Old Yogini Considers Fountain of Youth

Oct 16, 2018 | Age, Wisdom | 10 comments

Magazine cover image of Eve in a kneeling yoga pose.

64-year old yogini AYL Magazine

Old Yogini

Every now then I think, yikes!, I’m going to be 74 in a couple of months. I better do something quick as I seem to be losing the battle with ageing.

What’s been happening is that I’m not as strong as I once was. I’m stiffer and achey in some of my joints. I have a bit less muscle and more flesh around my middle. And I get fatigued more easily than before.

Uh-oh. I forgot to mention the occasional bouts of sciatica.  

Obviously, I need to join the gym, become more flexible, lose the middle chubbies and have power naps.

I stayed in the city with my friend Nick the last couple of days. I saw him do his yoga practice. I’m embarrassed to say I was mildly jealous of his almost 60-year old flexibility and strength. And get-up-and go-go.

Should I be throwing myself at life in the manner of Nick? Or should I mainly be meditating and lying in savasana from now on?

Acceptance or Capitulation?

I’m reading Stephen Jenkinson’s Come of Age. If you haven’t read him, and you’re an older person, I recommend his original insights.

He says that to be an elder is to get ’deeper by diminishment’.

Agree to be less able, surrender wide-ranging competence with increasing grace, and cede agility and mastery to others by refusing the accolade of timeless.’

 

I’m pretty sure the meaning of this sentence is move over, make space, act your age. If you’ve cultivated wisdom in your accumulated years, plumb it and share it.

Please tell me your thoughts. How are you going with ageing?

 

*Stephan Jenkinson looks a lot like Willy Nelson and sounds like the son of preacher man. An interesting character for sure who can be found telling stories at Orphan Wisdom.

10 Comments

  1. Yes, it’s been in my thoughts too…a kind of nostalgia (homesickness/”algia” derived from the greek word for pain) for my younger body . I guess it’s faulty thinking to believe my body won’t age more or less like every other healthy ageing person who has ever gone before me. Sadly I am not a god. I still enjoy it and I can fondly recall when I did “have it”. And it’s still better than the only real anti-ageing alternative.

    Reply
    • Yes, Sue! It’s a trap to be caught ‘back there’ when right here is where the adventure is. Even when the adventure isn’t necessarily the one we ordered….

      Reply
  2. I think as yogis we often fall into the trap of thinking or believing “it won’t happen to me”. Ageing is something for other people. I am 62 and in the lucky position of feeling stronger and able to do more physical things now than I ever could due to years of yoga and lately quite intense personal training. I am teaching seniors yoga at a gym. So from this angle I do not grief the loss of my younger body. Yet, there is no denying that It is hard work and some days I really question why am I doing all this. I do get tired and run out of energy and feel like giving up and just relaxing. I am struggling with my ageing mental state more than my body. I ponder the meaning of life a lot and have become quite risk averse and maybe set in my ways more than I would like to admit. But what is the alternative? Ending up in pain, unable to walk unaided, having horrific falls due to loss of balance and not to mention osteoporosis? At least if any of these catch up with me I can say I did what I possibly could to avoid these things. And then hopefully I will be able to surrender gracefully….

    Reply
    • So well said, Connie. The truth is that we grapple and may never get to a hard and fast solution. Just keep using all the tools of yoga, and it will all work out!

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  3. In one way aging can be disheartening in knowing that we are closer to the end of our life. On the other side, haven’t we just lived a LIFE! It shows in the beautiful wrinkles we now have.!

    I consider myself lucky, at the age of 79 years, that I am still teaching 15 classes of YOGA,
    still taking my lovely YOGIS to Retreats, like ULURU, Blue Mountains, Stroud Monastery.
    Is it because I was as from the age of 8, an acrobat, and in adulthood a YOGA teacher?
    I have on my bucket list a desire of seeing the whale shark at Ningaloo. Anyone interested?
    I wonder when I am going to retire……

    Am just about to take a group of my lovely YOGIS to ULURU.
    Om Shanti Eve, and all you gorgeous YOGA Teachers, 🙏🏽🧘‍♂️🙏🏽🧘‍♂️🙏🏽🧘‍♂️

    Reply
    • You are a star in the yoga firmament, Joyce. May you keep on keeping on…. As for Ningaloo, what a great adventure that will be. And, I’m sure you will get there!
      xx

      Reply
      • However relative time may be in theory, our bodies have a use by date. As we age we have awareness of this, thus a drive to ‘maintain’ that failing body. At the same time we can be aware of the necessity to prepare for that moment when we no longer have a body. To become more aware of ‘the self’ beyond the body. Hence the dilemma, diminishing body, diminishing time and for some denial of either death or even a ‘self’ beyond the body. Result confusion!

        Reply
        • Love that you’ve put this into perspective for all of us, Heather. That’s one good thing about advancing age. Sometimes you find you are up the ladder high enough so you can look around and get a perspective on what matters. xx

          Reply
  4. Hi Eve I went to an evening with Stephen Jenkinson “Nights of grief and mystery”. It was a fabulous and deep night he took us on. I’ve just finished reading his book “Die Wise” I wonder if you’ve read that?
    It was such a good book I bought one for each of my sons….. as it contained so much practical wisdom and cuts right through the way our cultures can confuse things of real importance. I’ve ordered the book your quoting from…. so looking forward to reading this one now. And yes at 54 the aches and discomforts are creeping in, even with the daily stretching and meditating and organic food and all the rest! And its funny what Heather talked about the recognition of less time left. That being said I have 3 friends quite younger than me that seem to be immanently close to dying. It seems that I am blessed still waking up each day. I really enjoy your blogs, the practical information and your musings and sharing Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Kate, for your kind comments. It’s great to know that my posts are appreciated.

      Did you go to the evening with Stephen Jenkinson in Newcastle? Daniel and I were there. I read Die Wise and am now into his second book Come of Age: Elderhood in Troubled Times.
      I’ve heard that he’s returning to Australia next year.

      xx

      Reply

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