Moving Toward Graceful Age

Yoga, meditation, and other spiritual practices can't turn back the clock, but they can help us embrace who we are. As you puzzle through the questions and adjustments that arise with age, let these suggestions fortify your journey.
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Yoga, meditation, and other spiritual practices can't turn back the clock, but they can help us embrace who we are. As you puzzle through the questions and adjustments that arise with age, let these suggestions fortify your journey.
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Practice Sight

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Study your features in the mirror—all the lines and creases, your mouth and nose, your cheeks and eyes. Then close your eyes and "look" at the inner person who did the looking. "Growing toward maturity means deepening the sense of who you are," says Linda Mainquist, director of Student Support Services at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. By doing this exercise you are creating a relationship not with what you look like but with who you are.

Become a Warrior

Stand in Warrior Pose I, II, or III, suggests yoga instructor Patricia Walden, "It's hard to feel like a victim of age when you're in these poses. They say, ‘I am powerful. I have a wonderful future.' Your mind is affected by the shape you put your body in."

Release

You tend to hold in the fears you feel about aging, particularly in the chest and hips, says Julia Hough, 54, a therapeutic yoga instructor at Devotion Yoga in Hoboken, New Jersey. Doing a pose like a restorative Bound Angle can help release those fears physically, she says, which in turn can relieve emotional fears.

Relax

As you practice Savasana, or Corpse Pose, observe how you feel about aging and at the same time try to separate yourself from those feelings, counsels physical therapist Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., the author of 30 Essential Yoga Poses: For Beginning Students and Their Teachers. You don't have to confuse the feelings you have about growing older with your essential Self. During Corpse Pose, think, "I am not my thoughts any more than the clouds are the sky".

Dorothy Foltz-Gray is a freelance writer in Knoxville, Tennessee.