Helen Keller


I have a dear friend who is very sensitive about her ageing process. She is 3.5 years older than me, and looks at least 10 years younger than her chronological age. Here’s to good genes and HRT! The thing that worries my friend most is the fear that she is becoming increasingly forgetful.
I can relate. I don’t know that solving crossword puzzles and other “brain gym” activities or even doing regular yoga practice will hold back the sands of time. I used to, upon meeting a brand new class of 15-20 students, remember their names by the end of the session. I struggle more now until I’ve met students on several occasions.
My untested theory is that one’s brain can only hold so much information and by the time we reach senior years some data has to be eliminated ­čśë
There are so many ways that ageing can be difficult, from the unrelenting effects of gravity on muscles, skin and bones to the attrition of sense organs: sight, hearing, taste, and smell, for instance. I firmly believe, however, that one’s sense of humour does improve with age.
Perhaps growing old pushes our noses right up against some age-old wisdom: Change is the essence of our existence, and thus, the need for security will ultimately remain unfulfilled.
There was a wise woman around when I was a young girl who was held up to us school kids as a guiding light, inspiring for being the first deaf blind person to receive a university degree. Her name is Hellen Keller, and she was a prolific author, social activist, and the subject of a book and a film, The Miracle Worker.
Perhaps she was also a yogini as two of her quotes below seem to support some fundamental yoga philosophy:

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.
All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.

parinama-tapa-samskara-duhkhair-guna-vrtti-virodhac-ca duhkham-eva sarvam vivekinah*
Painful effects from any object or situation can be a result of one or more of the following: changes in the perceived object, the desire to repeat pleasurable experiences and the strong effect of conditioning from the past. In addition changes within the individual can be contributory factors.*
*Patanjali’s Yogasutras, translation and commentary by T.K.V. Desikachar.