How to Turn Feedback into Progress

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We’re having a conversation in the Online Leadership Training group about getting started with your own classes. There’s so much amazing feedback you’re all getting, just showing people there’s an easier way to do so much more, across all of life.

But, it’s important to remember that feedback might not always sound good at first, and this has its place in our growth too. So what happens if that feedback pushes us in a direction we don’t want to go? What if people say – “Hey, we want you to be strict, push us around, and make us feel stressed and uncomfortable. That’s how we’re used to getting better!”

The answers here might have something to do with leadership, and how we go from good to great.

As a start, of course you should do what you want to do. This will always come out better than doing what you don’t want to do. And from here, progress is important.


Everybody wants progress.


Everybody. And in a way, I think this might be what people are saying, in this kind of feedback. That’s the thing about feedback. Sometimes you need a translator – and maybe even a slightly removed translator. It helps to see things with a little distance, and a little less through our surface psychology.

So maybe my translator here is saying – “We want progress. And for now, we’ve always associated progress with strictness, pushing, and discomfort. If you want to show us a better way to do all of this, then please show us! Not by talking or explaining anything. We need to see it in you, we need to do it ourselves, and we want your support along the way.”

Do you remember the wiggle test, speed test, and sweat test, as ways to check in on our movement? There are a few more, and one that came up in this last Ready-to-Lead program in Amsterdam is called the Expansion Test.


“Is what I’m doing leading me to be able to do more? In the yoga vocabulary, is this practice expanding my comfort zone – maybe not day to day, but looking over months and years, am I able to move through a wider range of greater challenges, in a way that is graceful, elegant, in harmony with my body? And is the same true in other vocabularies, across my whole life?”


This is a really good way to check in on how we’re doing. Of course it’s nice to move nicely. Just helping people get out of struggling against themselves – to learn instead how to be kind with themselves – is so much. But from here, we want more. We want this progress.


Moving nicely is a first step. Moving naturally – not by copying monkeys or cats! – the science of natural movement for humans – is something much bigger. It’s the rewiring that brings us out of the old habits that get in our way, into new ones that work. It’s what gives us the progress we all want.


Which brings me to the next thought. Remember it takes time, to get really good at anything. It took us all time to get good at astanga, or jivamukti, or whatever other yoga styles we’ve learned in the past, for what that’s worth. And it will take even more time to get good at learning to move well, release stress, and accomplish far more as we bring our whole self into harmony. This is something much more than teaching poses and repeating commands.

It’s a lifetime. It’s why those old people practicing tai chi every morning are still working on how to lift and lower a hand. It’s in the smallest details – this learning how to move well.


Learning to move well rewires everything about us, from our microbiome to our neurology and gene expression. We know this now, there are boatloads of scientists and buckets of science behind what we’re doing. But those old people in the field didn’t need to know this. They just know it works, and has for a really long time.


There’s something nice, being here in this process. You don’t need to convince anyone, of anything. If you’re on this path – progressing for another 10 years, then 20 – it will be blindingly obvious. This strategy works better, for everything.

Yes, it’s uncommon, to follow this path rather than conflict with ourselves and with everything. Just like the most inspiring people we can think of, across every human endeavor. It’s uncommon. The people who transcend a sport or industry, the people who make a contribution that carries across all of humanity in some uplifting way, there’s something they have in common. They’re in harmony with their whole selves. They are moving well.

So let yourself be a beginner, again. It’s the best path to progress, for all of us. And as you carry this into your own practice and life, you’ll be more and more effective at giving this new way, this new path to progress, to these people who all want the same thing. There’s a much bigger universe here.

– 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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