The Department of Health & Human Services designates September as National Yoga Month ! The purpose of National Yoga Month is to increase awareness and share education on the health benefits of yoga and making healthy lifestyle choices. September seemed like a great time to consider my relationship to yoga.
Over the last few years, I have dabbled with yoga off and on. I have been wanting to find a way back to my mat and have been spending the month of September exploring yoga as a daily practice.
I have taken yoga classes in the past so I had a basic idea of the poses and a little about flowing between movements. The great thing about yoga is that all you really need are some comfy clothes and space to move, whether in the house or out in nature. So with the dogs at my feet (literally) I got back on my pink yoga mat.
Early in the month, I spend some time browsing through meditation, yoga, and healthy lifestyle books. I do not get to a bookstore very often but when I do, it is such a lovely time spent read titles, pick up books, and feeling the pages flip through my fingers. I was not exactly sure what I was looking for but thought a book might help guide my yoga practice explorations. After a lot of time spent joyfully flipping through books I found a book that ended up being really helpful, so, of course, I must share it with you!
Strala Yoga: Be Strong, Focused & Ridiculously Happy from the Inside Out by Tara Stiles is a new book that came out in August and has been a wonderful guide for me.
Stiles developed her own moving meditation style of yoga that focuses on ease to connect with yourself. As she shares in the opening chapter Discovering Ease:
“It’s [Strala Yoga] about focusing on the process rather than stressing about the outcome. It’s about turning in to what feels good for you. It’s about letting tension and worry slide away to create space for creativity, passion, improvisation, and joy.”
The book is broken down into three parts. In Part One, Move With Ease you learn about the Strala philosophy and get the chance to dive right into practice with a series of examples. Each example guides you through the difference in how poses can feel when you approach yoga practice focused on breathing and ease of movement. In Part Two, Radiate Through Movement has a series of chapters dedicated to a different movement series for energy, stress relief, winding down, waking up, and more. Part Three, Daily Program shares a 7-day and 30-day guide.
I found the book has been really helpful in guiding my explorations and discoveries into movements that feel good for me, rather than just simply getting in the “correct” position. You can learn more about Strala Yoga at tarastiles.com.
Before you go
If I had to give a little advice, I think it would be to just start where you are. Breathe. Listen to what you need in each moment. Enjoy the process. It is an evolving approach that I have found continues to bring me an increased level of joy whether I am wandering in the woods, running, hiking, or practicing yoga.