This is a photo of me doing plow pose (Halasana). It's not an easy pose to do because you need to be fairly flexible in the upper shoulders and neck as well as in the hamstrings. It's also not one of the more challenging poses one can do but if you asked the average 53 year-old American to do this pose, it would likely be pretty hard for that person to do. It's taken me a very long time to even begin to love my 53 year-body, and I'll share with you what I've done to foster a positive body image, and how you can do it too.
Making Peace with JLo
Comparison is the thief of joy. Nowhere is this adage more appropriate than on Instagram. All you have to do is look at JLo's feed and realize that you are a big blob compared to her. Okay, so she's a couple years younger than I am but if you look at her face and body, she's like 25 years younger I am. The practice of yoga has made me realize that my body is not JLo's body, and my journey is not hers either. I don't have to be in front of a camera every 10 seconds and I also don't have to dance around on a stage while singing for three hours at a time. I'm very happy about that because her life wouldn't fit me. Sometimes I like to sit around on the couch and do nothing. I like to eat what I want. I am very happy with the life I live, and with that I've been able to make peace with JLo's incredible body...she works hard for it and I don't want to work that hard. Here are some questions that may help you if you compare yourself to someone else:
Focusing on What My Body Can Do
Because our society focuses so much on what we look like, many of us put all of our energy into making our bodies look good. As we age however, our youthful looks fade. We can try to preserve youth as much as possible but there will be a time when all that effort becomes futile. It's inevitable. No matter how many crunches I do, my belly just isn't as flat and smooth as it was when I was 28 but, I can hold a plank for nearly 3 minutes and I couldn't do that when I was 28. Focusing on what my body can do in my mid-fifties proves to me that it's not about looks at all. It's about how you feel, and you have control over that. Yoga has taught me that the body is always responding to what you do, or don't do. If you can't touch your toes and you're 55 years old, all you have to do is work on it a little bit each day and within a few months you'll be able to not only touch your toes, but also improve your quality of life. Here are some questions that may help you if you're not happy with your aging body:
Staying in the Present Moment
Right here, right now is all we really have. We don't know what the future will hold and we can't go back to the past. My body is functioning right now to keep me breathing, to keep me healthy, to keep me moving, and to keep me alive. Yoga has also taught me to be okay with whatever is happening in this moment. I don't think about how much thinner I was at 20 or how my body will look like when I'm 70 years-old. All I can do is make choices in this moment that either contribute to a healthy body or an unhealthy body. If I just keep doing that, I don't have much to worry about when it comes to my aging body. I'm doing what I can. Here are some questions that may help you if you're worrying about your golden years:
It has always seemed so strange to me that we all age, and we all die yet no one really talks about the process. Our society just assumes that after the age of 40 or so, you just fade into the background and figure it out on your own. I've never been one to do that, and I'm not about to do it as age either so to that end, I'll be blogging a lot more on the process of aging, and how I'm doing it. If you want to start a discussion on the topic, I'd be down for that.
Join the free community Aging Well with Yoga and a Sense of Humor. This group is for anyone who wants to age well using yoga tools and a sense of humor. Here you'll learn about ancient yogic tools you can use to set yourself up to age well. You'll also laugh your ass off.
Peace, love & yoga,