Backcountry Yoga: Creating Your Own Trails
There are several ways to get to important things. I found this when going up mountains. Over time I've spent a little less effort insisting on taking the hardest way up! Sometimes it's nice just to walk around the mountains rather than always pushing over their tops.

So of course there are many ways to have for ourselves, as well as share, things like whole health, happiness, and all-around good living. It's tough to give to others what we don't have a good handle on in our own lives. It begins with us.

Yoga is good for connecting us to our own feeling. In this feeling we find our intuition, and our ability to direct our own lives. When we pay attention, yoga offers a great playground for discovering and working with everything we are -- our bodies and minds -- all one whole being. So actually doing yoga and listening to our selves -- that's one path to leading a whole life that works well, and also happens to be good for sharing. 

Following systems and checklists created by other people -- this might be another way to go about things. It can give people a sense of comaraderie to all follow the same talk, the same book, and the same process.  

That said, copying what has worked for someone else can never be the same as creating for our selves, out of our selves. If we follow a process that suggests we confront certain demons, for example, we can carry that process forward. We can go out and confront! But there's a good chance we'll be walking up to those demons with our head in a rulebook. We're replicating rather than creating. The most interesting of demons, like many interesting things, ask for our full attention. Head up, eyes open. If we're not fully there, if it's not really us that's there, those demons will be back still wanting attention. And the other interesting things, maybe we just missed them.

Yoga gives us a way to create our own authentic lives, out of our own sensibilities. Of course this takes work! And that work runs through everything we are, and how we live all day every day. We have to do the yoga, listen, and then act on what we hear. That can be scary, especially if we've had plenty of practice in not listening to our selves, not holding faith in our selves. It can be easier, comforting sometimes, to give over some of that responsibility to other people, to other systems outside of our selves.  

We're worth the try. Again and again it's worth the work to build faith in our selves, and to create our own lives out of what we have inside us -- which is everything we need. That's the gift of yoga, giving us to us. There's nothing like carving our own trails.
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About the Author

Mike is a guide and resident healer at Strala Yoga in New York. Named “Best Mover” by MindBodyGreen and one of Shape Magazine’s Hottest Trainers, he’s practiced Eastern movement and healing techniques for more than three decades, including tai chi, qigong, and shiatsu.

In his younger years, Mike challenged centuries of reasonable and well-tested martial traditions in hundreds of competitions, by applying unruly imagination to a world where rules were unbreakable. As he got older, he happily become more interested in supporting bodies than disrupting them, and 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. He worked at a steel mill for a while, joined a web company, and then founded a few more. He now serves on the board of Odyl, which helps people discover books on Facebook.

As Strala's co-founder, Mike has found his way back to health care done right: helping people let go of stress in their bodies and minds, become their own best caregivers, and live happy capable lives. Mike is a mountaineer, runner, cyclist, skier, and snowboarder. Check out Michael's MBG Video Course, The Complete Guide To Yoga.