High performers – from professional athletes to scientists – talk about a sweet spot of effort that leaves room for creativity, improvisation and spontaneity, which are essential for high-level achievement. It’s in that space we experience the feeling of being ‘in the zone’.
And this is the key concept of Strala Yoga, which is all about following how you feel in the structure of a movement. In most yoga classes, there are options, but in Strala, you choose which to take based on what feels great in the moment, instead of what you can or can’t do when pushed to your limit.
It’s designed to spark your creative curiosity and remind you of your freedom to explore, play, and have fun, explains Tara Stiles, yoga instructor and founder of Strala Yoga. The result? A new experience of movement and a very happy yogi. Limber up for Tara’s eight-part sequence:
1 Start in child’s pose. Sit your hips on your heels and relax your arms on the ground in front of you. Sway a bit if that feels good to you. Hang here for a few long, big breaths.
2 Staying easy in your body, when you’re ready, raise up on to all fours. Move your torso around, however it feels good for you, arching and rounding your spine in time with your breath.
3 Linger where it feels nice, and stay with this pose for a few long, deep breaths.
4 When you’re ready, tuck your toes, take a big inhale, and lift your hips up and back in to down dog.
5 Tuck your chin and roll out to your plank pose. Sway a bit side-to-side or forward and backward, if that feels nice.
6 Shift your weight to your left hand, lift your hips up, take a big inhale, and open your body to your left side. Maybe stay here, or lift the top leg up or lower your bottom shin down, however feels good for you. If you want a bit more stability, soften your left shin to the ground for support. Hang here for a few long, deep breaths, then come back to plank and try the move on the other side.
7 When ready, tuck your chin and roll into plank. Soften your knees to the ground, then your hips. Maybe look over one shoulder and then the other to open up a bit. If this doesn’t feel OK on your lower back, soften your elbows even more, opening up your middle and upper back. Taking a big inhale, open your chest forward.
8 Soften your hips to your heels, relax in child’s pose and rest here for a few moments.
Extract adapted from Strala Yoga by Tara Stiles (Hay House, £15.99). Find out more about Strala Yoga and online classes at tarastiles.com.