When Self-Help Doesn’t Help

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Hi Friends!

There’s a lot of self-help out there. It can be practices like yoga, tai chi, a walk in the hills. It can be thought-provoking, like books, conferences, inspirational instagrams. Sometimes, it helps. People get healthy, intuitive, creative. They handle challenge more easily. They lift up everyone they touch. You want to know these people.

And sometimes self-help doesn’t help. People get less healthy, in their minds and their bodies. Intuition and creativity are lost to following and copying. Many seek the next expert-guru to tell them where to go, what to do, how to live. I’ve seen this happen around yoga and wellness, but it’s not just a condition within these communities. It’s a human condition. We’ve all seen it. Maybe even in our own lives.

What if you could just go to the kind of self-help that actually helps? What if there was a giant red flag flying high over the kind that doesn’t? I don’t have a perfect or complete list, but I’ve seen a few of these flags over the years.


I’ve also seen enough to know
how irreplaceably valuable we each are,
in our individuality, our ability to intuit, to discern,
to tell the difference between a red flag
and a green one, and to create from what is wonderfully unique in each of us.


And along the way, we get to support each other. Because we’ve all seen some of the flags, both red and green. I’ll share some of mine here.


Red Flag

If you gravitate toward self-help — wanting someone to help you — it doesn’t work

If you gravitate toward yoga — wanting yoga to help you — it doesn’t work.


Here’s the problem. Nobody else’s rules, ways, or life plans are going to do much for you. Nobody else’s yoga is going to do much for you.


The yoga that works is the kind you make for yourself.

The life that works is the kind you make for your self.


If you push and force to get into someone else’s rules, someone else’s shape, someone else’s life, you may feel temporarily better, or at least distracted. A purpose has been given to you. But it won’t last. It’s not yours.

On one level, the stress and strain of this struggle creates physical injury. It’s exhausting. And it gets worse from here. Weakened immunity and a host of stress-related ailments follow. If you keep practicing this choice, your mind and your life become something less. Because what you’ve practiced is saying “I’m not enough. I can’t get where I need to go on my own feet. I need someone else to get me there.”

Luckily. there’s also a green flag, that sets you up for a very different kind of practice, and a very different kind of life.


Green Flag

Self-help works when you help yourself.


It seems obvious, but this one can be tough. When you’re looking for self-help, inertia tends to pull you into something different: sharing your failure and struggle. This isn’t always a bad thing. It can be comforting. But it doesn’t help if you get stuck here, in old stories and habits that don’t help, and don’t need to be yours now.


It’s time to trade the things that don’t work
for things that do. It’s time to move
from negative into positive.

This takes practice.


For self-help to work, you need to move past shared failure into shared success — not holding each other down while hiding from challenge — but lifting each other up to handle challenge with ease.

We aren’t generally looking to wrap a security blanket around ourselves, change our names, and hide away from the world. But if we’re not careful, that’s the easiest thing to do. It’s what a bundle of self-help gurus give, because it’s what they have in their own life. Struggle, without uplift.

What you have in your own life is what you have to share. So here’s one more red flag.


Red Flag

Self-help gurus who have the words, but not the life.


You’re not learning so much from someone who bought a pile of followers on Instagram. And you’re not uplifted by hearing someone repeat what they read in a book. You’re in this to be inspired to create an inspiring you. Inspiration is infectious.


We give to each other
exactly what we’ve created in our own lives.


It takes work to build something useful in your life. Even more important, it takes belief in your self — in your ability to be the most capable originator of your own inspiring life.


Green Flag

In whatever form they take – friends, teachers, colleagues – people who know we are not here to fix each other. They are not trying to correct, adjust or change you. They don’t solve your problems or give you your answers. But they listen. They are here. And in sharing who they are, they uplift you. It’s in their being, the connection they have with themselves, how they connect with you, how they move in this life.


This is how you help yourself

Slow down, at least sometimes.
Enough that if you run into something interesting,
you might notice it.

Breathe deep, and connect to you. Connect to how you feel.

Believe. Believe that what you feel is relevant,
and worthy of your response. More than anything.



Find your own way to make your own radiant health and life. Messages of help — or helping hands — can inspire us. They can lift us up. But we each get to do our own work, on our own feet.

Don’t wait for yoga, spirituality, any community or anyone to do things for you. Do it for yourself. Right now. Support others to do the same, and you’ll be supported in return.

You create great things in the world when you create great things in yourself.

– 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 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.

Who’s What’s and When’s of Strala Yoga Training



Finding the right distance. It’s a practice we can feel out and adjust in every moment. Cool thing is when you create a good relationship with yourself, finding the right relationship with others becomes a joy.From @stralayoga training in Berlin a couple years back. We are hoping to be there with a nice group next summer celebrating finding the right relationship.#stralayoga #shiatsu #yogateachertraining #taichi
When we soften, much more becomes possible. #stralayoga #taichi #shiatsu
It’s so easy to stick to habits that are familiar, even when they are destructive. We all have our reasons, our armor and our guard up to protect ourselves against whatever specific formula triggers us. We are afraid if we are more gentle with ourselves, we won’t be braced to defend ourselves, but the opposite is true. Moving like you love yourself in yoga and life is a choice to create a new, lasting habit, a way of being truly you.Tai Chi, nature, science, and the wisdom of your Great Grandmother, remind us when you go to war with yourself, you lose. When you move with whole self harmony towards progress, treating every bad habit you find along the way as a gold mind opportunity to move toward balance, you feel better, your body works better and you have access to more of yourself. You have a chance to do some good.I move like I love myself. It can start with an idea, a mantra, a practice, a way of being. If you choose to let it make a home in you, you will have gone to peace with yourself. Anything is possible.Pic by @jes.lock & @arslanstype @sundanceresort for Rest & Renew Training & Retreat#connection #selflove #wellbeing #stralayoga #taichi
Giveaway Time 🎁📚Long time @stralayoga friend @rainesfordstauffer a bright star for good, has written a beautiful new book An Ordinary Age.It’s so great to see so many great reviews and impactful media coverage for such a fantastic young person and topic. We’re giving away (buying and sending as a gift from me to you) three copies. (3 copies from @stralayoga account and 3 also from @tarastilesTo enter:
Comment on what you are doing for self care today.
Tag 2 friends who you want to feel better.
Follow @rainesfordstauffer @stralayoga & @tarastiles so 6 copies in total)Take good care.We’ll announce 3 winners in our story on Monday May 17.#selfcare #rainesfordstauffer #anordinaryage #giveaway #bookstagram
We share the relationship we are already having with ourselves. Self care isn’t selfish, it’s necessary and takes the pressure off of trying to fix everyone & everything.@bibinsb & @lexluca are great examples ♥️Great memory from a great group in Amsterdam. #stralayoga #connection #selfcare #shiatsu
Fun one 👋Why do you practice ease? To feel better, to be able to enjoy more, serve more, to have enough energy to run around with the little ones in your life or something else? Pic by @inaraa_yoga before class in Berlin.Let us know in the comments.
Every  breath is an opportunity to feel better.
I create calm. When I choose to center myself, I create calm for me and the world around me.Welcome May, welcome our monthly theme, welcome our practice calendar, welcome calm. #stralayoga #createcalm
The mute button. 🤫An easy DIY #shiatsu to practice with yourself or with a partner. This #tsubo (entry point to a #meridian highway) has a way of calming an overactive mind. We named it the mute button in #stralayoga for a reason 😉Where
Below the big toe bone and a little in toward the center of the 🦶How
Press your thumb into this place as you lean in and away from the center of yourself or your partner.Now what
Soften yourself, breathe deep and make sure you are moveable. Hang here a bit without trying to make anything happen. Just chillNow what
Lean away from your partner to disconnect. Give them a bit of time to relax and maybe ask for some feedback.Don’t forget
Ask your partner for your turn 🙌
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