This summer I have been taking an adult ballet class. I have never taken ballet in my life so this is quite a challenge for my mind and my body. I very much appreciate my instructors. They have the exact knowledge and experience to guide me. I wouldn't dare say "I'm a ballet dancer" if I had only read how from a book or watched a video. And I wouldn't trust someone to teach me ballet if they had never done it themselves. I also prefer having a teacher who has experience teaching adults how to do ballet. My body and mind are very different from a five-year-old's so I would expect a different teaching method.
Or let's take meditation for another example. You can say, "Yes, I meditate" but how do you know you are doing it right? You have to find someone who has been meditating for a long time to teach you. But you want to check them out first. Do they seem like the kind of person who has experienced the benefits of meditating? Are they calm in body and mind? Or are they angry, irritable, have too much nervous energy, rude to others, etc. Would you really want to learn from that sort of person?
We should take a similar approach to our health. I often ask my clients what their diet looks like. Almost all of them will tell me, "Well, I eat pretty healthy." Well, what does it mean to eat healthy? If you wanted to learn how to eat healthy should you read a book? Listen to people who theorize about how to be healthy? Maybe rely on animal studies? I can find over a hundred different theories about what it means to eat healthy but how do I know which one is right for me? Do I trust someone who has a lot of book knowledge and theories but has poor health?
If I want someone to teach me how to meditate, or do ballet, or even eat right... then I want to make sure they know what they are doing and have done it themselves. I want to make sure they have been able to successfully help others through their methods. And I want to make sure they are healthy.
Most people think they are eating healthy because they read a theory in a book or believed the label on the box or because someone told them that was how they should eat. But if you want to treat your health as if it was a precious jewel (which it is) then that shouldn't be good enough for you. Find someone who is healthy, who teaches others how to be healthy, and who has the experience and knowledge about what it means to be healthy. Otherwise, you may be dancing.... but it isn't ballet.
To Your Health,
Kathryn Doran-Fisher is a Traditional Naturopath, Certified GAPS Practitioner and owner of Elder & Sage.