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.

Michael Taylor

Co-Founder Of Strala Yoga & Tai Chi Expert
Mike Taylor is the co-founder of Strala along with his wife, Tara Stiles. He studied mind-body medicine at Harvard and complementary medicine at Oxford. Mike has practiced Eastern movement and healing, including tai chi and qigong, for more than 30 years. 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. His record established the strength of finding your own way in your own body rather than copying the techniques of other people’s traditions. As he got older, Mike continued on to medical applications of the mind-body connection in university. After running into walls with standard medical practice in the United States and England, he left his health care roots for a little while. As the first internet boom was getting started, he joined the startup team of one company, then founded a couple more. Now through Strala, Mike has found his way back to health care done right: helping people let go of stress in their bodies and minds, enable their lives, and become their own best caregivers.Mike has climbed some of the world’s largest mountains in Alaska, the Alps, and the Himalayas. He’s now a cyclist and runner and spends as much free time as possible exploring the backcountry on foot, skis, and snowboard. He lives in New York with his wife, Tara, and baby, Daisy.

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