RYS 200, RYS 300 - Yoga Alliance, USA
To be or not to be is not the question. Will it be fun is!
Walking the path of yoga or choosing any health oriented career path can sometime make you obsessed with health and longevity. But whether we are talking about the benefits of broccoli or of backward bends, we need to stop for a moment and ask ourselves what we are doing and why we are doing it? Because, as Peter F. Drucker said: ”There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all”. A couple of hours ago I came across an article on a website dedicated to the prolonging of human life through different supplements, food and positive lifestyle changes. Apparently scientific studies has revealed a significant increase in life span of castrated men, based on records for eunuchs in Korea, compare to non-castrated men. The difference in life span was as much as nineteen years, which is supposed to have to do with the fact that the male hormone, testosterone, actually shortens life as it among other things fuels aggression.
But the question is: how fun is life as a eunuch or as a castrate? I am not a man, so I guess I am unfit to answer that, but it sounds pretty boring to me... Would it really be worth some extra years? And what would you do with those? Modern medicine often brags about how we are nowadays living longer, but is that really true? Are we living longer or are we merely kept alive longer? More people may reach the age of ninety or even a hundred, but what shape are they in when death mercifully releases them from the prison of a dying physical body? More and more children and youths are developing diabetes, obesity and other diseases related to negative nutrition and lifestyle choices and are on medication from an embarrassingly early age. Can that really be counted as victory and a proof of that mankind is now living longer?
A long life shouldn’t be a goal in itself and the number if years is completely irrelevant. It’s what you fill your days and nights with that matters, not how many they are! Personally, I think we should forget all about living longer and instead focus on living better, according to one’s personal preference. I sometimes get sarcastic comments on my healthy lifestyle, as if people actually think that I care about prolonging life. I definitely don’t! The reason I eat healthy, practice yoga and try to keep a sane mind is not because I want to live forever, but because I want to feel and look good while I am here – may it be for forty years or a hundred! Since I am going through the challenge of being a spirit locked into a physical body, then at least I want that body to serve me well.
I practice asanas to integrate my mind with my body, stretch my muscles and do headstand to keep my hormone system healthy. I eat well because I don’t want to burden my body with processing negative calories, but let the energy saved go to repairing and renewing tissue and keep my DNA healthy. Mind and body, for as long as we are here, are one and inseparable. A healthy body can soothe an upset mind, just as a calm mind can relax a stressed body; they are intimately connected. Nothing should be done with the purpose of living longer but everything should be done with the ambition to live better.
Naturopath & Yoga Teacher