The Absurdity of Western Fitness
Psychological fact (I’ve been told): "The more you see something, the more you believe it."
What if all I’ve seen is wrong?
Western-based health and wellness practices (exercises) are misguided and completely inappropriate for health and wellness. It’s like a story I’ve been told so much, I believe it.
What’s misguided is this correlation between beauty and health, and what’s inappropriate is the correlation between peak performance and health.
My teacher is my life experience, and the more aware (goal of yoga) I am, the more I can learn from the experience. My teacher taught me a very valuable universal law, “The harder you are on anything, the faster you will destroy it." If I want my body to last as long as possible, feeling as good as possible, it’s not rational to push my body hard or aggressively. What’s rational is to treat it gently, just as I would treat anything in my life I wish to preserve.
Maybe that’s why it’s said the healthiest exercise is walking, as it is also the most gentle. My teacher also says that there is not a relationship in my life that wouldn’t benefit from gentleness, as opposed to force and aggression, which includes the relationship between me and my sacred partner (my body). Gentle doesn’t mean avoidance, yet obviously, it doesn’t mean force and aggression, so you could say it’s more aligned with moderation (if we practiced moderation in all things, there would be no such thing as global warming; after all, what it takes to have a healthy relationship with myself is the same things it takes to have a healthy relationship with all beings and things, including our planet).
Yet, it’s not easy to be gentle. Being gentle means I will not be able to force my body to look in a manner it was never meant to look, in order to appease some program or image that’s been jammed down my throat by a society that’s more interested in me buying its products than actually being well. Being gentle means I won't be bigger, stronger, faster, etc…. In other words, being gentle is completely egotistically unappealing. I would have to be dominated by my wisdom instead of ego and vanity and machismo.
Oh shit! This means I’d have to disempower my ego and confront my fears! This means I’d have to start loving and accepting myself as I am! This means I may not be attractive to the people in my tribe, circle, society! Yes, Yes, Yes! Yet, if my goal is wellness then I have no choice (the path of a yogi)!!
My teacher says, “do not try and change yourself, because you are not ugly, wrong, or broken, just as you do not try to change a flower or mountain landscape." This is you! A beautiful expression of nature, and if you do not see this you will suffer, as there is no greater foundation to stress (precursor to most all disease) than not loving and accepting yourself. Do not exercise to change yourself; exercise to care for yourself, and the only way to care for anything is to touch it gently. ☺
With love and aloha, Bryan