that seeks warmth by covering up and closing in. As opposed to your Summertime Posture, when the warm rays of the vitalizing sunshine make it easy to stand tall and lift your chin while opening your heart up to the sky, thus enabling a more offensive-type posture, and albeit, a much better one.

In the Wintertime we have a tendency to roll our shoulders in and lean forward, especially when we’re walking. It seems to protect us against the cold and get us there faster, or so we think. And because we don’t even know we’re doing it – who’s thinking about Perfect Posture when you’re walking or standing in the freezing cold – and because excellent health begins with excellent posture, that’s no excuse for letting good ol’ Mother Nature set you back.

Regardless of the changing seasons, arm yourself with my 3 Tips to Improve Your Posture:

1) Spend a few minutes every morning standing tall with Perfect Posture, i.e., feet planted firmly on the ground – shoulder width and hips distance apart, soften your knees and relax your butt, pull through your core (belly button) and feel your entire torso and spine elongating, roll your shoulders open with palms facing forward, shine your heart up to the sky, relax your shoulder-blades down your back and lengthen through your neck, soften and square your chin to the ground and reach your crown to the sky. Now relax your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply and let your inhales and exhales come naturally. Don’t hold your breath…and RELAX.

2) Repeat this Perfect Posture exercise many times throughout the day, for a brief as 10 seconds. Just do it. Like when you’re standing in line at the store, or on the corner before the light changes, or at the teller window, or waiting for a bus, or baking cookies, or even while you’re Watching the Ellen Show! It’s only for a short time and it reminds the body – and your mind – of Perfect Posture, thus creating a benchmark for success.

3) Spend a few minutes before you go to bed standing tall with Perfect Posture…you know the drill. Why, you might ask, considering if you did #1 and #2 then you already spent time working on your Perfect Posture, right? Because, you’d get the same exact answer if you asked any New Yorker that infamous question, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Practice, Practice, Practice.

Happy Veterans Day everyone! Enjoy- R

Inner Beauty Rules

With all my rhetoric about exercising every day with a Daily Fitness Program that’s based on Yoga principles, and respecting yourself with a healthy lifestyle while thinking and feeling positive at all times, and even my most recent posts about looking 20 years younger and being named one of LA’s Sexiest, it’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of my guileless discourse.

Which is simply this: INNER BEAUTY RULES

No matter how much you weigh, or how young you look, or how often you workout, what matters most is the inner beauty and positive energy that you radiate from the inside. Because in due time that outer beauty will fade and the body will deteriorate. There’s no stopping it. Yes, you can do your best to thwart Father Time by keeping your physical being in the best condition possible – which I believe is achieved by exercising every single day while adhering to a healthy and rather paltry diet – in the end we’re all ‘dust in the wind’.

Rich Tola - Author, Actor & Yoga Master

Rich Tola – Author, Actor & Yoga Master

Sad but true, I know. That’s why when I say Yoga changed my life, I’m referring to the evolution of my soul and illumination of my inner beauty…not the physical body. Everyone knows by now that I’m a fitness nut who’s been working out every single day for the past 35 years, so it’s not just Yoga classes that keep me slim and fit (I’ve only been a practicing for the past 8 years). It’s the overall approach to living and Union with the Divine (or Samadhi) including universal morality, open-heartedness, truthfulness, nonviolence to all things, non-greed, dedication and contentment, faith and focus, breathing and posture, control of the senses, and concentration on one’s purpose in life.

So it’s not just the physical practice of Yoga – the asanas – that keep you young and help you shine your light out into the universe. It’s the constant flourishing of your inner beauty that rules. Above all else, remember what matters most.

Enjoy – R