Yoga and Anti-aging

Aging is inevitable and part of the journey i.e. life. We can accept the way we look at 50 cannot be like what we looked at 30 or fight it through medicines, surgeries and special diets. There is however, a natural way for those who wish to stay young. It involves practice of yoga asana, pranayama, mudra, kriya, meditation, naturopathy and ayurveda.

Life in India's urban cities is fast-paced, hectic and people are always in a hurry. This takes its toll on our health and has made us age sooner than what our parents and grandparents did. Sooner than later sicknesses begin to crop up. This increases stress levels and hastens aging.

Aging is determined by four factors. 20% genes, 20% food, 20% mental attitude and 40% yoga. If any component is missing, we might age faster than normal.

This piece talks about Yoga.

Yoga is the science of health and healing. It can reverse many health issues namely physical, mental, and emotional etc. A fine balance has to be maintained in our lifestyles where twenty-four hours can be divided into three equal sessions of eight hours each: 7-8 hours of sleeping, eight hours of working, four hours of entertainment & personal tasks and balance four hours of yoga and health related activities including healthy eating (also, mostly opt for walking for any activity rather than use of any mechanical transport).

Yogic diet is also the best way to manage your food. It means Mitahaar which means whenever you eat, 25% stomach should be empty, 25% should be water/liquid and 50% should be vegetarian food.

Now days everything boils down to scientific ways of managing issues. Therefore, time management, stress management, food management, health management are important all of which eventually help in wealth management.

Live, love, let live and let go should be the motto of life.

What hastens aging?

One, is our attitude to life. Those who are lazy, greedy, negative, jealous, cribbers, fault finders, angry types, impatient and spread hatred are likely to age faster. Some of us are perpetually trying to predict and control the future, we always want to be in charge and are unwilling to let the future unfold.

Two, we live in a world filled with pollution and dust. To top it off, every other commercial that we see is for a cosmetic product. The ads are tempting, no doubt. As a result, we buy the product. We soon get bored and buy another. The process goes on. Applying a hotchpotch of creams on your skin undoubtedly damages it. That is one part of the story.

Three, remember our body systems have to work harder & faster to remove toxins which cause ageing & ill health. To this our sedentary lifestyles, where we are stuck to our chairs for eight hours a day and love for junk food, worsens the situation.

The body cringes with all the crap thrown at it. How much can it take? Harmful products and habits result in premature aging of the skin, making us panic and look for ways to mend the damage.

Four, there is nothing wrong in trying to look young even at sixty. The problems arise when we challenge the aging process through surgery, drugs, detoxicants and special diet plans.

How can Yoga help?

Yoga, with its balancing act, good blood circulation, flexibility, and strengthening abilities, restores your body to its previous glory. But this only happens when you do it regularly and are careful with your diet. Remember, damage is easy, repair difficult. Yoga cleanses your system, relaxes it, and finally restores it. Yoga seems like magic as it can give a natural lift to your face and make your skin glow.

You must understand that yoga is not an elixir. It will not stop you from aging naturally. Aging is inevitable and has to happen, but there is a way to slow down the process. You might wonder how.

The answer is the same–Yoga & yogic ways. Our lifestyle has to be better and healthier. If you don't use, you lose. Therefore, physical and mental activity are a must.

One, Asanas, Pranayam and Meditation are excellent forms of practice for the body, mind and soul. Yoga increases blood circulation and concentration, strengthens muscles and enhances oxygen carrying capacity. It keeps our body fit by burning fat and losing weight thus slowing down the ageing process.

Yoga is not just asanas but a way of life. It works in every cellular level of our body. It helps to oxygenate each and every cell of our body and thus rejuvenates our body systems.

Simple Yoga practices like Simhamudra, Jivhabandh, Brahmamudra, Kapalbhati, Dehdharana, Prandharana, Shavasana etc help. Yoga should be done in classical and scientific ways. Yoga is static not dynamic. Correct yoga practice helps, wrong can harm.

Two, the nature of food intake also plays a major role in our body processes. Eating right slows down aging. As the saying goes, ‘we are what we eat’. Here are tips:

  • For anti-ageing, keep your calorie consumption low, give more thrust upon consuming fresh fruits, sprouts and green vegetables.
  • Reduce intake of the three whites - Salt, Sugar and Maida.
  • Avocado reduces cholesterol in body, helps to maintain healthy skin due to vitamin E and reduces the sign of ageing.
  • Berries like blackberries, blueberries and grapes act like as super foods, contain powerful antioxidants, which protect the body from free radicals and ageing.
  • Walnut is good for anti-ageing as it is abundant with Omega 3 acid.
  • Vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, turnip, sprouts are rejuvenating foods, aid to fight against toxin and help to fight ageing.
  • Olive Oil contains polyphenols which is a powerful antioxidant, helps to fight wrinkles.
  • Sunlight when sun is mild AM or PM.
  • Water Therapy is good too. Drink lots of water. It also removes toxins.

Ayurveda's most popular therapy is Panchkarma. It does Detox (cleansing), relaxing, healing and rejuvenating. Our body is like a motor vehicle. Just as a vehicle needs regular servicing, oiling, greasing, cleaning so does our body.  

I invite you to visit Kaivalyadhama for overhauling by Panchkarma. A fine balance in three Gunas, correction of three doshas is required. 

Moderation and leading a balanced life is the way forward. Spaced out disciplined life is the better option, like maintaining a time table of activities of all kinds. Eating, sleeping, working should be regular in quantity and quality.

I have seen and spoken to many seniors who have lived or are living healthy long lives. All of them have one thing in common, they maintained the regular routine for everything. Therefore, the body adapted accordingly and sustained for longer years.

At Kaivalyadham Mumbai, where I am currently Joint Director, we conduct a course on how to delay the aging process through a combination of Yogic, Ayurvedic and Naturopathic therapies. This is not only for the elderly, but also for youngsters who want to lay a healthy foundation for aging gracefully.

Visit our site to know more.

Eventually a healthy body, a calm mind, positive attitude, an everlasting smile and ability to take the ups and downs of life in your stride will lead to inner peace and make the body feel good.

When that happens your face will glow and your personality enhanced, and you will feel youthful, energetic and relaxed. It does not matter then how old you actually are, age is only a number!

Author is Joint Director, Kaivalyadhama, Mumbai. He has 36 yrs of experience and has written three books (New Horizons in Yoga, Yoga for Seniors & Yoga as therapy). Besides that also made two cd/dvd 'Yoga on Chair'. He is also Honorary Therapist to Governor of Maharashtra and was deputed by the Government of India to Indonesia as a Yoga teacher.

Also read

1. All you wanted to know about Meditation

2. Do's and Don'ts on Yoga Asanas PDF book

3. Role of Sattvic diet on Hypertension

4. Naturopathy by Swami Sivananda

5. Anti-aging Yoga tips to stay younger

6. Very good site on Mudra therapy 

7. Meditation and Kriya Yoga by Paramahansa Yogananda