By Faye Martins
Making yoga a daily practice leads to beautiful aging that is full of grace, vitality and enduring youthfulness, but why is this? Long time yogis still grow old along with the rest of the human race, yet they remain fully functional well into their later years and retain a certain spark that even some younger individuals lack.
It’s been said that we lose what we don’t use, and this appears to be very true. One of the key ways that yoga promotes long term youthfulness is the fact that it works the entire body, keeping it in good condition. During youth, it’s easy to take the body and all its myriad functions and systems for granted, but if they aren’t maintained they will eventually fall into some form of disrepair. It’s not so much about the intensity of the practice; frequency is a more important consideration. Caring for the body by using it on a daily basis through yoga is an easy way to maintain optimal functionality of the form as a whole. Yoga was designed holistically with the entire body in mind.
Yoga’s effects are more than purely physical, setting it apart from other fitness routines. In order to properly perform any of the asanas, one must be fully aware of their body. While some other physical exercises may encourage people to hunker down and ‘work through the pain’ by essentially ignoring their body’s signals, yoga is quite the opposite. The state of the body is observed, accepted and honored during each and every yoga session. As a result, no two workouts are the same since yogis automatically adjust each asana to the needs of the moment. This makes yoga the perfect practice to carry with you throughout your entire life. The body will never reach a point of burnout from yoga practice if one is being mindful of the body. Yes, you may reach a point where a few of the more advanced poses become something that you either modify or replace from your routine altogether, but never will you wake up one day unable to do the practice. By cultivating strength and vitality now, you have stored it up for later.
The conventional wisdom that says we should work hard for the better part of our lives in order to do as little as possible at the tail end is thankfully being reevaluated in light of new studies. It turns out that those who do not retire tend to be healthier, happier and live longer than those who do. People need a purpose and a daily routine in order to remain grounded and happy, and retirement is often the antithesis of this. Some people have careers that can’t be continued passed a certain age; others may have reached their full potential with a career path and find themselves needing to move on, but yoga is something that can remain constant throughout all of those life changes. Yoga, especially in a class setting, can fill the void left by a career, counteracting the tendency people have to slow down after passing a certain age. The key to staying active and vital is to have a reason to be. For many people, yoga can be that reason.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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