Is it good for you?

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I see this time and again and everyone and I mean everyone has opinions about what is good for someone and not good. All things in moderation including excess.

America is a different place. The mix of cultures, people and food makes for a melting pot that’s never existed. In cultures 300 years ago you just ate whatever was around. It was all local, all organic and no one had ever heard of a treadmill. All of your exercise came from what you did, bricklayer, carpenter, farmer etc.

Now, in America we have choices, choices so vast that we have to decide what we want to eat, what we want to do and what we want to consume in many forms. The most fundamental question is what is the good? Let’s ponder that, because I’ve not decided that for the rest of my life. I have decided it for an evening, for a day and maybe for a week. The answers have included salad, ice cream, a soda, yoga, laying on the couch and taking a walk. Each is good in its own way. People get annoyed when I announce that scotch is a part of a healthy diet. Such is life.

Everyone and every body is different. I’m unlikely to make completely blanket statements but my life experience does factor into my decisions and thinking. I think the master cleanse is good. I’ve done it and had nothing but positive experiences. People will bring up doctors who say it’s no good, any google reference and link imagineable to prove some point but my experience says otherwise.

Same for Bikram yoga. I’ve had folks tell me it’s not safe, complain of Bikram’s business practices and I just shrug my shoulders. I’ve been doing it for 6 years and I’m healthier than most people I know. Your mileage as with all things may vary. Is Thai massage in Austin good for you? I think it is. I prefer it to swedish and deep tissue but I’ve had lots of bodywork and it’s my preference. I prefer you do what you like and what works best. I’ll stick to doing yoga here at my home studio in Round Rock. The goal of Thai massage is healing and empowerment. I think that’s really good for you.

It’s your life. Make your own decisions. Going with your gut and how your body feels seems the best thing to me. My yoga practice, the master cleanse and my diet help me tune into my body and its sensations day to day with closer acuity. Using that focus I work with it. My body changes with time in various ways and I honor the fact that post dinner ice cream seems like a healing balm and medicine in the right amount.

Anyone who lords over you telling you what to do comes close to setting themselves up into some position of guru that makes me uncomfortable. I love teaching but I remind my students that I just lead them through their own experience. It’s their yoga, not mine. I choose who I submit to in a Bikram or any other yoga class. I can make recommendations based on my experience for all sorts of things relating to health but in the end it’s your life, your choice and anything I can do to help you tune into your bodies responses helps you in the long run.

I’ve my own pet peeves, particularly relating to diet. Vegans and strict vegetarians irk me some I admit but really purists of any sort get so close to notions of purity that they start to sound like the third reich to me. White flour! White flour! Let us all salute. I do eat meals that are vegan and many that are vegetarian but limiting myself to that seems to cut out the cultural component of food and living in central Texas. If you can’t eat barbecue with neighbors you cut off some of your contact with them. Maybe that’s not your way, and that works fine for me. Just don’t judge my beef ribs.

So America. Choices. Nearly unlimited choices. I say make them consciously. Continue exploring all aspects of your body, all aspects of health and pleasure. Health and pleasure are linked. This may come as a surprise in a judeo-christian puritanically leaning culture but it’s the case. What feels good, usually is good in moderation. A few thai massages over the months here at the studio. A yoga class here and there in Austin or at my studio in Round Rock is provided to help you be embodied. When you’re present you can more adequately receive pleasure.

Of course at some point someone will chime in, “but it feels good to overeat. Junkies get high because it feels good.” These things are true but how good does it feel to waddle away from the table? What about when the drugs run out? One must look beyond the momentary into the whole of your life. If you’ve spent it all chasing after the next fix you’ll miss your family, friends and parts of your life. If you’ve drowned yourself in food enough to become extremely overweight and push people away from your body with extra padding did you really get the comfort and reassurance you’d been looking for?

There’s no judgement. I can be a stern and harsh task master in ways but as I age I think I’m beginning to soften. I see people struggle and accept that their issues are just that, theirs. I can’t make someone change, make someone crave healing. That’s all for you, all on your own. It’s up to you to decide what’s good for you. I’m just here as an assistant, a teacher. I can only give you what I’ve got. Occasionally that’s BLTs with homegrown tomatos but hey, everyones medicine looks a little different.

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