Create Not Copy. How to make hard work feel good

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This question just came up with our online training group – something about the intertwining of fun and progress, whether it’s really possible to have both.  So my thought is, maybe this is possible.  Which is good news, because we all want more.  This need to expand and grow is part of being human.  When it goes in the right direction, it’s how we make things better, for all of us.

But what if this progress feels so much like school, or work, all heavy?  Maybe then it’s not so possible.  And maybe it’s not even progress.


As a start, if your work is with Strala, this is an easy context to talk about.  Because here we’re learning to move well, as a way to rewire our neurology and chemistry, create better habits and lose the worse ones, drop aggression and find our way instead through harmony.


So progress here – using simple structures like tai chi and yoga – is a little easier to see and measure, than it might be out in the world.  But that’s the neat thing about wiring.  When we start with simple and use it to create the habits we want, then we have them out in the world.  Even when things get much harder, much more complex.

So it’s useful to practice moving well first where things are simple for you.  Take some practice videos with yoga as an example.  In some of Tara’s videos, you might see just the fun of it, the beauty of feeling good while you move.  You might not see all the principles of moving well so obviously, like softness, connection between body and breath, or “jellyfishing.”  But she’s all the time doing it.  It’s part of why she’s able to move well through what she’s moving through.

When we’re moving well, all of this is coming together in harmony.  And then in some practice videos, you might see all the parts of moving well more obviously.  And part of this is for instruction and learning, so the structure for progress is very clear.  Either way, there’s something important here about progress.


Progress, expansion, is a process of creating, not copying.  It arises out of you.  Partly this happens through getting out of your own way.  Partly its coming into harmony with your whole self, so your energy opens and flows easily.  Which is fun!


But if we try for progress in a different way – if we try to look like someone else, memorize someone’s ideas, push ourselves hard to form a certain shape out of our bodies, or our lives – then this isn’t fun.  And probably, it’s also not progress.  It’s how we find ourselves in that place where having more feels like having less.


Coming back to simple, the idea with yoga or tai chi practice is never to look like me or Tara, or anyone.  The idea is to have this structure – these principles and practices of movement – for learning in your own body.  So we’re all following the same principles, that come along with these humans bodies we all have.  But the form is your form.  It’s not a copy, never trying to be something else, or someone else.  It comes out of you.  It’s you.

So don’t worry about following too closely with me, or with Tara.  Put your focus on how you move.  And for this kind of practice, it’s helpful to focus on simple things, small moves.

If you head right for what’s most challenging to you, you might get through it, but probably not by moving well.  Probably more by using old habits.  Which reinforces them, makes them stronger.  It’s why it’s so easy to fall out of harmony with ourselves, to use force, aggression, even anger, when things get hard.  We have so much practice here, our wiring for this is very strong.

So the best chance for practice is when things are simple.  And when things get more complicated, then you have it – the new habits you need to move more easily through challenge.


This isn’t just about doing anything at all that feels good.

It’s about expanding and progressing with what we’re able to do, in a way that feels good.


This is a big life shift.  We’re most of us used to accomplishing things the hard way, a way that doesn’t really feel good at all. And then other times we can just have fun – but that won’t really get us anywhere.  We’ll just have to make up for it later by doing things the hard way some more.

And this has gotten us all some places.  But it’s also kept us from some places.  It’s kept us from our potential.  It’s kept us limited.  So there’s this better way, that gives us both.  The expansion and progress we all want as humans. And the ability to feel good, doing what we want to do, always.

Let small moves lead to big moves.

by Mike


About Strala Yoga Training

Strala combines the movement and healing wisdom of tai chi with the form vocabularies of yoga, tai chi, qigong, and Traditional Chinese and Japanese Medicine, 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 Yoga 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.

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