Everything in nature ages, including us. But aging doesn’t have to be scary (no matter what the advertisements may say). In fact, it can be a lovely, natural experience. And, by finding balance in your body and mind and embracing changes as they come, you may find that you can actually feel better with age.
Ayurveda and Yoga can serve as guides to help you feel stronger, more confident and secure as you progress in the natural process of life.
A new relationship to aging
But change happens no matter how much we dig our heels in. If you choose to resist change, you will block the natural flow of prana within. This causes even more disturbance and poor health. But by embracing the flow of life, you can enjoy even energy, vitality and enjoyment as you age.
Doshas and the times of life
As you enter your vata period, remember that the same principles apply when you seek to balance vata after age 50 that you would use to balance vata at any point in life: eat warm, cooked foods that contain notable amounts of ghee and other healthy oils, maintain a consistent dinacharya (daily routine) and focus on activities that are calming and sattvic in nature.
Agni: the key to aging with grace
The biggest key to health as you age (or to feel your best at any point throughout your life) is to maintain strong agni, digestive fire. As you age, vata and agni have an increasingly interdependent relationship. If you head into the vata time of life and your agni is already weak, vata’s light and mobile qualities will make agni even weaker. When agni is weak, it will cause even more vata imbalance. To feel better as you age, implement practices to maintain agni and keep vata calm, such as practicing certain pranayama daily, chewing food to liquid, paying attention to food combining or eating a ginger appetizer (¼ teaspoon grated fresh ginger topped with a pinch of mineral salt and a squeeze of lime) before meals.
If you do experience illness, see it as an opportunity to clear karma, and don’t allow fear to take root, as that will feed vata imbalance. Heal by rebuilding agni, releasing attachment to the way things “should” be and finding joy in current aspects of your life.
Embracing your wisdom
Here are some ideas to work with the natural flow of the older years:
- Find a way to contribute to society that allows you to clear karmas instead of creating them. This could be in a position of service or by following a spiritual path.
- Enjoy creative or spiritual pursuits. Vata’s light and subtle qualities allow a greater connection to divine energies, which will allow you to flourish in ways you may not have been able to before.
- Maintain a regular schedule, even if you are not working in the same way you were when you were younger. Getting enough sleep and eating at consistent times will support calm vata.
- Accept your true age – there’s no need to hide it. Instead of bemoaning the changes to your body, focus on aspects of yourself that you appreciate. True beauty, which comes from within, isn’t just for the young.
- Embrace your wisdom by putting your experience to use. This is a time to mentor younger people or perhaps even write that book you’ve been thinking about for years.
As you age, remember that you are not your body. You are a reflection of the divine and have lived many lifetimes before, and will likely have many more to come. Enjoy your life for what it is – an opportunity to grow as a spirit – and you will see what it means to truly age with grace.