Strala yoga is a game-changing style of movement inspired by the philosophies of Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga and Chinese Medicine. In Strala, emphasis is placed on efficient movement and creating a healthy practice that is sustainable, empowering, and freeing for everyone, regardless of experience or body type.
This Face the Current Sports & Fitness Feature is published in Issue 22 / Winter 2019. Order PRINT here, or continue reading this article below.
Strala is so powerful because it is more than just a style of yoga; it’s a movement-based mindset that can be applied to any area of life. Strala can be practiced standing in line at the grocery store, working out at the gym, dancing, playing music, and walking down the street. It’s a philosophy rich with East Asian inspiration that makes living fun, expansive, and explorative.
Strala combines the movement wisdom of tai chi with the forms of yoga, tai chi, qigong, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, as a way to help people release stress, heal, and move more easily through all kinds of challenge.” -Stralayoga.com
The founders of Strala, Tara Stiles and Mike Taylor, didn’t create Strala because they thought there needed to be another style of yoga. They used their expertise of yoga, mind-body medicine, and East Asian arts, and applied it to traditional yoga forms. Their intention was to give the world a personal practice built to sustain, heal, prevent injury, and feel mega-badass in the process.
What makes Strala so effective is one of its core principles: softness. Softness is the relaxation before the breath. It’s the release, the letting-go of tension before moving, which allows the expansion and contraction of the breath to guide movement. When this happens, the relaxation-response is created within the body allowing for deeper awareness, deeper feeling, and deeper healing.
This is yoga that moves far beyond poses, helping you blow past your goals and get into your dreams. It’s a freedom flow that expands your limits and cracks you wide open. You reveal your radiantly inspiring self.” – StralaYoga.com
When practicing Strala, it is healthy to rethink traditional yoga poses and sequences to see what feels most intuitive as not everyone is going to move the same way. Because of this, not everyone will look the same and that’s perfect. Strala yoga creates the space where it’s okay to explore and move in whatever way feels good.
This leads to another core principle of Strala: be easily moveable. One way to be easily moveable is to shift weight side-to-side. With weight on one side, the other tends to be free, making it more easily moveable. Try it by standing up, putting a bend in the knees, and gently shifting weight side-to-side to notice how it feels. Now, take an effortless step with the weightless leg and then bring the weight into that foot and switch. This idea of freeing up one side to gain movement can be applied throughout a yoga practice in order to achieve more with less energy. Why would doing more with less energy be important? Well, if how we do one thing is how we do all things, then learning to accomplish more with less effort on the yoga mat would have resounding effects in our everyday lives.
Another way to think of being moveable is to think of someone standing, clenching every muscle in their body, joints locked, and filled with tension. Now, imagine another person comes along and shoves them. The stiff person will most likely lose their balance and perhaps fall over. However, if this person softened with bent knees and was in a balanced space, the force of the push would be manageable. With ease in the body and a balanced foundation, perhaps the person would flow with what comes and remain standing.
Strala is a way of being, moving, and healing, that helps people connect with how they feel, move how it feels good, and handle challenges with ease.” –StralaYoga.com
The practice of Strala (finding softness, establishing breath-body connection and being easily moveable) goes beyond the yoga classroom and into everyday life, becoming a lifestyle. It can be something that is always practiced and used to explore life in healthy, fun, and connected ways that feel damn good.
Woody Woodrow is an internationally touring musician, yoga instructor, and a daily meditator. He helped found his heavy rock band “Our Last Night” over a decade ago and now travels around the globe sharing Yoga and Meditation before his shows. He loves connecting and supporting others to live their dreams and become the rockstars of their own life. You can find him on his blog each week at www.woodywoodrow.com