Can yoga help manage the ageing process? If your practise enhances your awareness of yourself and how you interact with your world then yes, it can.
Yoga is useful for making changes on the neurological level. So how can that help?
What is Ageing
Dr Denham Harman (14 February 1916 – 25 November 2014), a research biochemist asserted that old age was just another disease, that could be managed if never entirely cured. Dr Harman’s hypothesis did not attract serious consideration for almost 30 years after he first published it in a 1954 paper titled, “Free Radical Theory of Ageing.” However, its core insights have since opened new avenues of research into the causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Dr. Denham Harman
Ageing is the progressive accumulation of changes with time that are associated with or responsible for the ever-increasing susceptibility to disease and death which accompanies advancing age
Dr. Denham Harman
The sum of the deleterious free radical reactions going on continuously throughout the cells and tissues constitutes the ageing process or is a major contributor to it
And according to Leonard Hayflick, Professor of Anatomy at the UCSF School of Medicine, and was Professor of Medical Microbiology at Stanford University School of Medicine.
The common denominator that underlies all modern theories of biological ageing is change in molecular structure and, hence, function
Can yoga affect ageing?
There is compelling new evidence that yoga and meditation can affect the biological process Dr Harman & Hayflick refer to. This is an interesting article from Psychology Today There is a perception of Yogin’s of ancient India gaining powers or Siddhis, to transcend ageing. Superhuman qualities which are written about in texts like the Bhagavata-purana. Ageing has been at the forefront of our human condition forever. However, we now have much stronger science to validate our understanding of yogic practices. We should be grateful that we have a choice, how we use this power depends on the notion of our “self”.
Age well with yoga
I run yoga classes for seniors from my studio on the Isle of Wight. My students engage with the instruction to let go of unhelpful habitual tension. They are encouraged to do this by becoming aware of their unique “body maps”. They are always, through attentive and mindful movements and breathing, renewing their neurological map. This helps them manage their ageing process. All of my students feel better for practising, claiming to have fewer aches and sprains to reducing chronic pain too.
We are All One
I am publishing an abbreviated version of an article about yoga and being over 50 by Kitty Owens from the Art of Living Retreat Centre. It’s a personal story that I resonate with. She tells us that a change of life that has helped her age well came about because of yoga. She started at age 55, now she’s 76.
For the full article please follow this link : https://artoflivingretreatcenter.org/blog/all-one-yoga/
We are all one
Yoga classes & teaching
It was yoga. I took my first yoga class at 55. I felt too much better afterwards that I went back twice a week. My hands loosened up, the crackles left my neck, my hips opened up (and slimmed down), and I even touched my toes. I began a new career: teaching yoga and practising yoga therapy. I opened a school in the sunshine, SKY Yoga. It is still there, directed by a wonderful teacher I trained and certified. In time I left Florida– it was very hot, expensive, and filling up with houses fewer and fewer people lived in year-round. I followed my dream of living in the mountains of North Carolina. There I built a house where I couldn’t see my neighbours for the trees.
More than yoga classes
I continued to study yoga, on my own and formally. After a while, I went to Duke medical school to learn more about yoga and ageing, and yoga therapy as an alternative to medical practices that do not seem to get ageing. Just the opposite: most dis-eases associated with ageing are not; furthermore, they are conditions better treated with the breath, movement, and meditation at any age than with drugs and surgery.
At the senior centre where I teach, students sometimes say I am an inspiration, that they want to be just like me. That is, fit, happy, attractive, and older than I seem. For a while, I was the oldest yoga teacher I knew. I have met a teacher who is my inspiration– she is in her late 90s. She is an inspiration. I want to be just like her. (Google: Tao Porchon-Lynch.)
Yoga is ageless
Age? Youth? In yoga that’s beside the point. Yoga is instead about living well, yes, and long, of course, and ageing well. It is about waking up to a day as good as or better than any other you have ever spent. A little stiff? That eases once the body starts moving– certain special movements help considerably even with those dis-eases associated with ageing that younger folks share, especially arthritis, for instance. Energy lifts when you remember to breathe fully, using your diaphragm (you probably started suppressing it as a teenager). You meet the day with a heightened awareness of life’s gifts, great and small, especially if you practice a bit of meditation. You treat people well because you remember we are all one. One.