Staying Young with Yoga
Written by Viki Ackland.
Krishnamacharya, a great yogi who lived to over 100 years old.
Of course not everyone can practice yoga diligently, as we have jobs and lives. This is the excuse we make at least. I have a hectic life filled with LONG days and I was once of this mindset. I have done enough today, I am tired, working is exercise enough, the list goes on and on. I have trained myself to try to fit some form of yoga or stretching into my life on a daily basis, and it has paid off. My once bent back is feeling straighter, my posture has improved and my ever tired aching feet are not SO tired these days.
If you really want to know how 'old' you are don't look at your birth date, or your reflection in a mirror, instead, see how bendy your spine is, and I say this from experience. In yoga, age is measured not in chronological years but with the saying:
You're only as young as your spine. And the best part is, you are never too old to start!
One of the best yoga asana for reversing the aging process is headstand (Shirshasana). It is said the regular practice of headstand can even turn grey hair back to its natural colour because of the increase blood flow to the hair follicles. In fact, mastering headstand and being able to hold it for hours per day is said to halt aging altogether, and induce enlightenment. The first few times I did it I saw stars and felt dizzy, not to mention the discomfort in my neck. This was a realization of how stiff I really had become!
So if the advancing years are making you reach for the potions and pills, and you don't look too closely at yourself in the mirror anymore, and it feels like your body is beginning to betray you... now is the time to start yoga.
Does doing yoga turn back the hands of time? OF course not. Life is not a glamour magazine, and all the sexy youthful celebrities that practice yoga have not eliminated wrinkles or imperfections, and I say embrace that reality. Your age, is a celebration of who you are, be proud of it. If you are working out to impress others or gain some imaginary ticket to the fountain of youth, you are doing it for the wrong reasons.
Yoga keeps you young in the only way that matters, on the inside. When you're young on the inside, meaning young organs, young joints, young nervous system, and most importantly a young outlook, you also look young on the outside. You glow, from the inside out. You embrace every new day with wondrous expectation. You jump out of bed happy for the day to begin. You laugh out loud often, and see life with a childlike wonder. It is the way you LOOK at the world.
Does this mean you will be biking and rollerblading and mountain climbing until you are eighty? Or that people mistake you for half your age? Likely not and more importantly if these things matter you are not doing yoga for the right reasons.
Me, I'm looking forward to growing older, because with every passing year, my body gets more fluid, more open, and even stronger.
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