How Fast Are You Aging?

Do you remember the first time you realized your body was “aging”?

Maybe it started in your thirties with a few more aches and pains in the morning. A tendency to get tired earlier in the day. The first signs of wrinkles around your eyes. A memory not quite as sharp as it used to be.

As the years have progressed, those little twinges have probably gotten more frequent. And if you’re like most people, you brushed it off as a “normal” part of the aging process… just something that happens when we get older.

The thing is, you don’t have to give in to the frailty, disease, and memory issues associated with aging. These symptoms are not “inevitable.” They are signals that your body needs something.

When it comes to aging, we’ve been fed a load of unsubstantiated assumptions our entire lives. But emerging research from top experts suggests that we can have all the advantages of youth, well into our later years.

That means a lean, strong, flexible body….supple, smooth skin….. a brain that is sharp… energy to last all day… and an immune system that provides powerful protection against illness.

We are a body-oriented culture. We judge ourselves by our appearance and our body’s ability to perform. When our bodies change—as they inevitably do—our self-worth goes with them, for better or for worse.

In Siddhartha, a novel about enlightenment and self-discovery the prince, Siddhartha, ventured out of his palace for the first time, he was shaken by his first glimpses of a person bent with age, a person wracked with illness and the body of a person who had died. Seeing the inevitable path of all our bodies to our final demise caused him to inquire into how he might transcend the suffering he had witnessed. This led him to realize that in order to transcend suffering, he had to transcend his attachment to and identification with the body. He had to look deeper, beyond the pleasures and suffering of the body, for lasting happiness.

This is what our yoga practice teaches us. Any person in a body who is practicing Yoga is living in a yoga body, regardless of age, build, gender or flexibility. And the deeper practices at the heart of Yoga—meditation—require a body simply as an anchor for awareness. 

I think most people when coming upon my age may scour, but I’m truly looking forward to the unfolding lessons, increasing self awareness and growing self love that comes with aging. I’m reminded that this is the start of a brand new year- and that there are still infinite opportunities for growth along my journey. Within every moment lies a miracle. And within every burden lies a blessing. 

Namaste~

Impermanence: In loving Remembrance of Buddha & Lily

My beloved big, beautiful Buddha Boy and his lovely, little sister Lily passed away within 10 days of each other just shy of their eighth birthday. Buddha and Lily were special “dogi’s” who raised thousands of dollars for No Kill Animal Shelters. I adopted both of them when they were four months old. I taught them a variety of yoga poses in Sanskrit and put their talent to good use teaching Doga Yoga at a variety of Charity Events.

Buddha passed away from a degenerative disc disease in his spine. When he was diagnosed, the vet gave him three months to live. He lived for another 16 moDoga Yoga Groupnths and I attribute it to his yoga practice, a great holistic team of acupuncturists, chiropractors and a raw food diet. Although his body deteriorated his love and spirit never declined.

Our lovely Lily girl died gently in our arms at home on the couch. Her lung cancer prevented her from eating much yet she detached from the experience of any discomfort in her body and just wanted to stay by my side comforting me.

When we buried Buddha and Lily, My “kids” who are 18 and 21 now, were having a difficult time, so I shared the Buddhist teaching about impermanence.
Don’t cling to things because everything is impermanent. Experience your emotions fully, let the emotions penetrate you – let it penetrate you all the way through you. If you don’t allow yourself to express fully the emotion – let it go all the way through you – then you can never get to the point of becoming detached from it.
You’re too busy being afraid of the emotion coming back. If you experience the pain, grief, love or whatever emotion fully, then you know what it is and can move on from it.
And only then can you say, okay I’ve experienced that emotion, I recognize that emotion, now I need to detach from that emotion.

As a family, we experienced the grief of Buddha and Lily’s passing. We cried and let the emotion penetrate us deeply. From that penetration of the emotion, we begin the practice of detaching from the experience.

“We have to nourish our insight into impermanence every day. If we do, we will live more deeply, suffer less, and enjoy life much more. Living deeply, we will touch the foundation of reality, nirvana, the world of no-birth and no-death. Touching impermanence deeply, we touch the world beyond permanence and impermanence. We touch the ground of being and see that which we have called being and non-bBu & Lil Beach Quoteeing are just notions. Nothing is ever lost. Nothing is ever gained.” [The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching (Parallax Press 1998), p. 124]
Thich Nhat Hanh

Is Yoga A Religion?

Is Yoga A Religion?


Every so often, I will be at a social event and someone will introduce me to his or her friends as their yoga teacher and the friend will ask, “So do you study Hinduism or Buddhism?” There is an assumption that because of the use of Sanskrit words, chanting, or the study of ancient yogic texts such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra that yoga has a religious affiliation.

According to T.K.V. Desikachar, a prominent yogi credited with being a driving force behind the resurgence of Hatha yoga in recent decades, “Yoga is not a religion and should not affiliate with any religion”. Yoga has no religious obligations, no singular creed and it has no rituals that profess a faith such as baptism or confirmation.

So, if yoga is not a “religion” is it a hobby, a sport, an exercise routine, or a discipline such as the study of medicine or martial arts? In some ways, yoga represents all these things and more.

Many students come initially to yoga for the many health benefits. Eventually with regular practice, many find the meditative effects on the mind and emotions can become a spiritual experience.

So then, what is spirituality?

Some equate spirituality with praying, meditating or even reading enlightening literature. In its basic form, it’s your level of consciousness. It’s the way you get in synch with yourself, connecting with who you are on a deeper level. It’s the connection to our inner self. If religion could be referred to as the external frame or organizational structure for it’s congregations, then spirituality would be the internal connection and understanding of one’s self and their place in the universe.

Yoga puts us in touch with this inner self, no matter our outer beliefs.