Combat Aging! This is Really Amazing!

Via Shy Sayar
on Nov 15, 2010
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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.


About Shy Sayar

Shy Sayar is a teacher and therapist with over 5000 hours of experience bringing yoga to students of all levels, treating patients, and training yoga teachers around the globe. Shy believes in Teaching People – Not Poses, since the practices of yoga are infinitely adaptable to fit the practitioner’s stages of development, and there is no need to push the body into arbitrary shapes. Instead, his Tantravaya yoga method integrates the classical Eight Limbs of Yoga, equally cultivating the body, breath and mind to bring each practitioner to optimal, holistic health. While the ultimate aim of yoga is to reveal the interconnectedness of all beings as the expression of one eternal life, Shy’s teaching refrains from overstating esoterics and focuses instead on bringing about this awakened consciousness by emphasizing the ease of the breath, the integrity of the musculature at work, and the serenity of the mind. Shy is the founder and owner of Yoga One Studios in Northern California. He has offered coursework on education and pedagogy, as well as yoga philosophy and classical Indian literature at the University of California, Berkeley. In his yoga teaching, Shy integrates his experience in higher education with skillful attention to different learning styles, making even the most complex teachings approachable to every student. His unique Tantravaya Yoga Therapy method has shown remarkable results in posture correction, pain relief and improved balance, as well as healing emotional trauma and addressing the roots of psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. Himself an avid athlete, Shy works with both elite and amateur athletes – including equestrians, runners, climbers, et al. – in order to maximize performance while preventing injury, as well as expediting recovery from injury. He is internationally recognized for offering the highest quality Yoga Teacher Trainings around the world, with exceptional emphasis on the sciences of anatomy and physiology, classical and contemporary theory and philosophy, and the most extensive practical training. He also specializes in teaching anatomy, physiology, diagnostics and therapeutics in teacher training programs worldwide.


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 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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