Tara Stiles has been one of my favourite yogis since I first embarked on my yoga journey five years ago. I accidentally stumbled across Tara on Youtube when I was looking for beginner practices and short video sequences to ease me into the world of yoga. Since then, I’ve grown to admire her holistic approach to health and well-being; she’s serious PMA inspiration. So when I was offered the opportunity to review her latest book, Strala Yoga, I jumped at the chance.
If I’m being completely honest, I’m not usually a fan of following yoga sequences from a book.
The idea seems strange to me; surely it defeats the object of a yoga flow if you interrupt your practice to keep checking the page for the next move? However, after reading through the book, I realised that this is more of a guide that teaches the principles behind Tara’s philosophy of ‘Strala yoga’. The sequences are simply examples of how to incorporate ease and movement on the mat, whilst learning the principle of ease is the main message.
The tag line for the book is filled with promise and positivity: ‘Be strong, focused and ridiculously happy from the inside out’ – quite a weighty declaration to fulfil.
The ‘Strala philosophy’ focuses on living in a way that brings strength, energy and calm into every aspect of daily life. It explores the relationship between tension and energy, and encourages ease of movement, thought and expression.
As Tara explains, ‘Strala is a philosophy of movement that takes you back to yourself. It isn’t about strict rules or sets of poses. It’s about feeling and intuition and natural movement.’
The book starts with an introduction to the philosophy of Strala Yoga. It teaches the basic principles – from ease of breath and movement to following your intuition – as well as basic yoga movements to find your natural movement and rhythm.
Part two provides sequences for at-home yoga practices that offer a variety of focuses, including relaxation, energy and sleep.
Part three provides two daily programmes to follow – one running for seven days and the other thirty. These programmes encourage you to reflect on your feelings, and follow different flows from the book to release tension and unwind.
The picture-based flows are clearly illustrated and visually appealing, and there are instructions and advice alongside the moves that help you to understand the philosophy and mental aspects of the practice too. I’d definitely recommend reading through all of Part one before skipping ahead to the sequences, as this is where Tara lays the groundwork explaining the philosophy and how to cultivate your practice.
Overall, it’s a handbook on how to incorporate the principles of Strala yoga into everyday life, for a happier outlook. By connecting with yourself on the mat, it encourages you to find ease in tension; strength in softness; and movement in rigidity.