What better way to get back to work after a holiday than spend the week hanging out and taking yoga classes with Strala founder Tara Stiles?!
It was so much fun to have Tara over for a week while she was promoting her new book Make Your Own Rules Diet. As well as some cool work stuff, I attended her half-day workshop and got to develop my yoga skillz. Here are some things I took away from the Strala experience.
1. Follow how you feel
Strala is all about softness and practising in a gentle, easygoing way that is kind to yourself and your body. Moving your body is natural and practising yoga intuitively will make you feel so empowered and well that it encourages you to make healthy choices in all aspects of your life. There’s a reason why most yoga studios have a super healthy cafe / juice bar attached to them instead of a fast food joint!
2. The breath-body connection
I know a lot of people that dislike yoga because they get annoyed with all the emphasis on breathing. It took me a while to understand and I sometimes felt like I was doing it wrong if I couldn’t breathe in time!
In the workshop, Tara led us through a sequence where she gave no instructions to breathe in order to illustrate how crucial it is to the way you practise. I actually forgot to breathe at certain points as I was concentrating too much on getting the poses right, and people in the class fed back that they felt more tense during this sequence. By complementing every move with an inhale or exhale the whole sequence flows more naturally and with ease. Tara likens the breath to waves rippling through an ocean. (That’s right, you are an ocean! My new yoga mantra 😉
3. Focus on the process, not the goal
It’s easy to get bogged down in poses with traditional yoga – you become too focused on what you can and can’t do and end up becoming envious of people in the class who are more flexible than you. The ethos of Strala is that there are no hierarchies – the leaders of the class are called ‘guides’ instead of ‘instructor’ to highlight this. They teach that if you stop focusing on your ego-driven goals (e.g. performing a handstand) and instead work on the process, you will achieve much more than your original ambitions. I definitely felt like I trusted my body’s capabilities more by the end of the session and I managed to make progress in poses I had previously wussed out on even attempting.
Tara truly walks her talk and I know everyone who came to the workshop left with a renewed sense of wellbeing. I enjoyed two energising and relaxing classes, and most importantly I stopped watching others in the class do better poses than me and instead connected back in with myself and what felt right for me. It was all about being in the community, moving with the process, having fun and feeling good!