After being astonished yesterday that I could be the mother, possibly grandmother ( in age terms) of most of my students I started to panic. I don’t have nearly enough time left to a) read the mountain of books b) perfect crow pose c) learn to be a better person. Luckily the beautiful Dr Mao had a few tips on how to live to be a ripe old age by living a yogic lifestyle.
Dr Mao has spent over twenty years studying centenarians. He states that our bodies are able to live until at least 100 possible 120 and up to 140. Just think of all the reading you could do! Here are his tips for a long and healthy life. The last point was the most surprising to me.
1) Exercise. Most of the centenarians still walked for at least an hour a day
2) Diet. A diet which is slightly leaner in calorific intake encourages the body to not spend all its valuable time digesting food. Instead it can direct its energy towards cell renewal.
3) Independence. Most of the centenarians either lived with their family or lived on their own, still looking after their daily needs.
4) Letting go. What Dr Mao found is a universal joyfulness in all the oldies. They had all been through terrible personal tragedy, illness and had experienced hardship and loss. However when they reflected on these hard times they could see it with lightness. The events of the past didn’t weigh them down. If you have coping mechanisms to deal with stress, then you will experience greater health rewards. The mind is connected to the body. As we know stress can cause elevated heart rates, the risk of cancer and stroke, it lowers the ability for the immune system to cope with fighting disease and it increases inflammation in your body. The cells respond to signals from the mind so if you are sending the body the wrong signals your health will deteriorate.
When the mind is in symphony with the body then you have unity. When you have unity you have better health and this equates to a longer life.
Practice for today: Are you able to navigate yourself away from stress? Can you self soothe and regulate your thinking and physical holding patterns when things get tough. Do you hang on to stuff long after everyone else has dropped it? Can I suggest that you find a practice bring balance to your life. The most studied and proven for smoothing out your bumps are meditation, breathing, Qi meditations and awareness exercises.
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