What’s with all the pretence?

I returned from to the UK from the US on Friday. I had spent 10 days competing and training in Judo at the Olympic Training Centre, in Colorado Springs. It was lovely, hard work in a training specific environment with everything from food, equipment and physio support dedicated to helping Olympic and Paralympic athletes from mixed sporting backgrounds achieve their goals. The athletes were obviously motivated and dedicated but most of all they were friendly and supportive.

On Saturday afternoon I headed to a local castle with my wife to give the kids a chance to fly their new lightening McQueen kites. Altitude in Colorado made walking up the stairs hard work, Jet lag made walking up the hill just as hard but I was reliably informed by my daughter that was the best place to fly the kite.

On reaching the top I saw what looked like a Yoga practitioner striking some very impressive posses whilst their partner took photos. Impressed at their obvious strength and flexibility and ensuring the kids did not get in the way of the shots I smiled and said hello. Their reaction was dismissive, cold and arguably ignorant. It’s a kind of arrogance or superiority you unfortunately see all too often in the health arts.

I could not help but think I how I had spent the last week with people from all over the world kicking the stuffing out of each other and they were all friendly and nice. There seems to be an inherent flaw in the many of the health arts. Such arrogance may be a result of insecurity, but whatever the reason the balance people love to talk about is all too often lacking.

When all is said and done we practice breathing and movement for health, nothing special or mysterious. The health benefits should positively affect the body and mind and if successful should be reflected in our day to day behaviour. At the bottom of the hill we met some extremely friendly dog walkers, likely no extreme flexibility or breathing techniques at their disposal but plenty of good, healthy, strong energy. There are lessons to be learnt in all walks of life and from all people. Pretence is a disguise like any other and there is no place for it in honest, healthy practice.

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