There are three types of Yoga that have impacted my life; Kundalini, Ashtanga & Strala. Each form of Yoga appeared to me exactly when I needed it, each practice served a great healing purpose, and each practice holds a very special place in my heart.
“Move like water, fueled by your breath. The result is Flow State. You tap into your creativity and intuition. You feel elevated, energized. You find your own best body, best fitness, and best health. You get happy. You radiate light.” – Strala Yoga
The word “Strala” translates to “radiates light” in Swedish. Strala Yoga is a philosophy of movement that brings you back to yourself (Tara Stiles-Strala Yoga p. 02) There is great emphasis placed upon moving with ease, focused & natural movement, & connecting with yourself.
Strala Yoga reached me at a point in my life where I felt unreachable. I hadn’t done yoga in a few years, I was depressed, drinking constantly, and living a very unhealthy lifestyle. There was a lingering sensation in my heart telling me something was missing. One day, I decided to search “yoga” on YouTube and “The Yoga Solution” by Tara Stiles popped up. I browsed and browsed for hours, overwhelmed by the amount of free 10-15 minute yoga videos were on her channel. I was so excited, I immediately cleared a space in my home and practiced. It was only 15 minutes long, but it was the first bit of yoga I had done in well over 2 years.
When I was finished with the mini yoga session, I felt amazing. 15 minutes of strala yoga and I felt more excitement than I had felt in years. Something inside of me woke up, tuned in & became inspired.
For the next few months, I was practicing from The Yoga Solution on youtube, I moved on from one 15 minute video to syncing 3 or 4, for what felt like a personalized yoga session right in my home, just for me.
My lifestyle didn’t change immediately, but over time I began to become more aware of how I was feeling, what I was eating, and where I was truly happy & unhappy in my life. I started making wiser choices, eating healthier, & eventually quit drinking alcohol entirely.
I was so inspired by Strala Yoga, by Tara Stiles, I wanted to be a part of this movement, this yoga, this practice. This became the fuel for my desire to become a yoga teacher.
Tara Stiles made yoga accessible to me & thousands of other people for free, with ease, and in the privacy of my own home. Strala yoga ignited a fire within me I thought had faded long ago.
If Strala Yoga could reach me in one of the darkest places of my life, I wanted to share that. I wanted to be a part of that magic.
“The magic isn’t in making shapes with your body, it is what’s happening inside during this moving meditation.” (Strala Yoga p.10)
I enrolled in a Yoga Teacher Training that changed my life. Although it was not a Strala training, at the time getting to NYC was impossible for me, so I did a local Ashtanga Yoga training and began my journey to teaching yoga. For a while, I maintained a Strala practice during my training. However as the training progressed, I developed a love for Ashtanga, and at this point in my life, that was just what I needed. Slowly I began practicing more and more ashtanga, and less & less Strala. After graduation, I developed a strict 6 day a week ashtanga yoga practice, I taught ashtanga based classes, & strala faded into the background for the next few years.
Yoga in general is amazing, it will heal you & guide you back to your truest form of self. I have a deep respect for all lineages, practices and practitioners of all styles of yoga. Yoga has so many different paths to the exact same goal, same ending location. It’s just a matter of which path is the best fit for the individual.
Over the last few years, I have experimented with my personal Yoga practice. I spent 9 months apprenticing under a Kundalini teacher, 2 years absorbed in the practice. I spent 7 months learning ashtanga from an authorized teacher, 2 years absorbed in the practice. The last year for me has been a series of yoga-hopping. Practicing ashtanga, kundalini, strala, hot yoga, vinyasa flow, you name it! I have observed how each form of yoga makes me feel before, during and after.
During my experimental process, I have noticed my personal tendencies on and off the yoga mat. What aspect of each practice do I take from the mat & into my personal life? I am very much attracted to power, intensity & rigor. I love ashtanga & Bikram yoga for those reasons. I chase poses in ashtanga one day, and yearn for the hottest most intense yoga class the next. My idea of progress was directly correlated to how much effort you put into a practice.
“A Shift of Focus;
Tension is an interesting thing. In a way, its idolized as something that can help you succeed. If you push hard, fight hard, and work hard, you will get to the top. That’s what we’re taught. Winning is all about being the one who tries the hardest.
That’s how it was for me. I valued my tension. I needed it in an unhealthy way. In my eyes, it was a mark of hard work, independence, dedication, and effort I needed to achieve. Relaxation wasn’t an option, Any approach that involved ease was lazy, unsophisticated, & irresponsible. ” (Strala Yoga p.11)
When I read this excerpt, I had to stop and put the book down. The weight of this passage hit me hard, and personally. I spent a lot of time working hard to do better, be better, aim higher. I take that intensity off of my yoga mat and into my personal life in a negative way. I scrutinized my loved ones, I was impossibly hard on myself. I noticed, when I practiced with rigor, I lived with that rigor.
Naturally, I am a very anxious minded person, all or nothing, black or white, intense, obsessive, and terribly hard on myself. When I stepped back and thought about what attracted me to these specific styles of yoga it hit me. I am attracted to Strala Yoga because the practice embodies everything I struggle with; ease, peace & going with the flow around you.
In the past when I went on my “strala-kicks” I noticed that I felt the best. I leave my mat feeling peaceful, calm & collected which again, Is something I practice not something I naturally am.
Before yoga teacher training, this sense of ease was exactly what moved me and inspired me. I went off and explored, and I learned a lot, but I am ready to come back.
I am committing to a new experiment & I am so excited to begin this! I am participating in a 7 day Strala practice, followed by a 30 day guide to ease, totaling 37 days of diving deeper into this ease of body, mind & soul.
I will be sharing progress videos, blog posts, photos and more! I will also share my favorite recipes from Tara Stile’s book Make your own rules diet.
Day one of this journey prompted me to contemplate non-physical goals. Here are a few I came up with:
- to feel relaxed
- at ease mentally
- & to feel LOVE for myself
Your turn! Yes, you reading this. What are some non-physical goals you would like to manifest changes in? Let them be positive. Let them be true. Write them down, and for the next 7 days, see if you can make actions towards achieving your goals.
Connect with me & tune into the next chapter of my yoga journey.
Interested in taking the Strala ease challenge? Check out the links below
Strala Yoga- the book <—- challenge here
Make your own rules diet- the book <— recipes here
Strala Yoga- the website <— all of the strala hour long classes can be found here
Tara Stiles YouTube <—- complete FREE resource for 10, 15 ,30 & hour long strala classes
Here is a video of my physical strala practice.
Practice: Strala STRONG
** music by Pensees
** yoga sequence: Strala Strong with personal modifications