Yoga and Aging Gracefully

Aging is not a choice; yet, aging gracefully certainly is. 

This article will focus on aging gracefully in the physical exercise context. Yet invariably this involves how we approach physicality mentally. Aging gracefully means slowing down the aging process as best we can as well as moving through the aging process comfortably. Just to be clear, a large factor in physical health is mental stress so there is certainly more to aging gracefully than addressing the body. Everything in our reality deteriorates over time and this process has its value even though that value is not addressed in our cultural lexicon. There is a supreme importance to being able to “let go” and to “accept what is” and it’s no coincidence that letting go and accepting is the key to a stress-free life. Physical and mental benefits of exercise are the connection between yoga and aging gracefully.

Yoga and The Physical

Physically speaking, there is a universal law that states “the harder you are on anything the faster you wear it out”. Many of us pay a heavy toll in the form of aches, pain, and physical issues later in life due to the wear and tear our bodies endured throughout our youth and beyond due to the “no pain no gain” and “more is better” mentality that seems to be the foundation of our misguided fitness culture. But the past is the past, and there is no reason to dwell on what was and how we were. Let’s “let go” of how we were and address how we can move forward in a more physically benevolent manner.  

Considering that the harder you are on anything the faster you destroy it, it’s fair to say the gentler you are on anything the longer you preserve it!  It’s no coincidence that gentleness and moderation are synonymous. If us humans understood moderation there would be no such thing as global warming but that’s a whole other article. It’s not easy to be gentle or moderate due to learned behavior. Basically, this is the no pain no gain mentality embedded in us from our culture. There is a psychological law that states "the more you see something the more you believe it" and growing up in our culture, what we've seen is "more is better”, bigger, stronger, faster, richer, looser, prettier, skinnier and younger to name some of our highest cultural objectives. None of which contributes to health, happiness, and aging gracefully. So again, gentleness (which is an affront to this learned behavior) is not so easy. This is partly why I’m writing this article--to support you in your effort towards wellness (moderation).   

As we age we lose in degrees strength, elasticity, stamina, and our regenerative prowess--like all other things these qualities deteriorate over time. The damage of forceful, aggressive, and violent movement can no longer be camouflaged by youthfulness and we end up injured. These injuries take longer to heal and happen much too often due to the fact that the body is changing but our actions (our mind state) are not. Much like the middle-aged spare tire many carry around their belly due to the fact their metabolism has slowed down but their caloric intake has remained the same.  

Welcoming Gentleness

Moving forward, let’s be gentler! Let’s work on letting go of how things were and discover what’s moderate now. Let’s not spend middle age and beyond constantly injured due to some trip we lay on ourselves about how much we should do or how far we should go in any sort of activity. Remember our health does not depend on the quantity of our actions, it depends on the quality of our actions and the quality should be gentleness. Your body will thank YOU!  

Gentleness will slow down the aging process due to less wear and tear on our body and keeping us from being injured! Letting go will allow us to age gracefully due to the peace which emerges from not needing things to be different from how they are. In this peace, we discover the “value” of our aging process, the value that’s not addressed in our current cultural lexicon.

Welcome to Power Yoga!

Sincerely,

Bryan Kest