According to Ayurveda our life is divided into four stages. From about birth to twenty five years we are in a kapha stage of life. At this stage of life children and young adults display many kapha qualities. They need a lot of sleep, they have an ability to learn easily and retain a lot of information, they enjoy life and are loyal companions, and they generally enjoy life. This time of life is also typically dominated by standard kapha diseases of excess mucous such as the common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, sore throats and earaches.
The second stage of life is from twenty-five to fifty years of age and this is the time that we build our careers and raise our families. Our responsibilities at this age is to create financial stability for our families, in sanskrit that is called artha. At this stage of life, pitta dominates and so the qualities of independence ambition, confidence and sociability are the norm at this stage of life. Common illnesses at this stage of life come from excess fire such as heartburn, ulcers, stomach acid, hemorrhoids and hypertension.
From fifty to seventy-five years of age, we come into our third stage of life when we make the transition from pitta to vata. At this time we move out of the cities to smaller communities for retirement so that we are still available to our families for help and advice as needed. At this stage we honour our truth and our need for wealth subsides. ‘
The final stage of life is from seventy five to 100 years. This stage of life is strongly dominated by the vata constitution. In this stage of life it is not uncommon for our bodies to be dehydrated, have dry skin, brittle bones, poor digestion and all kinds of aches and pains, not to mention vata characteristics such as forgetfulness and fear. At this stage of life it is natural to be preparing for death and the next life, actually being liberated from the cycle of birth and death altogether, known as moksha in sanskrit.
In our culture, aging is feared, and there is a whole commercial industry that creates and feeds depends on those fears. The total global market for antiaging products and services was valued at $249.3 billion in 2012. This was expected to increase to nearly $261.9 billion by the end of 2013 and $345.8 billion in 2018, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7% between 2013 and 2018. The anti-aging market is categorized distinctively into boomers (the population born between 1946 and 1965) and the youth antiaging market. These markets differ in terms of products and service offerings, market structure, and positioning. The report was focused on the boomer antiaging market, which is a more mature market and controls 75% of the total anti-aging market. And just who is selling? The anti-aging market is made up of: drug and supplement companies, cosmetic companies, pharmaceutical (pharma) and health care, biotech companies, med-spa companies, physical fitness companies, and nutrition companies. This includes manufacturers, retailers and super retailers, technology providers, and research and development (R&D) companies. That is a lot of pockets to line. Source:
These companies want you to wish everything was different about your body, mind, emotions and spirit so that you continue to mentally torture yourself with suffering and keep buying. The physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual practice of yoga offers a different way. When you accept this moment just as it is, your body, your breath, your thoughts, your emotions, your energy, your spirit, you free up an incredible amount of energy that was directed to resistance. That resistance takes it toll on your body, your breath, your thoughts, your emotions, your energy and your spirit. There is tremendous freedom in letting go. Swami Kripaluananada says “Every time you judge yourself you break your own heart.”
Thich Nhat Hanh says, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to be accepted by yourself.” The anti-aging industry will never offer you acceptance, only more problems to be solved. Kiss your life. Accept it. Just as it is. Today. Now. So that the moments of happiness you are striving for, don’t pass you by. On Facebook this morning Marsha said, “Aging is a glorious celebration of life.” I couldn’t agree more.
Today we will focus on a vatta pacifying practice for beautiful aging bodies.
Yoga Props: Blanket, Wall, Chair, Strap
Yoga Postures/Asanas: Bridge Pose/Sethubandasana, Sleeping Pigeon, Cat/Marjaryasana, Thread the Needle, Downward facing dog to child’s pose/Adho Mukha Svanasana to Balasana, Goddess Victory Squat/Utkata Konasana, Warrior Two to Side Angle Pose/Vīrabhadrāsana, Locust/Salabhasna, janu sirsasana/head beyond knee pose, Legs up the Wall/Viparītakaraṇi