It is important to keep things fresh in our lives.
The older we get, the more we are set in our ways and tend to stick with what we know works until, well, it stops working. This stark truth then brings us to the realisation that we are less able to adapt to change because we are older. Have your heard yourself starting to say: ‘I’m too old to change?’
It is much better to build change into the way we live so that we are regularly assessing what is working and what is no longer relevant. I try to cull 20-30 books from my shelves every year and only keep books that are alive with information I value. Even information can go stale.
They say it is harder to change someone’s religion than their diet. We like what we like and that’s that. The older we get, we are less willing to try new things. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this per se because it takes a long time to get to know yourself and your preferences tend to settle down. The danger is when we settle for comforting tastes like sweet, sour and salty. It is important to make sure that there is always a little bit of all six tastes in our food. The other three are pungent (spicy) bitter and astringent. We also tend to forget that variety also comes in textures. Food should be smooth and a little rough ( remember the word roughage?) soft and a little hard, oily and a little dry. It keeps our digestive system on its toes as well as our teeth and gums.
Exercise and Rest
In the west, we tend to get excited about new ways of moving. Every few years, there’s a new craze that gets people to sign up to classes. When I was a child, Jane Fonda’s exercise video was all the rage. Now it is Zumba, Spinning and obviously Yoga. We need to move more for sure and if Zumba inspires you to move, then all the better though I’d obviously recommend yoga first.
Do we vary the way we practice yoga? Summer yoga should be different than winter yoga because the elements are changing. If you don’t adapt your yoga, is it still your servant or have you become a servant to it?
The quality of our rest is just as important. Rest is not just crashing in front of a TV. Too much junk leaves you mentally and emotionally agitated. Try making notes on how you feel after an episode of Eastenders. High adrenaline activity should be moderated.
Yoga promotes deep rest through Savasana (corpse pose) guided relaxations, yoga nidra and many other techniques. Do we make enough time for rest?
We are all children of light and our essence is made up of love, light and energy. Ayurveda cherishes us like our own mothers. She wants us to be full of essence because they bring joy. Running on empty in life is no fun. Our immunity is constantly on high alert and we are always tired and unmotivated. Ayurveda spends a lot of time talking about herbs, diet and activities that promote our essences so that we can be strong for our families, communities and be good guardians for the world we inhabit.
Find something to be happy and optimistic about. It may sound a bit glib, especially in such difficult times but trust me when I say that there is power in it. Optimism should not lead to blind acceptance of neglect or injustice. Quite the opposite. It empowers you further to act against those things. Apathy is our enemy. Clarity and vision keep our minds fresh and instrumental in building a better future.
Tarik Dervish is the current Modules Officer for the BWY. He is an experienced DCT and Ayurvedic practitioner. He specialises in running courses in Ayurveda for yoga practitioners and will be co-launching the first Ayurveda Online Module next year.
Please visit yogawell.co.uk for more information.