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Yoga and Aging well

by Cindy Walker R.Y.T.

Yoga and Aging well

Remember when a quick visit to the gym or swipe of Nars Blush in orgasm was all it took to make us feel cute? When we recovered from a late night, no problemo? Oh, that feeling of eternal life — and effortless beauty — was the nectar of the gods back in our 20s and 30s. Then something happened…We hit our 40s. Somehow we didn’t heal as well, or bounce back as quickly. We started to realize that effortless beauty wasn’t quite so well, effortless anymore.

Everybody talks about aging, but once we reach our 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, reality starts to set in. We watch our parents hit their 80s and 90s, and are confronted with the painful realization of mortality. Anyone who practices knows that yoga helps us lead saner, more balanced lives. Quite simply yoga makes us better people, and more accepting of life's ups and downs.  But did you also know that yoga can keep us healthier for longer and in a sense, suspend the aging process?

Recent scientific research shows that practicing yoga and mediation on a regular basis can help our bodies age more graceful and yes — slowly. Not to go all Dr. Sanja Gupta on you, but inside the nucleus of a cell, our genes are arranged along twisted, double-stranded molecules of DNA called Chromosomes. At the ends of the Chromosomes are stretches of DNA called Telomeres… Stay with me… almost to the good part!

Telomeres have been compared with the plastic tips on shoelaces, because they keep Chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other. Smoking makes your Telomeres shorter, as does emotional stress and lack of exercise. Conversely, a regular yoga and meditation practice — and the accompanying healthy lifestyle including nutrition, etc., can actually prevent our telomeres from shrinking and help us live longer.

Okay, so yoga can help us live longer (Yay!) but can it also help us deal with the psychological effects of aging? Can it help us look in the mirror and realize that aging can be beautiful? The answer is YES!

I want to share an epiphany I had lately. Full Disclaimer: It’s taken me a while to get to this point, but recently I looked in the mirror at my chin. I analyzed it and studied it. Well yes, it is sagging a bit, and in fact, I would stay underneath my chin is a double chin.  Shoot – where did that come from?  I do not remember ordering this from Pottery Barn? How do I send this Waddle Back? And then, I thought: do I really want to blow five grand to get rid of this not-as-tight-and-supple 50 something-year-old chin? Or, do I want to age gracefully, and not try to look 35 or even 45 anymore?  Tough decision!

 I answered the later. The moment of surrender was actually freeing. Aging is a part of living and certainly letting go of our control over “how we look” — our perceived beauty.

It’s time for all us yogini’s to look in the mirror and finally start to love what we see—even if it is a little baggy, saggy, wrinkly. So go ahead and embrace 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90! Celebrate your good points, don’t obsess on the imperfections! Sport that red bikini like Helen Mirren.   Whatever you do, commit to the mat! Your cheeks will get a nice flush, and you’ll look healthy and alive.  You can’t buy that from any plastic surgeon.

With Love and Aging Naturally,

Cindy

Cindy Walker R.Y.T.

Cindy Walker, R.Y.T. has been teaching Yoga for over 20 years. She has a B.A. in Movement Therapy and Psychology, and holds certifications from the White Lotus Foundation, Erich Schiffman, Bryan Kest, Paul Grilley and Judith Lasater. She teaches Vinyasa, Kundalini, Restorative, Gentle, Pre-natal, Post-partum & Yin Yoga. Her teaching style is eclectic, and draws into each class the wisdom of the eight limbs of Yoga theory. She teaches a holistic approach that uses breath, movement, magic, humor, psychology and deep relaxation.

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