I put some city miles on my body when I was younger. I spent years burning the candle at both ends on ambulance as an EMT, working full-time through Paramedic school and putting myself through undergrad. Sleep was for the dead in my opinion and I packed my hours with everything I could. Like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to Yoga– mostly for the physicality. But over the years, my practice introduced me to a number of supportive, like-minded people. I quickly learned that while one voice can be loud, two voices can turn heads, and three voices can incite change.
The practice of Yoga for me has never been spiritual– at least not in the usual sense of the word. What Yoga did for me was cool my jets and pump my brakes enough to allow me to sit still, to learn to witness and observe the world both around me and within me. At the time, I was stationed in a busy area with a lot of crime, running and re-running on “frequent flyers” on the ambulance. I recognized more and more just how important self-reflection really was when I came to realize it was severely lacking in a lot of my repeat patients. I witnessed the surprising ways that this void manifested within their lives; bigotry, ignorance, poor health, violence, self-loathing, patterns of negative and destructive behavior, fear, malnutrition, substance abuse, etc. I longed to be able to actually help, to get to know these people beyond their flaws, to show them what I was learning and finding. I just had no clue how to begin the conversation. When a friend suggested yoga teacher training as a way to share some wellness ideals, I was hesitant and resistant. After a few more years climaxed into one really rough shift, an exhausted and broken down Taylor emailed the studio owner and finally say “I need something else”.
Flash forward and I’ve now been traveling and teaching Yoga and anatomy internationally– yet once again I find myself at a cross roads. Our world is changing too quickly to sit still, complacently. My passions and my interests lie in social topics and human rights. As a gay man, I have been privileged with the gift of adversity as well as public and institutional opposition to who I am as a person. I say ‘privileged’ because the fight for LGBT rights has given myself and others the opportunity to sympathize with other groups who have been bullied or oppressed, forced to sit down and stay quiet. The way I teach Yoga is accessible and based on smart, anatomical methods rooted in common sense– but Yoga for me has simply been a tool to open the right doors and start the right conversations aimed at uncovering how awareness is moving the needle in relation to healthcare, climate change & conservation, basic human rights, gender and racial inequalities. My path has ben rocky, but it is a walk on the beach compared to what others have had to endure. Gays now have more freedom and rights. I am privileged in too many ways to count, and the cross roads I am now facing asks that I turn around and do whatever I can– do more– to help others.
June of 2018 is the last month I will be traveling and teaching full-time as a Yoga instructor. My goal moving forward is to teach, provide trainings, and stay involved at a more local level at home in Atlanta while attending grad school, meanwhile working to support local non-profits for the advancement of those without the the level of freedom my partner and I both share. This next phase is about action and while I will miss my job and community from life on the road, I couldn’t be happier to turn my attention to something more focused at home. Change begins right where you are.
To join a workshop, retreat, or training, check out my remaining 2017 travel schedule here. Final 2018 schedule announced in August.