How is your month of gratitude going? Today, I am grateful for another year. This week, I am completing another circle around the sun. Happy birthday to me!!! By definition, birthdays should be celebrated. That’s why it’s most often preceded by happy. As children, we grow up counting the days until the next birthday celebration, the annual birthday party. Cake and candles, friends and family, and lots of presents — all celebrating our existence in this world. Yet, as the years pass, the celebrations become a little quieter, less friends, maybe no cake, and definitely not the number of candles of the birthday age. Getting older no longer seems like a momentous occasion.
Because birthdays primarily mark the passage of time and as we grow older, they seem to keep coming at a surprisingly fast pace. Not many people would say they are happy about getting older. In fact, aging has plagued mankind for ages. Over 500 years ago, Ponce de Leon went searching for the mythical Fountain of Youth. Interestingly, he landed in Florida where so many of us go when we are feeling older!! Today, the scientific community continues to spend millions of dollars trying to discover a biological Fountain of Youth. After 500 years, the implications are clear: getting old is still considered an ordeal. As Bette Davis demonstratively said, “Getting old ain’t for sissies”.
Yet, there’s another quote I read recently about aging (do you think I’m overly concerned with this birthday LOL?). It’s a question by Satchel Paige that asks “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” It’s an interesting question because truthfully there have been many times I’ve forgotten my actual chronological age. I’m almost embarrassed to say I’ve had to take the year of my birth and deduct it from the present year to remember my age. I forget my age because I don’t necessarily feel or act it. I believe we are too often classified by our age. I don’t feel any different this year than last but, now, I’m a senior citizen. How did that happen???
The year on my birth certificate doesn’t define how I feel or how I act or should act. Age is simply a state of mind. In many ways, I attribute this belief to my yoga practice because, as much as time goes by, it doesn’t make me “feel” older. When I practice, there is a focus on lengthening, creating space, and breathing fully and with awareness. When we elongate the spine and breathe deeply, it opens up the lungs and increases the ability for oxygen to get to the cells that feed our bodies. When the cells lack oxygen (due to things like inactivity and bad posture), they slowly begin to die, and that is what causes the aging process. Practicing yoga brings suppleness to the muscles, increases flexibility in the spine, gets rid of stress and tension in the body and mind, firms up your skin, corrects poor posture and aids in improving balance. It keeps those cells alive and vibrant. I think one of the best reasons why yoga helps slow down the aging process is simply in the way it can make you feel good about yourself. When you can move more easily, without aches and pains and feel your body become more flexible each and every time you go to your mat, that feeling is more effective than any biological Fountain of Youth like retinol or botox.
When we are told to act our age, what does that really mean? How can you behave as a number? How old would you be if you had to pick a number? Come and join us this week on your mat in any of our in-studio or online classes, where you too can turn back the hands of time and say that age is simply a state of mind!
Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for being part of Absolute Yoga. We are so grateful and blessed to share this “anti-aging” practice with you and have you as a integral part of the Absolute Yoga community.
As always, much gratitude to you for reading my musings. Namaste, Leslie