BIG NEWS. We’re all getting older every day. We will never be as young as we were yesterday. Our bodies are changing shape and form and biologically speaking, are on the decline from the moment we are born.
This is not to depress or to ignite anxiety, but rather an honest assessment of the physical reality that our bodies, these beautiful vessels, are in a constant state of change. Expanding, shrinking, strengthening, weakening. Yet there is an active attempt to thwart this organic process, to reverse the effects of growing older, basically to slap mother nature in the face.
Isn’t it a curious phenomenon that we have culturally decided that getting older is something abhorrent and that beauty is most pervasive in our earlier years. We’ve drawn a line in the sand and once we cross, we no longer fit the standard make and model of attraction. And yet, the years of plumped skin and agile body are intended for cultivating experiences so that we have a surplus of wisdom and a deep capacity to love that we can then share with the world as we grow older. To try to freeze this process of development, of mental, emotional, and spiritual progression, is to deny ourselves the enjoyment of the aging process. Why must we make wrinkles and silver hair akin to disease when these are but the shadows of stories? How saturated our bodies become with the narratives of our experience, that to attempt to combat seems absurd.
Our aging process is reflected by our journey during yoga practice. We begin slowly, in a state of stillness, breathing intentionally at the start. We move through the childhood and teenage years of the practice, generating heat and power as we move. We find a peak pose, the point of practice where our bodies are most open and primed for maximum intensity. From this point, the latter part of our lives, we begin to settle body back down, finding our way back lower to the ground to prepare ourselves for the ultimate treasure of yoga: an open body and receptive mind ready for meditation. When we reach the close of practice, when we enter into our golden years, we are finally ready after much physical preparation and discipline to receive the benefits of that experience. To sit and to revel in all the effort we have given, connected to something greater than the self, something that surpasses physicality.
The inevitable experience of growing older is not villainous, but rather magical. Instead of anti-aging creams and wrinkle reducers, we can stand in reverence of eyes that crinkle from the weight of all they have seen and all that they know. Let’s start a cultural shift in perspective. Let’s revere those who’ve weathered time, life, love, and loss to stand with us and share experience.
So, let’s make the effort to reach out to someone whose weathered time and experience and let them know the impact they have had on. Perhaps it is an older relative, a neighbor, the man from the grocery store, or a stranger that chances to sit down next to you on the subway. Whomever it is, let’s them know that their story is treasured, that he/she is revered for their experience. Let’s begin the pro-aging revolution.