Do you need a yogi?

yogi_bearA urologist for whom I’ve a lot of respect inspires this post (no idea whether he should go near your prostate with a scalpel, but Ranjit-ji is a beautiful soul who shares enlightenment in a blog – EVERY SINGLE DAY!) My blog at also borrows from his sentiments.

In answering a question as to the necessity of a guru he suggests that rather than following a leader, we can take advantage of their experience in walking a similar path. Thus avoiding many pitfalls. Like a spiritual practice which needs support when motivation is low, the yogi encourages us through times of disinterest or difficulty. It’s easy enough to memorise the yoga routine, or follow a new one from DVD. But human interaction hasn’t yet been superseded (standby for Internet v2.0) as a source of inspiration, so an accomplished master is to be valued rather than resented for their amazing flexibility. And since yogis come in all shapes and sizes, it’s easy to find one we can relate to.

Physical Training Instructors Course 2nd class 1/13
Navy PTIs are nicknamed ‘Clubz’, which reflects their rate insignia of crossed clubs.

Personal coaches have a can-do persona, much like the Physical Training Instructor (PTI) in the Armed Forces. Psychologists could learn much from their verve, since motivating a hungover ships crew onto the wharf for a workout takes fortitude. Plus the nous to confine the vomiting consequent to a first night of shore leave well away from the decks. Though their intimidating biceps and CO’s delegated authority enforce discipline, there’s much more leadership learning to be had. A senior, grizzled PTI yelled to a squad of HMAS Creswell recruits at 5am in winter: “Does anyone NOT want to do exercises this morning?”

The one respondent was told, “Right then, back to bed with you…. Squad, follow me to the soft sand for an endurance run”.

Enough reminiscing (there wasn’t that much to recall with amusement), and onto future trends. Harvard Medical School visionary dean Oliver Wendell Holmes stated “I firmly believe that if the whole materia medica [drugs], as now used, could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be better for mankind-and all the worse for the fishes”. This was well before 20th C breakthroughs, but he specifically mentioned the opioids that are only now being universally condemned for their harm. Richard Smith, 25 years at the ethical helm of the British Medical Jnl writes that ‘Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies‘, which by inference makes doctor’s surgeries an extension of Pfarma’s distribution department. The power of the med as a fix has diminished greatly due to corrupt regulatory governance, and powerful researcher statistic’s ability to glean small improvements in symptoms during trials. The lack of success in later, epidemiology studies on society has led to proposal of a new paradigm by Health, where the fee-for-service paid to GPs would be transformed into outcome-based merit payment.

The Latin ‘doctor’ meaning teacher reflected the joint responsibility for improving patient health. This origin has been lost, as the divide of responsibility for psychology limited their focus to physiology. Only recently has Integrative, or Holistic medicine “in which the ‘whole person’ is focused on, not just the malady itself” factored in mind, and body. The GP may be the last health professional to adopt the thinking that Health Coaches and Positive Psychologists have been advocating.

If you want to make major change, start at the top.

Author: Geoff Kirwood was privileged to have given his best shot as an Officer under the Australian military’s highest ranked moslem, who also happened to be female. But the strength of mind that forged mine belonged to ‘Fish’, a PTI.

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