Shining On: An Interview with the fun and joyful, Taylor Harkness

posted by Leanne Schulz

You like fun? Then you’ll looove Taylor Harkness! This traveling yogi, rock climber, skydiver and paramedic is a go-getter with the best smile on the planet!He encourages his students and people around him to “Shine On”, living positively, embracing joy and sharing quality time with loved ones. This joyful man will be joining us at Inspire Yoga Highland Village this November 6th-8th to spread the love and fun. Learn a little more about this Inspiring Yogi, Mr. Taylor Harkness in this sweet and hilarious interview with Leanne Schulz.

Leanne Schulz: “As a male yoga practitioner and teacher, how has the western adoption of men in the rise of yoga made you feel?”

Taylor Harkness: “I have mixed feelings. I believe that yoga is for everyone, whether they be male, female, young, old, athletic or wheelchair bound. I’ve worked really hard to bring affordable yoga of all levels to all people — it’s something I’m passionate about. I’ve also seen more and more how both men and women are being objectifies in yoga. Sex sells, I get it, but I think we are yogis need to elevate our advertising, media and marketing standards, as well as realign our moral compasses with something more than women in booty shorts or men with rippling muscles to sell yoga mats and get Facebook likes. The yogic lifestyle is a healthy and mindful one, yet there is more to the practice than the body. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not at all prudish, I practice in minimal clothing and I enjoy it because it’s hot and sweaty, I don’t want to be weighed down. But I’m really careful about how the camera is angled and about the messages I put into my posts on social media. If “yoga is for everyone”, that means I should feel comfortable with my parents, future kids, and my friends all reading my posts or seeing my pictures in a magazine.”

 

LS: “How do you find balance between your love life and your traveling schedule?”

TH: “Ha! Excellent question as I deal with this every weekend and when I get on a plane. There is always a moment of sadness because I am leaving my man, my friends, my home and my routine. But then, I shift my gaze to what’s in front of me and what’s to come. I focus on being present with my students and enjoying the experiences laid out before me. I created my life and my path after all, so I’d better be enjoying it! When I do get home, we try to unplug, snuggle up, read, veg out to our favorite shows, ad recharge our batteries. I focus on being present with my boyfriend, rather than being on the phone, laptop, or distracted. Every moment counts. We make dinner every night together, we communicate a few times during the day, we even leave each other notes on the mirrors, hidden in travel bags or under pillows. Love is the most important thing in the world to me, and it’s vital that he knows he comes first, so we also have a shared calendar for when I am planning my schedule. We support each other’s dreams, we communicate well, and really I couldn’t ask for a better partner n life.”

 

LS: “What is something that you enjoy doing as a hobby or pastime that has absolutely no background with yoga?”

TH: “Im a rockclimber, horseback rider, swimmer, I recently started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I love to be outdoors, I’m applying to several grad programs and so I’m reading like a manic, and when I’m in town, my boyfriend and some friends and I frequent trivia nights at a couple of bars. But those have links to yoga– even drinking and being silly. Sometimes yoga means fueling your soul with some much needed time with love ones an a few margaritas!”

 

LS: “If you could be anything in the world besides a talented yoga instructor, what would you choose to do – without qualification, certification, geographical or even monetary boundaries?” 

TH: AH! I have two answers and they’ve been the same since I was a little boy; Family physician because I love medicine and people (but med school is so expensive these days and our healthcare system needs a lot of work) or politician who actually gives a damn about the people and who serves the common good, rather than his or her own bank account. Haha! Hope that doesn’t stir to pot too much…”

 

LS: “Your favorite morning ritual.”

TH: “Easy peasy- I take a quick shower in the AM to wake up, drink a big mug of hot water to get my belly going and watch the news. and I do the same at night, but the water becomes tae and the news becomes a book. Errr- so I guess not the same but close.”

 

LS: “If you won the lottery, and the only winning rule was that you had to donate all of your earnings – ho are the people and organizations in your life that you would contribute to?”

TH: “Another easy one– are you reading my mind? I think about this stuff all the time. Remember I study number and psychology 😉 If I won the lotto, I would have no problems simply paying off my student loans, putting a bit in savings and giving the entirety of the rest to two types of organizations; those that bring fresh, clean water to people in need, and those that conserve nature. I have no need for excessive amounts of money. Research actually indicates it leads to lower levels of happiness and vibrancy. Don’t believe me? Let’s talk numbers, or come to my Shine On class :)”

 

LS: “Is there an unknown charity or group of people that you think needs a louder voice?”

TH: “I believe that people should donate to and participate in charities with causes in which they’re passionate. So while I’m passionate about human rights, clean water, and the enrollment, other might want to save dogs, care for the elderly, or plant gardens (all great causes!). I suggest checking out CharityWatch.org to get the scoop on charities who appropriate their funds responsibly and to get a list of charities and categories tat match your interested and passions. The world needs people who are passionate advocates.”

 

LS: “Mountains, beach, ranch, vineyard or city?”

TH: “Mountains and beach. You can have both right next to each other in some of my favorite places in the world. I like to visit places that are hard to get to– the untouched feeling of the raw and nurturing earth is the best.”

 

LS: “If you could invite 3 musicians or singer-songwriters over for a weekend stay, who would they be, deceased or not?”

TH: “Oh geez. Can I just say Beyonce three times?”

 

LS: “The most influential person at age 10? 15? 20? to now?”

TH: “Age 10, my mother: “Respect everyone alas see yourself in them and them in you”. Age 15, my father: “Always be happy, no matter what you are doing in life.” Age 20 to now, the people around me – chose friends who inspire, support and challenge you.”

 

LS:”What is one thing that not a lot of people know about you that you would be willing to share with The Inspire community?”

TH: “I like to eat and eat and eat. I cantata down a burger the size of my head, french fires and a big boy cocktail and still be eyeing the food on your plate. Nom nom nom.”

 

LS: “For those who don’t know your story or background, what influenced you to become the teacher you are today?”

TH: “There are certain unfortunate (but also, ultimately fortune) paths that lead me here: My career in emergency medicine and my studies in psychology. I saw people at their worst; drunken, enraged, injured, sick, mentally ill, suicidal, broken, and then studied how to hopefully prevent and heal those conditions. Sure, I learned quite a bit about anatomy and functional technique in motion, yet the biggest lesson was to connect with people. My biggest influence has been the collective connections I’ve been blessed to share with people from all walks of life. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

 

LS: “Blue and Black, or White and Gold?”

TH: “…..Green.”


TAYLOR-PROMO

Catch more of Taylor Harkness on his trip to Inspire Yoga in Highland Village, November 6th-8th for his high spirited workshop “Shine On”! RSVP

 

When I started my yoga practice it was purely for a physical workout. As my body grew stronger, I realized that my spirit and my confidence had grown stronger than I ever imagined, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Everyday that I go to the mat I'm searching for a deeper understanding of myself and my practice. With encouraging leaders and a community filled with love I decided to pursue my 200 hour training at Inspire Yoga. I hope to inspire others the way I have been and share this amazing life transformation called yoga with everyone I meet in life. As a dance instructor and choreographer I enjoy the immersion of physical flow and spiritual balance. As a comedian I enjoy taking risks and making people smile... Just kidding, I'm not a comedian but I do enjoy living life big and sharing laughs. I want to empower others to not only trust themselves in heart and body but to be confident, find joy and strength in the day to day life and have a little fun.

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