You ARE old if you’re still saying this…Oct 25, 2021
At the beginning of this year I had to admit to myself that the reason I couldn’t see my book at night was not because I had just taken off my eye make-up with coconut oil. The oil was not blurring my vision. I could not see the words on the page because my eyesight was not as good as it once was.
Walking into Target one afternoon I casually walked over to where they have the reading glasses hanging on an end-cap. Putting a pair on I was astounded by what I could see that I wasn’t able to without them.
“Well, that sucks,” I thought as I selected a pair with cute frames and put them in my cart.
I had always had perfect vision. No, it was beyond perfect. I had crystal clear, hawk-eyed vision that had never failed me… until now.
And, just like that my eyesight seemed like another casualty along with that deep wrinkle in between my eyebrows to the passing of time. Both of these markers proving that though I still think of myself as twenty-eight, I am by no means, shape, or form, twenty-eight anymore… or even close to it.
But, there is one thing you will never hear me say. Because as soon as you say it, you ARE it.
And, that’s, “I’m old.”
Declaring, “I’m old,” is one of the silliest things you can do. There is a power in whatever word you put after the words, “I am.” Your body is listening and will follow suit. “Oh, I’m old,” it thinks, and in turn starts to give you more of what you don’t want.
Now, I know that seems super yoga teacher-y, but in my profession, I’ve been shown again and again how much the thoughts we think bring about the imbalances in the body. I have witnessed this in my own practice and in the practices of my long-time students.
I’ve often heard my students through the years proclaim, “I’m old!” like a badge of honor or an idea that was thrust into their minds and stuck there, unable to unhinge its hook-like claws. I always groan a little inside when these words are shouted emphatically in my direction or whispered underneath their breath like a mantra that they just can’t shake.
And most of the time the person uttering, “I’m old,” is far from it. If you are in your late thirties, you are not “old.” In fact, I’ve known many people in their late eighties that are not old.
The real sign of becoming “old” has nothing to do with wrinkles, or aches and pains.
It has to do with putting the brakes on your learning process, insisting that you know what you know and that’s enough for this lifetime.
When the brain stops learning it becomes older - aged. And, when the body stops learning, it also starts to becomes what could be considered old.
We’ve all known people that simply seem stuck.
They think the same exact thoughts they were thinking ten, or even twenty, years ago. They refuse to work through their stuff even if they are very aware of what their stuff is.
These people continue to do the same activities. Even their yoga practice is routine and unsurprising. And then, as if it’s someone else’s fault, or life has dealt them some raw deal, they usually complain about how nothing changes or will change for the better. It’s an endless cycle that creates a very “old” human.
If you take on a yoga practice that has the ability to evolve and grow, you will never become old. Yes, you are going to age. Maybe there will be postures that you can no longer get into, but that you once used to.
But yoga, is way more than a bunch of postures to achieve.
I believe when you become someone devoted to yoga, you are also devoted to becoming a life-long learner and a seeker of truth.
My yoga practice has kept me young. I am not delusional – I know I look like my age. And, my failing eyesight is there to show me that things are shifting and changing. But, I also am not upset about that. Because you could not pay me to go back and relive my twenties – it was a messy, awkward, who-am-I-and-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life kind of time.
But in turn, the more I learn about asana practice, the more I want to learn. I apply any knowledge I have to my own practice, and though the body might take some time to truly understand what I am asking of it, little by little it learns how to respond in a new way to accomplish the task and challenge of the given posture I may be working towards.
Because of this, the body gets to stay young. It’s learning. The mind is flexing its muscles as well. And, my spirit is pretty darn happy with the process, too.
So, ditch the phrase, “I’m old.” Stay on your mat. Practice at least once or twice a week. And, continue to choose to learn new things and stay open to different perspectives.
Youth is not in a bottle. It is not a cream or an injection. It is in the thoughts we think about ourselves, other people, and the world around us.
Want to develop a lifelong yoga practice that evolves, grows, and surprises you on the daily? Come join me for class.
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