This course gives you a set of skills and practices grounded in the healing foundations of qigong, tai chi, and yoga, to help prevent and heal both chronic and acute back pain and injury. It also gives you a structure for applying these foundations to help with all kinds of muscle and joint challenges, as both pain relief and prevention.
Your early-bird cost is $395, which is $300 off the usual cost of $695, and is available through Sunday April 16. Once you have completed this course, everything remains here for you as an ongoing resource, for many years of practice and support to come.
We also have scholarship help and easy installment plans available. If you want to be here and need help, please just let us know (email Mike@StralaYoga.com).
Please click here to register for your early-bird special, and it’s all ready for you to begin any time.
Tai chi and qigong are known for a wide array of well-documented health benefits, and not only for much-needed help with back pain. These benefits also include strengthened immunity, reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure, improved balance, mobility, bone density, cardiovascular and pulmonary function, stress-reduction, healing trauma, and support for stress-related and other ailments, including cancer and Parkinson’s.
What’s Here For You
– More than 20 Instructional Sessions. All recorded, so you can watch any time, and support your practice for many years to come.
– LIVE Sessions on Zoom. For sharing questions, answers, and practice together. You can join live, or ask questions beforehand and watch your answers whenever you want. These sessions are all saved as well, so they’re always here for you as a resource, whatever your schedule.
– More than 40 Practice Classes. In Tai Chi, Qigong, Shiatsu, and Yoga, all here for you to move through at your own pace.
– 60+Page Guidebook. For additional instruction, case study notes, and detail, along with practical homework assignments.
– Connection and Community. Join our special online group for sharing questions and experiences with Mike, Tara, and everyone in training. Always we’re here each day, to support each other along the way.
– Begin Any Time. We’re recording everything we share, so you can start whenever you want, and watch all on your own schedule.
Introduction to the 2nd Edition
As Tara and I put together this 2nd Edition, I want to share with you about how we got here. It was 10 years ago that we created the first edition, at the time we had a yoga studio in New York. A whole lot of people were coming together here to share, and look for help with the usual challenges we all face. Maybe unsurprisingly, back pain was always near the top of the list.
Around the same time, I had gone through another round of my own back challenges, with herniated and displaced discs in my lower spine. This was accompanied by severe sciatica, that left me wondering if I would ever walk normally again, much less go back to climbing mountains. I was very focused on yoga during those years, as a way to heal and get back on my feet. So we started adapting the poses and movements, and it worked. For me, and for a lot of the people we met, evolving yoga poses into less rigid forms, and evolving the movements to be more responsive to healing needs, made a world of difference.
Then something happened. Time went by, and I found myself talking with more and more people, in more and more places. People everywhere were sharing their stories about back injuries, their loss of mobility and energy, the pain that kept returning again and again, getting in the way of pretty much everything. They also shared with me the kinds of things they were doing to help.
In hearing from all these people, eventually I noticed something was missing. With the exception of people who already practiced yoga with us, yoga wasn’t in their stories. So many people patiently listened as I explained all the ways that yoga could help. Sometimes they would move along, and I wouldn’t know what they might do next, or if anything I had shared would be useful. Sometimes months later I would get a letter, from someone who had made progress, and wanted to thank me.
But there were also a whole lot of people who would say to me, “Mike, I appreciate that yoga works for you and some people. But not for me. Down dog, that’s never going to be a resting pose. Standing on one foot, I don’t think so. And that plow pose, not in my body.”
They were telling me something – that for so many people, yoga just wasn’t accessible. It was too complicated, and took too much time to learn all these poses. Many of the poses were too uncomfortable to make any sense as a healing approach. It reminded me of why Tara and I had set out to improve yoga in the first place, by using qigong and tai chi foundations, to add more easy mobility, healing, and harmony to this practice.
People also were telling me that all this took too much time, to get to a class, or even make it through a class at home. Some people said yoga felt isolated. They weren’t sure what their doctor would think of it, or how it fit into their rehab or other care. And rehab was a whole added story, how hard it was to find something good, where the cost wasn’t out of reach, or could be covered by insurance.
Then something else happened. My back problems returned. Only now, it was made worse by an old injury in my hip, and a new injury in my knee, brought on during a mountain weekend with my old college roommates. So I was on the ground again.
I started going through what had worked for me before, but something was different. I couldn’t begin to get into a squat – that old standby yoga pose that had always been so good for freeing up lower back tension. My knee just wouldn’t let me get even close. And hip opening poses like pigeon, that could also help so much with back tension and mobility, were off my list as well.
I didn’t give up right away. These were all things that had once been so easy for me, even when I had been injured. But stubborn as I was, I eventually realized it. Yoga wasn’t accessible to me. Not in my body, not right now.
Luckily, when this door closed, another one opened. I had studied tai chi and qigong for decades before I ever took up yoga. In these practices, there are no complicated forms that require my body to look like anybody else’s. Instead, the shape you take and how you move comes entirely from you. Which is exactly how Tara and I had been working to evolve yoga for years, by following these qigong and tai chi foundations. So all I needed to do was see what’s going on with me right now, and follow a set of healing foundations that arise out of me – my shape, my body, for where I am and what I need, right now.
It was in getting through all this, through the re-opening of this bigger door, that I realized we need something more, better than what we had first shared 10 years ago. We need many more practices, more kinds and more varieties, for more people with more needs. These practices should never be isolated, but instead help our help, wherever it comes from. Nothing should be complicated or take lots of time to learn or practice. But at the same time, what’s healing should be possible to carry with us all day long, into everything we do.
So this is what you’ll find now in this 2nd Edition – simple, uncomplicated, and effective support for back pain prevention and healing, with qigong, tai chi, and yoga. You’ll discover practices that are accessible because they’re easy to learn and do, and also because they don’t require lots of extra time, or any special equipment. And you’ll find practices that are portable – that go with you always, everywhere, in everything you’re doing. So with all the great part-time help we get from professionals and practices of all kinds, now we can also have full-time help, in this incredibly important task of healing, and taking good care of yourself.
Thank you everybody for joining me here, I’m so happy we get to share in all this together now.
More About This Course
Western medicine is working miracles every day, in the emergency room, and with all kinds of diseases and conditions. But traditional therapies are not always a complete solution for some of our biggest problems, including stress-related ailments that account for most hospital visits today. Back pain continues to present a big challenge here for so many of us. So we need something more to help, and for this, we can head farther East.
Movement is central to nearly every traditional East Asian healing practice. How we move each day rewires everything about us, from our microbiome to our neurology and gene expression. So when it comes to preventing and healing back pain, we have a good place to begin right here.
This isn’t a way to isolate from or replace Western treatment – far from it. One of the things I love about tai chi and qigong practices, is they aren’t meant just for being good at tai chi, or at separating from the rest of our life. Instead, these practices are meant for working right within where we are. Tai chi and qigong practices give us a way to help our help. And this works for healing and prevention of pain, as well as for enabling better performance across our whole lives.
One advantage of tai chi and qigong practice is in its simplicity. Anyone can practice, wherever they are, with whatever time they have. While the foundations for qigong and tai chi are much the same, qigong takes this simplicity a step further, with movements that don’t require any special memorization.
If you’ve ever shivered when you’re cold, jumped up and down to wake up, or let out a big exhale to release stress, you’ve practiced qigong. It’s simply written into our human biology and design, to breathe and move in a way that supports us to be healthy, and get things done. Qigong’s simple movements give us a way to enable this design.
Most of us have been taught an incredibly self-limiting myth. It’s called no-pain-no-gain. At the heart of this myth, there’s a belief that if I’m not suffering, I’m probably not doing anything important.
Tai chi presents a very different world view, grounded in a very different way of being. It says that we accomplish most – that everything truly inspiring and magical in this world is accomplished – through harmony and peace. And it gives us a clear structure to work this out. Clinical research has strongly supported both tai chi and qigong practices for boosting your energy and mood, sleeping better, reducing chronic pain, improving strength and mobility, creating an overall sense of well-being, and even healing from the neurological impacts of trauma.
Tai chi gives us an effective antidote to no-pain-no-gain not only because it sounds better. It also works better.
What You’ll Find Here
Through a series of instructional and practice videos, reading, exercises, and homework, you’ll learn to use the movement and healing vocabularies of qigong, tai chi, and yoga. You’ll also discover how to use your everyday movements all day long, to restore and support the remarkable healing pathways we each have within us.
We’ll share and practice together an approach and techniques that work for a wide variety of common challenges with the back and spine, including joint instability, sciatica, and soft tissue strains and sprains.
Who Is This For
Everything we do is designed to help people move more easily from right where they are each day. So wherever you are is a perfect place to begin. This is true for all of our trainings, including this course to help with healing and prevention of back pain.
For teachers and healing professionals, you’ll gain a structure and process for healing that you can share with everyone you reach.
For everyone, you’ll learn to elicit and support your body’s natural healing response, as well as a variety of techniques specific for preventing and healing back pain. You’ll also learn how to get around your whole life and do what you love doing, in a way that both heals and enables you in every step.
What You Get
Watch: More than 20 Instructional Sessions, and over 40 Practice Sessions, covering an overall approach to movement and healing through the forms of qigong, tai chi, and yoga, as well as targeted practices for prevention and healing of back pain.
LIVE Sessions on Zoom: For sharing questions, answers, and practice together, we’ll have two zoom sessions – one on Saturday June 1, and another to follow up on Saturday June 24. We’ll also add a bonus session or two later in the Summer, so we can stay connected and helping each with all that comes up.
You can join these sessions live, or ask questions beforehand and watch your answers whenever you want. These sessions are saved as well, so they’re always here for you as a resource, whatever your schedule.
Read: Session notes and tips, and a 60+page manual, that gives additional direction and detail, along with practical homework assignments.
Progress: Everybody learns in their own way, at their own pace, and this course is yours to go through in your own time. We follow an adult learning model with all our trainings, and we’re here to support everyone’s process individually.
Continuing Education Credit: This course counts for 50 hours of credit, Including application to both our 200+Hour Yoga Teacher Training and 300+Hour Advanced Leadership Trainings.
Lifetime: Taking good care of yourself is the practice of a lifetime. When you learn to release stress, find harmony in your body and mind, heal what needs healing, and accomplish challenge with ease, you have something amazing to share.
These practices have been so helpful to me for decades now, in everything from high-altitude mountaineering to martial competition, running and rowing to triathlons. I’ve had my share of pain and injuries along the way, and always this has been right here for me, as a way to heal, and keep going with all that I love doing. I’m so much looking forward to sharing this with you now.
Strala courses are all led entirely by the founders. Our program is backed by mind-body medicine pioneer Dr. Deepak Chopra, and Harvard neurology professor and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Rudolph Tanzi.
Mike Taylor is the resident healer and co-founder of Strala. Named “Best Mover” by MindBodyGreen, he’s practiced Eastern movement and healing techniques, including tai chi and qigong, for more than four decades.
In his younger years, Mike challenged centuries of martial traditions in hundreds of competitions, by applying unruly imagination to a world where rules were unbreakable. As he got older, he continued on to medical applications of the mind-body connection in university. Mike studied mind-body medicine at Harvard, and alternative medicine and psychology at Oxford. After running into walls with standard medical practice in the U.S. and England, Mike left his healthcare roots, took up mountaineering, worked at a steel mill, and later founded a software company in the healthcare industry. Now Mike has found his way back to health care done right, helping people let go of stress in their bodies and minds, and become their own best caregivers.
Mike is married to Strala co-founder Tara Stiles, and climbs a few mountains in his spare time. Tara and Mike live in Brooklyn with their daughter Daisy.
Tara Stiles is the founder of Strala. Thousands of guides are leading Strala classes around the globe in partner studios, gyms, and clubs.
Tara partners with W Hotels on FIT with Tara Stiles — a global program bringing Strala Yoga classes and healthy recipes to W properties around the globe. She collaborated with Reebok to design their Reebok Yoga lifestyle range, and has authored several best-selling books including Slim Calm Sexy Yoga, Yoga Cures, Make Your Own Rules Diet, Strala Yoga, and Guiding Strala, all translated and published in several languages. She has been profiled by The New York Times, Times of India, The Times (UK), and featured in most major national and international magazines. Tara is a sought after speaker primarily on topics of business building and health & wellness. She has lectured to sold out audiences and internal conferences around the world including Fortune’s Most Powerful Women’s Conference, Epsilon, Happinez, and Hay House events.
Tara supports The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Heart Association initiative to combat childhood obesity, as well as BOKS, which together are bringing Strala classes to more than 30,000 schools around the United States and Canada.
Tara studied classical dance with ABT Principal Rory Foster, and choreography with Paul Taylor original member and world renowned master Eileen Cropley.
When Can You Begin
This training is ready for everyone to begin now, and our LIVE sessions are scheduled for June 2023.
You an start whenever you want throughout the year, and once you’ve completed everything, it’s all still here for you. Whenever you need it, just keep coming back for more.
Strala combines the movement and healing wisdom of tai chi with the form vocabularies of yoga, tai chi, and qigong, to help people release stress, move easily through challenge, and live radiantly inspiring lives.
It begins with a mindset, that says our best way to get where we’re going is to feel good along the way. It also works miracles for whole health, helping us to find ease in our bodies and minds, and create the right conditions both for healing and optimal performance.
In our Strala Training Courses, you learn to shape your destiny on every level that counts, from your psychology, chemistry and neurology, to your chromosomes and even gene expression. The unique set of skills you develop – for connecting with yourself and others, unblocking your energy, healing what needs healing and accomplishing challenge with ease – uncovers your ability to create the life you want, and be an inspiring leader to the people around you.
If you have any questions or need something, it’s always fine to reach us directly, using Mike@StralaYoga.com.
Thank you so much everybody, we’re excited to get started with you here.
– Tara & Mike
We need a practice that’s practiced always, in all the hours, in all the places, so that healing and empowering ourselves isn’t something left to the side, but occupies our center.
It’s your way of feeling better, sustainably, in everything you do. When you feel better you do better, for yourself and for everyone. We can get here together.