Breaking the Rules: 11 Thoughts That Make Yoga Your Own
I recently broke all Twitter rules that I know of, and posted 11 Tweets in rapid-fire, all about yoga. Of course as my wife Tara likes to say, "Who made those rules?" So I went ahead with it, because I think it's useful. And I hoped to get away with it because it's my birthday.

If you're a yoga guide, that's great, you're here to help! Specifically, help people find their own way to their own guidelines. We all have our own bodies and minds to discover, and we're all different from day to day and year to year. The only rules that will work for us are the ones we discover for our selves, in our selves. Other people's rules are other people's rules, and are mainly useful as an example that other people can have rules.

If you're someone showing up for a yoga class, remember this is your class. It's all for you! It's not for the guide, or for spreading a "guru's" doctrine (a nice guru will just direct you back to your self anyway). Discussions and textbooks may hold some interest, but what's most valuable in yoga isn't in the printed or spoken word. It's in you.

Reflecting on what I've learned through Tara and Tao Porchon-Lynch (and her uniquely useful perspective on changes in yoga over the last 30 years), among many...  the 11 rule-breaking tweets:

1. Obsession with alignment rules is an intermediate stage in recent yoga history. Best to leave behind or skip altogether.

2. No pose or alignment is better than another from one person to the next. There is only what is right for You, right now.

3. Saying my pose or form is more "advanced" than yours is as silly as saying Angelina should act like Meryl.

4. Your needs & shapes will change day to day and year to year.

5. Alignment & pose obsession creates thinking "If only I could do That one thing" rather than doing Your Own thing.

6. Alignment obsession is a wobbly substitute for paying attention & responding to how you feel each moment.

7. Obsession with alignment in recent yoga history disconnects people from self, creates dependence on outside rules.

8. Separation from self through rule-obsession is good for comforting cults, not good for creating your own best life.

9. Heart of life (through yoga or whatever works for you) lies in discovering and following you.

10. Truly useful yoga is breathing deep & feeling your own way to who you are and what you need.

11. Use your yoga to become sensitive to You rather than follow someone else's rules. Your good life lives here.     
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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.