Advanced Strala Training/Leadership
So what does Advanced mean? That was one question I took with me to New York. And it soon became clear. This is about the magic that guides can create, once they have been guiding a class for a while using the principles of natural movement.
Tara Stiles led us through a week of subtle energy - to start, a discussion of the topic of the day, beautifully demonstrated classes and some experiential "lab" sessions. Well, yoga is a science after all, so the best way to guide is to feel and experiment before we share the results.
Mike Taylor also guided us through some Tai Chi and discussions, as well as guiding an awesome Strala class - the positive energy was unbelievable (we were dripping in the sticky Manhattan heat) and it was great to hear his Barry White guiding voice!
The big focus of the week was to SIMPLIFY and SUBTRACT. We discovered the effects of minimising first hand. Tara spoke of having a whole box of paintbrushes (the tools of guiding a class as per the 200 hour basic course) but challenged us to see what it was like to only use one.
"Take a big inhale, lift...exhale, soften".
We learnt how much better it is for everyone when we take time to soften ourselves and to guide from a place of our own feeling, to move how it feels good for us, and invite others to do something that resonates with them.
"You can always get better at breathing".
During the week, we tapped into our inner jellyfish, letting the breath dictate how much we moved. We learned how the breath will always guide us to a good alignment. Yoga isn't about pretty shapes, it's about what's happening inside. The goal is moving in alignment with yourself all the time. Strala chooses to not use yoga props because you're enough just as you are - you can soften your knee and find the place where you need to be.
As we prioritise connecting with the breath and moving from our centre, we leave space to feel - not just for you, but for the guide too. There is more power and sustainability by aligning to yourself, than to others. Throughout the class, we give and replenish each other as we breathe our way through the flow. It's magical.
It was incredible to see how we could connect without voice or touch, or how we could guide from behind and see people adopt our physical movement even when we weren't cueing that. We tested ourselves by simplifying more and more, and being with others on an energetic level and it felt amazing.
There seems so much to integrate into the box of paintbrushes - the principles of natural movement plus the keys to soften, breath body connection, centre, position, conservation, whole body and sensitise, but I am reassured by Tara's words, "it's awesome to make mistakes because that's how you learn", and I hope you'll enjoy joining me on this journey as I develop as a Strala Guide.
Weekly classes in Claygate, Esher and Surbiton - see www.loveyogabird.com for details.
Tara Stiles is coming to the London OM Yoga Show on Sun 21 October at Alexandra Palace. Follow this link to buy tickets before it's sold out: london.omyogashow.com.