From her original home in Croatia to the beautiful coastline of Malaga, Spain, Karla Tafra has quickly become a beautiful yogi, not only for her well known Instagram poses and crazy vibrant leggings, but also for her well balanced lifestyle and beautiful ambition. A yogi by day and a law student by night, Karla proves that life is limitless, and that multiple passions can most definitely be juggled. Karla is a yoga teacher, passionate global traveler, health and wellness coach, and the creator of many personalized training programs and nutrition plans for wholesome living. Her yoga postures and pictures, known for their upbeat, fun vibes and beautiful background landscapes, have begun to grace our world’s virtual fitness community, and serve as a reminder that life is beautiful, whole and HAPPY! Health, wellness and strength is global.
Karla, thank you so much for joining Miss Strong for an interview today! We want to ask, since you’re always abroad…where are you right now between the United States, Croatia and Malaga, Spain?
First I want to thank you for expressing the interest in doing an interview with me. I am deeply honored and excited about this. As a matter of fact, I am replying to you from an airplane-travelling from Malaga to Croatia due to my academic obligations.
Absolutely! Thank you for taking the time to do an interview while traveling through Europe…How did you get started doing yoga?
When I was around 13 years old, I had a lot of pain in my lower back and my doctor actually advised me to go to yoga. At the time, there was only one yoga studio in Zagreb, so I decided to give it a try. Having been a dancer my whole life, I was flexible enough to do the poses, but after my first class, I had a feeling I had been using muscles I didn’t even know existed until then. I started going regularly, but it wasn’t until I met the most wonderful yoga teacher, Sandra Didara Bianco, that I fell in love with yoga. She has the most amazing energy that made me want to teach yoga and share my experience with others hoping that one day I will have half the impact on others that she had on me.
How do you think living in so many different countries has impacted your yoga practice, and your view of global beauty?
I have always been a traveler, world-lover and culture-enthusiast. In my 23 years of age I have already traveled more than someone does in his entire life, but I have only lived in Croatia and Spain for a longer period of time. Nevertheless, I think that traveling makes us richer, stronger and adaptable to every possible situation, more respectable of others and more confident in our own opinions and beliefs. Exploring other cultures and learning how every country has different views on life is what made me grow as a person and made me understand others without questioning their reasons. I definitely did feel how practicing yoga in different countries reflected upon it. Different levels of energy, peoples’ approach and environment, all influenced on how I felt on my mat. I must admit it was a pretty amazing experience.
You have some really great yoga pictures on social media, because not only are your poses challenging, but you heavily incorporate yoga with travel…you’re always in a different setting! Where is the best place you have ever done yoga?
Hahaha yes, my fiancée and I do love to change our settings quite a lot 🙂 Hmm….that’s a tough one, but I must say it was in Bali. That beautiful island has special energy and a level of peace I haven’t encountered anywhere else.
What kind of yoga do you think we should do? There are many different kinds out there…hot yoga, Vinyasa, Power yoga…what should we be doing, and why?
If you’re doing any style of yoga-you are doing it right. I wouldn’t say that people “should” be doing a particular style of yoga, I think you should go to a couple of classes and see and more importantly feel for yourself. Different styles, as well as different teachers, have different effects on you. Feel what’s right for you. My personal favorite style is Vinyasa for being able to create a flow from one asana to another depending on my mood, energy level and feelings at that particular time. I love the way it sometimes takes me to asanas I haven’t even thought I was ready to do.
Yoga isn’t just physical, it’s extremely mental. A lot of people struggle with poses like headstands and inversions, because they seem “scary.” What’s your recommendation for overcoming our fear in a yoga pose?
Don’t let my photos fool you, I do get scared sometimes haha. We are afraid of falling, hurting ourselves and losing control of our bodies. One part of overcoming our fears is our strength. We need to build strength in order to have more balance and control. The other part is letting go. That is definitely the harder one. Everyone needs to figure out for themselves what is holding them back and once they do, they can start working towards overcoming it. There is no perfect advice, no tip and no shortcuts…just a deep and meaningful relationship with the inner self.
So, what’s your advice for women trying to discover their inner beauty and strength?
Believe in yourself-as much as you can, every single day. Build up that self-confidence and surround yourself with people who fill you with positive energy and push you forward. Deep and nurturing relationships with your close ones will make it easier for you to create a wonderful connection with your inner self, beauty and confidence. Embrace all that life gives you, create a positive attitude and find time for yourself every day, even if it’s just a couple of minutes-you will be amazed by how much it does for you.
Besides yoga, do you do any other physical activities to stay healthy? How do you eat and train to stay balanced everyday?
Physical activity is a huge part of my life and I incorporate it daily. Luckily for me, I have found someone who has the same feelings towards it. My fiancée Marko and I do all sorts of activities together; running, boxing, cycling, HIIT trainings, lifting, swimming…and we love trying out new training routines and participating in all kinds of sports. We push each other further and grow stronger each day. Recently we have become obsessed with acroyoga so we’re learning and loving the process.
What a great variety! A lot of girls think that through hard-core dieting and deprivation, they’ll reach their ideal body. What’s your relationship with food, and how does that also add to your balanced lifestyle?
A healthy diet is a crucial part of my life. Due to a lot of intolerances I have been diagnosed with, I needed to change my diet more than a few times to see what works for me and what doesn’t. I think it’s extremely important to eat clean, unprocessed and nutritious food in order to live a long and healthy life. No particular diet fits everyone and you need to figure out for yourself what’s the best choice for you. I tend to eat 4-5 times a day, according to my needs. My meals include a lot of protein, mostly fish, organic vegetables and fruit and I drink a lot of water and green tea. I am absolutely addicted to organic peanut butter and eat it daily haha J Recently, I have discovered yerba mate which I am a big fan of and started using supplements such as Spirulina and Goji Berries. For snacking I definitely recommend protein bars…QuestBar©. Pure perfection 🙂 Still, I do have a vice and that is coffee but I keep it down to 1-2 espressos a day.
Speaking of needing 1-2 espressos a day…you live in Spain right now, but you’re studying law in Croatia and have to fly back and forth for exams! With the stress of traveling, law school and exams, how do you set aside time for your yoga practice?
Yeah, hahaha I am a bit crazy. :p Throughout my life, my schedule has always been fulfilled with activities and I have learned to organize myself pretty early on. The stress is always present during the most hectic times, but ever since I’ve moved here I have more time to do the things I love, more motivation and inspiration towards learning something new and spreading my ambitions even further. When you reach that place, there is nothing and no one who can stop you from allowing yourself that extra 5 minutes in the morning or devoting an hour for your yoga practice.
One thing that Miss Strong admires about you is that you do many different things; you teach yoga, study health and wellness, law, work as a social media manager, and have been a dancer for music videos and concerts in Europe. What’s the importance of not feeling limited to just one interest?
I have always been interested in a whole bunch of things and wanted to see how much I can achieve with them. By trying out different things you can discover hidden talents or fall in love with something you never thought you would. For me, that was the case with social media managing. I never thought I’d be a fit for that kind of job, but I am currently working in a wonderful PR company based in Barcelona called eWonderwall which made me fall in love with advertising J Positive and motivating work environment and inspiring work relationships make us grow each day and I am certain we will achieve great things! I always say- Do what you feel you should do and don’t ask yourself “what if it doesn’t work” because, what if it does?
Do you struggle with balancing so many things at once? If so, what do you do to stay grounded, organized and centered again?
Most of the times I have no problems juggling it all, but sometimes unexpected things happen that can complicate everything. If you’d asked me this question a year and a half back, I would have said-I freak out like everyone else haha, but ever since I’ve met the love of my life, I just talk to him. The mere sound of his voice calms me down and keeps me grounded. He’s an amazing person who I have learned so much from, who lifts me up when I’m down, believes in me even when I don’t and pushes me towards achieving my dreams and goals.
People are focused on physical health a lot, yet don’t always realize how important relationships can be for emotional health as well, so that’s a wonderful thing to point out. What is one place you’ve never been that has been on your list for a long time?
Two words- Bora Bora. Ever since I’ve been a little girl, I have felt such a strong connection to that place, I have no idea why! I mean, yes, the gorgeous beaches, the crystal sea, the amazing climate…but there are a lot of other islands that share the same characteristics. Why specifically Bora Bora? I guess I have to go there to find out!
You’ve been participating in “The Yogi Project” on Instagram. What is that?
The Yogi Project is one of the yoga challenges on Instagram I have been participating in. Instagram has developed into an amazing place where yogis have created a community which is growing each day. I am so blessed to be a part of it! Daily inspiration, motivation and support is what connects us all, making us one big happy family. Yoga challenges are the best way to be constantly connected because they allow you to track everyone’s progress as well as your own, inspire you to do things you didn’t have the courage to do before and motivate you by supporting your efforts and spreading love. I am so happy when I learn that I have motivated someone to start practicing yoga or inspired them to achieve their dreams. Being a yoga teacher is more than just doing the job I love, it’s seeing others feel better and happier achieving goals they never thought they could. I see the smile on my fiancee’s face when he manages to do a new transition or a text from my friend Nina saying she can’t wait to do yoga with me and it makes me feel whole, it makes me feel alive.
I guess my latest obsession is very well noticed haha. I buy them everywhere I can, from local shops to the well-known ones such as Nike, UnderArmour, LornaJane, Reebok, but I must say my favorites are the ones I have gotten and bought over Instagram-advertised apparel companies such as AltarEgoUsa, Teeki, SolunaMood, Onzie, Lovezuvi,YogaPaws, MandukaYoga, Gaiam, ShaktiActiveWear, LiquidoActive, DharmaBumsActive and many, many more. I love the way our Instagram yoga community has been supporting startup companies and made it possible for them to become successful!
Here’s to global health, balance, beauty, wellness and travel. Namaste Karla! Follow Karla on her journey to different countries, her yoga teachings, and wonderful yoga IG photos at: