Living Softly

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Living Softly is a response to the current culture of stress we are all bathing in. We are post Girl Boss, in the midst of a loneliness epidemic, and craving some relief. Hustle Culture has gone from a reputation of a fun independent, lifestyle, to the realization that it’s a hamster wheel of wanting more and never feeling satisfied.

You CAN achieve your goals without destroying your wellbeing. You can follow your passions and contribute your energy and talents to the world without being buried in stress. You can live in a natural state of flow, moving through conflict and challenging emotions with grace and awareness while avoiding the push-harder, do-more mentality that huts our bodies and our spirits.

Living Softly is that way.

Portable Practice – Lean on Me

Being comfortable begins with your position and finding a way not to struggle or build tension. You just want to be where you are, whether it’s siting in a meeting, standing on a subway platform, working at a loud cafe, playing with your child or even arguing with your partner.

There is a wonderful leaning exercise we lead in our workshops that immediately shows you if you are in a comfortable position, how you feel about yourself, and how you relate to others. This is a great practice to do with a partner, so if you have a friend or even a willing co-worker, see if they’d be up for trying this with you. Sit back-to-back with your partner and move yourself until you feel comfortable.

Sounds easy enough, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The first reaction people usually have when I ask them to sit back-to-back is to worry about how their partner is feeling and start making adjustments to accommodate them. For example, they’ll try not to lean to much on their partner out of concern for making them uncomfortable. They’re worried they might be pushing too hard or aren’t balanced in their positioning. Giggles often take over to mask awkward feelings, as well. But one of the great things about this exercise is you can’t hurt anyone by simply siting back-to-back with them. You’re not shoving your partner or slamming your full body weight onto them like a WWF wrestler, you’re simply leaning a little bit of you onto them. When we intentionally try to make it better for our partner, we make it worse for ourselves…which ultimately makes it worse for both of us. We’re so used to the idea of mentally and physically suffering for the sake of others we often don’t even realize we’re doing it, which is why this exercise is so important. In order to make something comfortable for the other, we must make it comfortable for ourselves first.

Once you adjust your body position so you’re comfortable, your partner naturally becomes more comfortable. Think about if you were to sit and lean against a tree. Your body and mind naturally moves into a state of calm because the tree is sturdy and secure. The same is true when we sit back-to-back with a partner. Healing happens not because your partner or the tree is doing something to you. Healing happens in your reaction to the relationship of feeling calm and safe. We don’t worry if the tree feels good when we lean against it, we just lean. If you worry about your partner you’re having the opposite effect.

So practice this with a partner of your choice. Sit back-to-back and in a way, try to forget about them. Don’t worry about what they might be thinking or how this is going for them. Rather, focus on your body. Adjust in a way that feels good for you. Try slowly leaning forward and backward while staying connected to your partner until you settle in a position that feels easy. Notice how you feel. Hang here for a while. Don’t rush. Notice what you are aware of. How do you feel? Grounded? At ease?

When people eventually shift toward their own comfort in our workshops, they report that their partner leaned on them in just the right way and in just the right places, with just the right amount of pressure. We hear a lot of, “How did they know my back needed just that?” or “That felt like magic.” Both partners feel connected and supported.

Try this practice a few times in the coming weeks and notice how wen you’re in resistance, you’ll feel disconnected even while touching, but once your release your thoughts and allow your body to do its things, a sense of peace will wash over you.

More Resources for Living Softly

I learned this leaning practice from our shiatsu teacher, Sam Berlind. You can dive into Strala Online 100+Hour Connect and Heal with Shiatsu Training to learn and practice more.

Here is a little reel on a moment in my life that “getting in a comfortable” position helped things.

Listen to a conversation with my friend Dr. Avanti Kumar Singh on The True Power of Softness.

Listen to The Myth of Softness on the Tara Stiles podcast.

For daily practice, meet us on the Strala Yoga app.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with the Tara Stiles podcast. Every episode opens with a meditation and glides into the topic or conversation with an inspiring guest. Make sure you add some more ease and goodness to your day and subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also watch the video on the Strala Yoga app.


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What People are Saying

Amazing Experiences and Insightful Ideas

It is so wonderful that Tara can share all her amazing experiences and insightful ideas with us, thank you! Learning so much about yoga and myself.


Thank you for *finally* creating a podcast Tara! Love hearing your voice! I’m looking forward to listening to each of your episodes so they can bring more ease into my life. I’ve been recommending your yoga workouts since your Strala days in NYC, and you bet I’ll be recommending this podcast too! 😉

Life Support a la Tara

The energy in Tara’s voice alone is reason enough to listen to this podcast. You’ll come for the wisdom and stay because, as with all things Strala, you just feel better when you’re here. Thank you, Tara, for creating yet another space where we can all explore a better way together.