I heard a friend say today that she is happy this year is almost over and that next year has got to be better. Then, she added, ‘That’s what I said the year before, though.’ In my opinion, last year and the year before were not bad. This period forced upon me the realisation that I am not really in control. And that uncertainty is the only bedrock that we have and all our machinations will never change that fact.
Getting Older. Getting Old.
At my age, physiology has conspired to make me much more considerate of my energy levels. No matter what kind of yoga I do, how much or how little, let’s be honest, I don’t have the verve of my 40 year old self.
And yet, the last couple of months have pushed me onto a bigger stage. Without seeking renown, some special opportunities have found me.
I celebrated an eighty-eight year old friend’s birthday on Saturday night. Some of you might know this friend: it’s of course Collyn Rivers.
Collyn’s birthday got me thinking about ageing, especially as I’m reading a book called Ageless Soul. The author, Thomas Moore, could be describing Collyn when he says:
We are ageless people participating in a mysterious and wonderful process in which our eternal unchanging selves become more visible over time. Gradually you discover your original self, your own pristine way of being.
To my way of thinking, this sums up the practice of yoga, too. […]
Am also encouraged by recent findings that the body may cease aging when one is past 91. The study (reported in a 2016 New Scientist) by Michael Rose (a professor of evolutionary biology), says that if you are lucky enough to live that long, you stop ageing. He notes that one’s health may not improve but it certainly does not get any worse. Whilst that advice is far not mainstream, population statistics do show that ageing seems to stop at 93 – and does not speed up again until we get a telegram from Queen Elizabeth (the Last) at 100.
Thus, if one makes it to 99, you are no more likely to die at any given point than someone of 93. (From 110 plus may be a different matter but I’ll let you know).
When I was 27, I discovered yoga. I thought that this ancient system would help me defeat disease and old age. Of course, I now know this view was terribly naive and ultimately fallacious. But because both of my parents had died young from heart problems, I wanted to find a guaranteed way to live a long, healthy life.
Celebrate a birthday or two with meEve yoga is where you’ll find the Yoga Suits Her blog; on January 1st 2016, she will enjoy her sixth birthday. I want to share with you another birthday. Saturday I turned 71 years old. To celebrate, I thought I’d show you a few yoga pics from the distant past, not-so-distant past, and the present. I dug through stacks of old photos from 1980 to present day to find this selection. My albums include pics of some of my old students, as well. […]
Late bloomers in yoga are the Grey WarriorsA week ago, I had a phone call from a woman who I want to describe as a ‘grey warrior’. […]
“I can’t believe Eve Grzybowski is 70. She’s a walking advertisement for the benefits of yoga to combat ageing.”
When I read the above Facebook comment, which is obviously meant to be a compliment, I smiled. It brought up images of me in battle gear, all manner of weapons in hand, throwing myself against the cruel onslaught of Time.
Nothing could be further from the truth. My seventy years have shown me that time marches inevitably foreward. Fighting its effects, I’ve noticed, is not only futile but exhausting.
BTW, I don’t do yoga to thwart ageing. […]
In the lead-up to my 70th birthday in December, I’ve been playing with the idea of declaring myself old. This is my way of getting used to the idea. After all, at some point I have to own my age, and ‘old’ is just a word, isn’t it?
I know there are many people of advanced years who don’t want to own up to their age. For the most part in our society, old has a pejorative connotation. Middle aged isn’t so bad. Being called a senior is still on the soft side. […]
I admire older individuals who put aside their fears and considerations and come to yoga for the first time. These 50 to 80 year olds are what I call the ‘grey warriors’. By joining a class at this late stage, they are setting off on the adventure of a lifetime. […]
From the above title, you might think I’m going to be writing about a tennis match or a disagreement with my spouse.
But no, this is much more serious. I’m talking about losing memory, losing faculties, and losing muscle strength. I’m talking about The March of Time.
I came across an excellent blog post this week from Eve Johnson, another tribute to yoga guru, B.K.S. Iyengar. She got me thinking about the process of ageing. I know, I know, I’m getting obsessed with this topic.
I think I’m doing ageing reasonably well. […]
What kind of person would enrol for a course called, ‘Midwifeing Death’*?
As it turns out, I am that sort of person.
Not only did I not hesitate to sign up for the course, but I did so without fully comprehending what it might involve.
I do know that death and dying are happening all around us every moment of every day, but as I live my busy life, I scarcely notice. […]
Recent studies show that one of the best ways to stay mentally fit and enjoy a long life is to exercise regularly.
Is a program of asana-based yoga enough to encourage optimum health? Well, that probably depends on whether a component of your practice is aerobic. […]
Do you consider yourself forgetful? Have you misplaced valuable items and been too embarrassed to mention your lapses to others? Are you fearful that you are becoming increasingly forgetful with age? What about those words that are just on the tip of your tongue that turn out to be as effervescent as champagne bubbles? And, the people who you meet on the street whose names you should know as well as your own… but for whom you only draw an embarrassing blank?
Welcome to my world. […]
I’ve recently been experiencing A Rough Patch.
This is the week when Roma Blair died, age 90. She was considered the mother of yoga in Australia; she taught and inspired thousands of students over the years with her verve and commitment to well-being through yoga.
Much less known than Roma, my brother-in-law Jack passed away at 75 years old in California, leaving Becca without her beloved partner. […]
I’m a competitive person. I don’t mean to be. I don’t really want to be. But despite having taught yoga for many years, there it is: I’m still competitive.
A little of this personality quirk leaked out into the class the other day when I was demonstrating chaturanga dandasana – you know, the yoga push-up position – a pose that many people love to hate. I finished up by saying to the students, ‘if the oldest person in the room can do this, then you should at least be able to give it a try. […]
I’ve recently heard of a few people who have suffered falls related to various medical conditions: vision impairment, alzheimer’s, faints, and cancer.
While younger people might pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move on, falling can lead to more serious problems in the aged population. Some will suffer bone fractures and breaks but also the gradual diminution of confidence. This may lead to loss of independence and perhaps the eventual need to move into an aged care facility.
Yoga is often touted as beneficial for improving the sense of balance. […]
When I was growing up in Chicago in the 1950’s, there was a popular song called ‘He’s Got the Whole World in Hands’. Back then as a little girl, it was comforting to know that Someone was taking care of everything, even though it seemed to me that there were a lot of problems that were getting overlooked.
Now as an adult, I can see that each of us has to step up to the responsibility of creating a world that works for all of us. […]
I was on skype call with my sister today, and she said, ‘You’re getting old.” It was in relation to my complaining about a cold that’s been hanging around for about two weeks now.
Why is it that people so readily say that sort of thing? […]