Combat Aging! This is Really Amazing!

Via on Nov 15, 2010

Dharma Mondays is Shy Sayar’s blog on Elephant Journal

Seriously, people? Combat aging? I can’t believe how frequently this absurdism is thrown around. Has no one read Don Quixote? If ever there was more ridiculous and futile a campaign than battling windmills, it must be our modern battle cry to “combat aging”. Just think about it for a second. There, the second is gone, and you’ve aged. F$#k. As my sister-in-law used to say, aging sucks but it sure beats the alternative.

Actually, I thoroughly disagree with that last adage. First of all, I have absolutely no evidence that it beats the alternative. Who knows? Maybe the alternative is way better? (cf. We Are All Going to Die)

Moreover, I don’t know about you, but aging has so far decidedly failed to suck for me. In fact – and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way – every year of my life has been better than the that one it followed. This has been not so much because conditions have improved, or due to increasing good fortune. You see, while (at the tender age of 30) I have surely begun to experience the decline of the physical form – and even of certain mental functions – my steadily increasing joy in life has been a result of learning how to better use my body and mind, every single year. You can buy the most beautiful and incredible new Macbook Pro, but if you don’t know how to use it to its full capacity, you might as well get a used Dell Netbook and save yourself the useless added expense.

Look, I don’t mean to sound snarky, let alone condescending; I understand that when people say “combat aging” they mean doing what we can to slow down the effects of aging on our appearance and faculties. Fair enough. But if it is true that the main cause of our weakening and falling prey more easily to disease is stress, combating anything sounds like the worst possible idea. Have you ever heard anyone say: “ah, the most relaxed I ever get is during combat”? It seems to me that a much more effective and intelligent way to go about it is to devote ourselves to studying our physical and mental resources and how to best use them. For that purpose, yoga beats L’oreal and Atkins any day.

So I say let go of the cosmetics, the smoke and mirrors, the amazing new products and the fad diets. Stop counting calories, proteins, carbs and what-have-you. Eat all-natural food that you enjoy until full but not stuffed. Give your body a few hours to digest after a meal without snacking. Move your spine and joints in all directions and as much as possible without strain every day. Study your body and mind. Enjoy life, love your body and wish well unto all beings. Die peacefully without regrets. Repeat.

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About Shy Sayar

Yoga Therapist Shy Sayar teaches classical Hatha yoga, underwritten by yoga's ancient scripture as well as by contemporary science. Shy believes in teaching people, not poses - as the practices of yoga are infinitely adaptable to fit the stages of a practitioner's development, and there is no need to push the body into arbitrary shapes. In his teaching, Shy tries to refrain from overstating esoterics, but his methods of training the body aim to recall classical yoga's stated end of freeing the practitioner from the illusion of identification with anything that was born and will die - the experience of immortality and unity with all of being. As such, he emphasizes the ease of the breath, the serenity of the musculature at work, and the peace of the mind over the postures of the body. At his Yoga One studios in Petaluma and Santa Rosa, CA, Shy teaches classes, trains yoga teachers and sees Yoga Therapy patients. He also teaches literature courses at the University of California at Berkeley, including coursework on the classical literature of India. He holds a degree in music and will at times chant for students in savasana. Shy is revered and admired by two wonderful (albeit unreasonable) cats. He loves practicing yoga on his living room carpet while his cats jump on his back to provide added resistance. He also delights in writing bios in the third person. Lastly, he prides himself on being nobody's guru.


6 Responses to “Combat Aging! This is Really Amazing!”

  1. cbhananda says:

    I really like this but especially enjoyed the enthusiastic, anti-aging product mirroring title.

  2. Great blog, Shy. Enjoyed it very much.

    Also enjoyed reading about your approach to Yoga on your website. I was struck by how similar the Mahayana part is to this week's Gita in a Nutshell #1: Live and Act with Love and Purpose.

    Glad to hear we're going to get more of you every Monday.

    Bob W.

  3. Lynn Hasselberger Lynn Hasselberger says:

    Great post! Combat gear OFF.

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  5. Maria Bowman says:

    Hey Shy–
    I was looking on your website to see if you had any new retreats or workshops on the calendar, and realized I had missed one of your blog posts. Glad I came back to read it. Hope to see you soon!

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