Yoga: The Real Fountain of Youth
There is a lot of hype these days about anti-aging, especially when it comes to beauty creams, diets and supplements. But what about real anti-aging? — youthening the entire body-mind, not just the skin.
Turning back the clock is possible. It does require effort, however. Read on to find out how.
As an MD, I had been on the lookout for that fabled fountain of youth for quite some time — over twenty years. I finally found it one day in May of 2001, in Sedona, Arizona.
While attending a Chakra Yoga and Ayurveda (holistic medicine from India) workshop there, I noticed a 78-year-old woman in our class who had all the energy and lithe movement of a twenty-something, gliding about the room with the ease and grace of a dancer.
I asked her for the secret to her youthfulness. “Yoga” was her one-word reply.
Up until that point, I had a lot of misconceptions about yoga. I was only familiar with yoga “as seen on tv,” a physical yoga “workout” with lots of stretching, breathing and sometimes with difficult poses. Like so many others, I had missed the point entirely. Diving deeper I found what Yoga is really about: meditation and relaxation.
Yoga: Much More Than Stretching
Yoga is much more than physical — more than the familiar poses. It is “that which calms the thought waves of the mind.”
That’s the original definition by the sage Patanjali in the first verse of The Yoga Sutras (verses). What did he mean by thought waves? The worries and the hurries. The stress.
Decreasing Stress/Cultivating Calm
What’s the best way to calm those thought waves? With the yogic practices of asana, pranayama and mantra.
The asanas, or poses, strengthen the body-mind and start the relaxation-stress-reduction process. A calm relaxed body leads to a calmer mind, and vice versa. Note: asana (AH-Sah-Nah) means “joyful seat.” It is that.
Pranayama, or conscious breath practice, is combined with the poses, giving us a powerful tool for calming the body-mind and connecting with Spirit. The breath can control the mood, just like the mood can control the breath. For example, an anxious mood, like panic attack, gives rise to an agitated breath pattern: hyperventilation.
Finally, Sanskrit mantra calms the mind with healing sound vibrations. The sound of AUM/OM creates feelings of oneness and harmony in all the cells of the body. All you have to do is chant along. Let the vibrations do the work for you.
For more on mantra and chanting, see my books, and online courses, like “Healing Mantras” now featured on the DailyOM.com.
The asanas are just the beginning — Yoga 101, the preparation for the higher yogic practices of concentration, meditation and samadhi (absorption into the highest bliss).
Yoga: Fountain of Youthfulness
Of Yoga’s many good side effects, one of the most beneficial is lowering stress and lowering cortisol, that damaging stress hormone found in the body.
Too much cortisol is not good for you.
It ages you.
It raises the blood sugar, the blood pressure, and your body weight
Stress, the great ailment of “modern society,” will turn your hair gray and ravage your bodily systems from brain to heart to the GI tract.
Ulcers? Heart attack? Stroke? Cancer? Atrial Fibrillation?
Stress is a major risk factor for each.
Yoga contains within it, Ayurveda, the healing branch of yogic science, the “knowlege of life and longevity.”
How do you stay young and vital for as long as possible?
Know Ayurveda’s 3 Keys for Optimal Health and Longevity, coming in my next blog.
The Fountain of Youth does not come in a pill or an injection, or even a healing herb. It takes knowledge and effort — knowledge of yoga, and its sister science, Ayurveda.The ultimate goal of Ayurveda is a healthy physical body, a calm (sattvic) mind and a heart connection with Spirit.
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Healing Mantras course now available on the DailyOM.com.
For Yogic-Ayurvedic Psychological Counseling,
Life Coach Cayenne: FindingHappinessAgain.com.
Online course, Finding Happiness Again, also featured on the DailyOM.com.
Asato Ma Satgamaya: Lead us from the unreal to the real.