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Never regret your old age…

My Nan at 90

My Nan at 90

“Never regret your old age – it’s a privilege denied to many”, I’ve no idea who said these wise words but I do like them. I’ve been thinking a lot about old age recently and thought in my next series of blogs I’d share some yogic and not so yogic thoughts on the aging process, and how to make it easier! As a nation we are all living longer, the average life expectancy for a man is 78.7 years and 82.6 years for a woman. The amount of over 90’s has increased by more than 128k in the last 10 years. All good news, especially if we are well and still able to enjoy life (albeit in a different way to our younger days!). So it strikes me that taking good care of ourselves is the way forward. My Nan celebrated her 9oth birthday last month. She’s a sprightly 90, sharp as a tack and she got me thinking about aging well. I have to be honest, my Nan has not led a particularly holistic, yogic lifestyle (much as I would love to say this!) she’s smoked most of her life, likes a tipple and thinks physical exercise is just plain crazy! What she does have though is an amazing mental outlook. She enjoys life and is always looking forward something. She’s also a positive thinker, and if there’s something she doesn’t like she either gets it sorted or simply doesn’t think about it (which takes an enormous amount of willpower and practice but does pay dividends). I have come to the conclusion that there are lots of things that we can physically do to keep in good health, and help our bodies as they age, more of these in later blogs, but good mental attitude is one of the best tools we have. Meditation is probably one of the best ways to bring the peace of mind many of us are searching for. Meditation doesn’t have to be mysterious, and it’s as difficult as you want to make it! It’s great if you can clear some time in your day to sit and meditate, if not you can bring the techniques into your everyday life, truly focus on what you are doing at any given time, be in the moment, pay attention to the sounds, physical sensations, tastes and smells. If your mind wanders to other thing gently bring it back to focus on what you are doing right now. Pay attention to the thoughts that do come up, memories of the past can bring with them feelings of regret, guilt, grief, whilst thinking of the future is very often accompanied by fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Try to stay in the present to keep these negative thoughts at bay. It’s these negative thoughts that can cause dis-ease. Affirmations are a great way of turning round negative thought patterns into positive ones, here’s a couple to get you going: “I trust the flow of life”; “I love and approve of myself”. This may well bring up some reaction as you repeat them – good – keep going – it’s just your ego feeling a little unsettled. Sometimes negative thought patterns are so entrenched in our being that they can take some shifting and we may need a little extra help. I’ve found Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques to be highly beneficial, along with the Bach flower remedies, especially Rescue Remedy. I’ve talked before about the power of mudra (yoga gestures). Here’s a very classic way of resting your hands whilst meditating, that is said to bring calm and clarity, allowing us to be open to knowledge and our inner wisdom: • Rest your hands on your knees or thighs, palms facing upper most. • Bring the tip of the right thumb to connect with the right index finger. Do the same with the left hand. • Other fingers are just relaxed, comfortably curled. • That’s it! Hold whilst you are silent sitting. I hope this blog has whetted your appetite as to the amazing power of the mind. Changing to a positive mind set will bring many benefits, including a sense of ease and acceptance as we move through the different stages of our lives. A positive mental attitude and the wisdom of acceptance is available to us all, not just those who meditate. I asked my Nan what she put her longevity down to, the answer was a lifetime of taking ginseng. I also asked if she had any regrets as she reached 90, yes, she said she certainly had one…. not been able to wear her beloved high heel shoes anymore 😉 Ix

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