We human beings have a myriad of ways to identify ourselves. For my part, I am a mother. I am a sister. I am 160 cm. tall. I have two artificial hips. I have been practising yoga for 51 years. And so on.
Sadly, it is less common that even the people who are clearly old will identify themselves as old. Why is that? What are they waiting for? As a concession, someone might admit, yes, I’m getting older, as though landing on being old is always a little bit in the future.
I haven’t waited, though. It seemed at first that this admission would be a mountain to get over. In reality, it turned out to be a mere molehill. I say I am old, and often people disagree. That’s fine. I know what I am.
The problem seems to be that there really aren’t exact criteria for declaring agedness. It’s more like symptoms just piling up that push one over the hill. The most obvious of these being wrinkles, as well as hair loss and/or hair growing in the wrong places. There’s old-age spread or shrinking; both can happen at the same time. And there’s the ‘old lumbago’. Loss of balance, strength, hearing, vision, taste. And disease (which happens at any age, of course).
As a young and more naive version of Eve, I fully believed yoga was going to be my insurance policy against serious illness and early demise. I’m happy to say I’m still here. Whether yoga is responsible for this is unknown, but I like to think it’s contributed. I have not avoided illness. I’ve experienced major surgeries and come through well; yoga was definitely part of my healing process.
Yoga practices give me great joy. The physical postures let me keep reasonably supple and strong. The loveliness of restorative poses, yoga breathing, relaxation and meditation invite calm and poise.
Every day I’m grateful for any well-being I enjoy. I don’t take it for granted. Anything can come around the corner unexpectedly. Remember when ‘pandemic’ was scarcely part of our vocabulary?
Somewhere along my lifeline, yoga became one of my identities, not just a thing that I do or a talisman to ward off ill health and ageing. I am old and I am yoga.
I’m curious about what your relationship is with the age you are at present, and whether yoga plays a major role indoor life. Please feel free to comment.