Hi everybody, I just wanted to share with you a few take-aways from our training time so far in Berlin. Part 1 has focused all on you, what you’re able to do for yourself and how you navigate through each day. I’ll share from this part below. We’ve also moved through Leadership concepts and practices, and now we’re in a week of focus on healing. More coming soon!
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1. The harder you work, the less you can do. Learn to be moved. Learn to unweight yourself. Learn to exhale. Together these practices allow you to work half as hard as you do now, and accomplish more than twice as much.
2. Learn to love uncertainty. The only thing certain is what’s already happened. So if we insist on seeking security in certainty, we get trapped in the past. The best answers for now always come by surprise, by letting go of what’s already happened and being fully present now. Everything is created only here, and everything is possible only here.
3. What makes something Advanced? a) Practice always and everywhere, not just in separate moments and places. b) Patience. Progress with big things is measured in months and years, much more than hours and days. c) Bother to get it right, even when you don’t have to. Your body, your mind, the whole world around you, are all learning from how you do what you do, all the time. d) Lose the costume. There isn’t one look for experience, ability, success, or wellbeing. Focus less on what you look like, more on how you do what you’re doing, how you get where you’re going. What you look like will develop beautifully and magically from here.
4. If you think it’s just nature to be how things are for you now and nature doesn’t change, think again. Nature is change. Change is the only constant there is. Nothing ever remains static. So you never really just coast. Either you’re getting better, or you’re getting worse. Stress, isolation and disconnection, force and control as life strategies, all lead to more stress, less ability. Things get worse from here, we accomplish less than we can, aging is much more difficult. Connection, harmony, and peace lead to greater ease, accomplishing more, and growing older in a very good way.
5. Practice more of what you want, less of what you don’t want. We’re extremely consistent, much more than we think, and this consistency is strengthened right down to our neurological pathways. So we don’t really have a work personality, a family personality, a vacation personality. We mostly do things the same way we do them, all the time. So it’s helpful to see where we immobilize ourselves before we try to move, where we practice isolation, disconnection, and force as we try to control and remove uncertainty from our environment. And it’s helpful to practice something very different. If you want harmony, connection, and peace in your life, practice harmony, connection, and peace with your self. Always putting it into how you get where you’re going, all day, in everything you do. When you’re not struggling against the universe, a universe of possibilities opens up for you.
6. Alignment is created by moving in harmony with your self as a whole connected being, not by isolation and manipulation. Alignment – which lets you accomplish more and keeps you safe – can not be achieved through isolating, disconnecting, and manipulating one static part at a time, which is a common recent practice in yoga schools. Try it, you’ll immediately feel that this doesn’t work. All Eastern arts, from martial to healing to calligraphy, all start with moving into harmony and unity, as the foundation for alignment and the beginning of everything.
7. A method for problem solving, in every situation. a) Embrace uncertainty, the best answers always come by surprise, and the biggest potential is always right now. b) Show me. If you’re helping someone with a problem, assume they always know more than you do. Ask them what helps, and what hurts. Do more of the first and less of the second. c) 4 Corners Method. Go to a place that’s both comfortable and close to this problem, not in the center of it. Surround the dragon, don’t attack it head-on. d) Play around the problem, following the principles of becoming movable so you can be moved, creating the right base to support where you are and where you want to go, and moving your whole self from center, as one whole connected self. Every problem is answerable in this way, and the answers are always best when you’re playing in an unexpected present rather than trying to repeat the past.
8. The world perfectly reflects how you are with yourself. What is big and strong tends to be calm in its use of force and control. Small and strong tends to be feisty in its use of force and control. Not so strong tends to be more unpredictable, and might have the greatest chance of dropping the never-ending use of force and control in an attempt to banish uncertainty from life. The greatest chance of peace might begin here. You can see people are not so different from communities and countries. How we treat our selves, the strategies of force and control we use to push ourselves and get around in our own lives, are all reflected perfectly in the world around us. So maybe we should look less to the world as cause and solution for personal problems, and more to our selves as cause and solution for world problems.
9. Have you ever noticed there’s a rift between the yoga community and the human community? This one is very easy to fix. In the yoga community, we can stop pretending to be so special and so different. When we pretend crazy things like a twist detoxes our organs or a yoga pose cures disease, sacred alignment comes from manipulation by a guru or standing on our heads makes us a better person, we create a separation from humans. It’s good to admit some magic into your life, but pretending disconnects and exhausts us all. Science is useful here, as a first step. And maybe worse, pretending leads us into small-picture thinking, where we honor gurus and keep following systems whose founders and teachers are repeatedly caught in sex and power abuse scandals – ashtanga, iyengar, bikram, jivamukti, anusara, it’s a long list. If we want the world to heal, if we want these rifts to heal, we can’t stay in small picture thinking where we see one benefit and stand by pretending blindness to harm. Healing begins easily, rifts go away easily. We can stop pretending about separation and isolation, and simply be human.
10. Will these practices change me now that I see how resistant I am to letting go stress and moving more easily? No. The practices don’t change you, until you change how you practice. When you let go of isolation, disconnection and force, and begin to experience connection, the ability to be moved and unweight yourself, the ability to move as one whole harmonious self, then the practices change you.
11. You have a clear path not to become better than you are, but to be as good as you are. Stress, struggle, force and control puts you up against the entire universe. If you’re older, aging is not so good from here. If you’re younger, it just means you can’t do what you can do, which is a very weird position to put yourself in. Like a rigid and immovable yoga pose. Practice harmony, connection, and peace in how you get where you’re going, always, everywhere. Be patient. Bother to get it right, even when you don’t have to. And learn to move within the unbounded potential that exists in uncertainty. You don’t need to become something you’re not. You only need to be fully what you are.
12. Always be wiggleable. We all want to be moved. By life, by people, by imagination and inspiration. It’s the secret to working half as hard while accomplishing twice as much, putting you right into the flow and energy of the whole universe, the opposite of trying to force and control every moment. So if you want to be moved, you have to be movable. Never immobilize yourself and then try to move. It’s so common in yoga because it’s so common in life. Disconnection, isolation, rigidity, there’s no possibility for movement except by force. Instead be wiggleable, always.
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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.