Karla Tafra is a yoga teacher from Croatia, now living in Malaga, Spain. She first encountered yoga due to having back problems over ten years ago, and has continued practicing ever since. Her love towards yoga pushed her to become a teacher, so she finished her RYT200 at Gaia Yoga School in Croatia.
Karla loves sharing her experience with others, seeing progress in her students and discovering everyday how much she can affect others, and how much she can improve herself. She has experience in both practicing and teaching all styles of yoga, but most of her practice revolves around Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Hatha and Prenatal yoga.
Having taught in lot of different yoga studios, gyms and individual private classes, the individual classes are the ones Karla love most because of the approach and devotion she can give to each person.
When did you get started in training and living a fit lifestyle?
I’ve been a dancer my whole life, so daily practice comes natural to me. Yoga came into my life when I was 13 years old and my doctor suggested I try it for my lower back hyper lordosis and I’ve been going to the gym for the past 5 years. I always try to learn different training methods and see which ones do my body good.
What is your daily routine like?
My daily routine starts with a glass of lemon-infused water and coffee, after which I hit the gym or do a yoga session. Now my day can properly begin 🙂 I work from home so I have the luxury of experimenting with cooking different meals and avoiding food prep. After working hours, I usually take long walks to the city or the beach with my fiancée and use the evenings to relax and recharge for the next day.
What is your training routine like?
I change my routine every couple of weeks/months because your body adjusts to the exercises and can’t react as well as it does in the beginning. Usually my gym routine consists of 2 upper body, 2 lower body weight-lifting days and 1-2 cardio days per week leaving the remaining day or two to rest. I learned that this formula works the best for my body and gives it enough time to recuperate. But, due to the fact that I travel a lot, I listen to my body and adjust accordingly. Sometimes I’m so tired that I take a whole week off at the gym and just do yoga all the time. It’s important to learn what your body is telling you and not act against it.
Have you ever felt like quitting? If so what motivates/motivated you to keep going?
We all have days when we feel we would rather stay in bed than get on the mat or lift a dumbbell, but it’s important to keep yourself motivated and inspired. I started my Instagram journey as a way to promote myself when I moved to Spain because I didn’t know anyone in the area and I wanted to find a job, but in the end Instagram turned out to be an amazing place where I entered the growing yoga/fitness community which inspires me every single day and keeps me working hard.
What advice would you give to a complete novice? Someone who is out of shape and doesn’t know where to start?
Research. A lot. Try out different studios & gyms, learn from different people and then see how your body reacts. Push yourself to work hard but listen to your body and let it rest as well. Find someone who inspires you & motivates you to go even harder. It doesn’t have to be someone you know, you can just browse through Instagram and see 1000 amazing men & women posting their routines and challenges.
Do you have a favourite healthy recipe?
Ooooh…food…I always say I have 4 Big Loves. My fiancée, food, training & travel ☺ Recently, I got hooked on Raw food recipes so my favorites are raw-cashew-chocolate cake from Inspiral (London) and mocha cake from Nama Foods (London)
What is your guilty pleasure?
Definitely ice-cream and chocolate. And both ☺
How do you deal with food temptation?
Like I said, I love raw cakes. They are the perfect desserts and most of them are guilt-free! Also, Quest Nutrition Bars. My favorite protein bars in the whole world. They taste like Snickers or Oreo’s and they are good for you!! But, sometimes, I do indulge – there’s nothing wrong with that every once in a while. After all, we are all human ☺
Outside of your area of expertise, is there any other activity or sport that you partake in? why?
I tried Boxing & Acrobatics and liked it both a lot. I love to try out different activities and challenge my body. It amazes me to see what our bodies can do and I want to find out and explore as much as I can about mine.
What does your nutrition consist of?
My diet is mostly Mediterranean. A lot of fish, vegetables, nuts & berries. I also love meat, but eat it only 1-2 times a week. I use coconut oil for everything and agave or stevia as a sweetener. My carb intake has to be gluten free so I mostly use basmati rice, wild rice & quinoa.
Do you usually train alone or with a partner?
I usually train with my fiancée but other than that, I prefer working out alone. I love to be alone with my mind and concentrate on my breathing and technique.
What is on your workout playlist?
I rarely workout with music because I have to get myself good headphones haha but my playlist would consist of R’n’b & House music.
What aspect of exercise do you struggle with?
In the beginning I used to struggle with breathing and that was a big problem for me. I had to remind myself to stop holding my breath during a tough asana or gym rep. It still gets me sometimes.
What is your training routine like?
My yoga style is mostly Vinyasa. Being a dancer, I love to transition from one asana to the other and just go with the flow of the day. When I practice, I never think of a plan beforehand; I just go with it ☺
My gym sessions are completely opposite- they are carefully planned according to the results I want. When I exercise, I have a paper with me so I can write down my weights and track my progress.
Who are your fitness inspirations?
My biggest Yoga Inspirations are my mentor, Sandra Didara Bianco as well as many wonderful people on the Instagram Yoga Community.
-My biggest fitness inspiration is Nikki Blackketter. She is an amazing fitgirl from Houston, Texas. I follow her for tips & tricks and she motivates me when I feel like I don’t want to work out haha ☺
Looking back, what do you think has been the key to achieving your results?
Never giving up. One of my toughest periods was when I tore my hamstring. I felt like a complete beginner and I couldn’t forwardbend deeper than 90 degrees. I thought I was never gonna be back on track. Yoga helped me a lot and showed me that the injury happened for a reason and that I must pay closer attention to the signals my body was telling me. I never used to take rest days because I thought I was missing out on something and that If I rest I will never progress. Now I know that rest is one of the key elements of progress. Your muscles need it in order to be able to grow and be healthy.
What does fitness and health mean to you?
Everything. I don’t want to be a type of person that goes through life sitting in a cubicle and working 60 hours per week earning a 6 figure income just to be able to spend all that money on medication later in life. I want to create as non - stressful life as I can and keep my body healthy and in shape so I can successfully jump over any obstacles that come my way.