Freedom & Flow
Yoga is a powerful transformational tool.
Here at Yoga with Soul my aim is to translate that element of transformation to the heart of every yoga class.
I wanted to create something different, a new concept; a yoga studio that offers a diverse range of yoga teaching styles and classes with only the best handpicked yoga teachers to lead you.
Not only will you benefit from the incredible variety of styles of yoga available all under one roof; but you will also benefit from each teacher’s knowledge, guidance, inspiration and connection from their teacher’s too!
So when George approached me asking for advice on her Yoga Teacher Training path I always give the following advice to any student who asks me – do your research to find a course and teacher that really resonates with you.
And she did!
It was no surprise to me that George found her perfect pairing in Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga.
George’s love of dance and natural movement aligned with Strala’s principles of moving with ease and being in a natural state of flow, all through the connection and synchronisation of the breath.
Picture credit: George Evans
Pictured here in New York with Tara Stiles during her 200+ hour Ready to Lead training with Strala Yoga – September 2016.
In continuation of the series of articles highlighting my amazing team of teachers, their classes and unique style that each of them bring to the team, I asked George along for an interview to share her transformation from yoga student to Strala Guide…
- Why yoga? When did it begin?
I moved to Wales in 2003 to study business and the gym near my new home was advertising yoga classes so I thought I’d give it a go. I really enjoyed moving my body and taking an hour out of my day just for me.
I missed the dance school that I had left behind in my home city of Bristol and missed moving my body, I found yoga gave me the same sense of release that dance had once given. I love the way my body feels when I shift and stretch in all directions within my yoga class. After a while I began to realise that connecting my breath to my movements helped me to remain calm and focused throughout my studies. 14 years on I’m still loving my practice!
- What is your practice style and why?
I practice Strala Yoga because it makes me feel fantastic and so energised. I enjoy the continual flow of movement, moving everything I have in every way I can. Strala encourages individuals to move naturally in alignment with their body, appreciating how every one is different whilst encouraging mobile and strong bodies. Bringing softness to the body and mind to move with ease both on and off the mat.
- How has yoga helped you?
Not only does yoga strengthen my body, yoga gives me an opportunity to take a break from the demands of study and work. Deciding to become a Strala Yoga Guide has also enhanced my life greatly, I have been able to meet so many amazing people all around the world. I feel a part of something that makes people feel good, and that something that yoga offers also supports people through life’s traumas and helps build confidence too.
Yoga has helped me to realise the importance of self care, also helps me heal by listening to my body and mind, and having the confidence to find out what feels good for me. Yoga gives me the strength and the choice to live a happy and fulfilled life. Travelling to New York by myself to embark on my Strala Guide training was one of the scariest things I have ever done, I feel a great sense of achievement and new found confidence to embark on exciting future adventures!
- When you were initially developing your practice what were the pitfalls that you came across, if any?
Years of dance training really took a toll on my body and my lack of self care caused a long term intermittent injury. I was also overly flexible with a lack of strength to support my over supple limbs. I often had months at a time where I could not stretch my limbs like I knew I could and sometimes pushed myself during my yoga practice through frustration and stubbornness which increased the pain. I had an internal battle of frustration, unacceptance and a perception that I wasn’t good enough because on a particular day I couldn’t fold forward.
I got to the point where I stopped practicing yoga for several months which only made me feel worse. When I felt ready to return to my mat I started to close my eyes during practice and listen to my body instead of pushing and forcing my way into poses. It felt really good to explore my movement and linking that movement with my breath. This new attitude enhanced my yoga practice and enabled me to practice pain free consistently which made me feel really good!
Picture credit: Diana Brook
- How important do you think yoga is today…and why?
We push and force our way through life, always trying to compete, be better, improve and keep up with the pressures of life. Stress is in abundance and we often feel out of control as we ride the rollercoaster of life. Strala yoga encourages people to take control of their yoga practice, listening to the body and moving how you need to move that day, to radiate. Once you listen to your body and mind on the yoga mat, you can carry this self care and healing attitude into life. Yoga is incredibly empowering and you meet lots of like minded and supportive friends along the way!
- What’s the best and worst part of being a yoga teacher?
The best part of being a yoga teacher is when people tell you how fantastic they feel during and after class, how they sleep better and how their sporting performance has improved as it has become easier and less painful to move after years of forcing and pushing their bodies.
I am yet to find a negative element to guiding yoga!
- What’s your advice to potential yoga students?
You don’t need anything to do yoga, not even a mat – you are enough. Come along and see how it feels to move everything you have in every way you can. Inhaling softness and exhaling the tension away. Flexibility is not the goal, it’s all about having fun whilst exploring movement, building strength, getting mobile whilst moving with ease and observing your own transformation along the way. But most of all have a great time, laugh a lot and radiate!