November 8, 2017

The people of Okinawa, Japan don’t live Longer & Happier by Accident.

In places like Loma Linda, California, Costa Rica, the islands of Okinawa, Sardinia, and Greece’s Ikaria, people are living healthier, happier, and longer than anywhere else in the world.

These locations are called “Blue Zones.”

Dan Buettner, Blue Zone expert, and his team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists studied these diverse cultures and came up with the Power 9® Principles—the collective lifestyle characteristics employed by centenarian cultures.

When we compare the lifestyles of centenarians with ancient Ayurvedic lifestyle practices, we find some strong similarities:

1. Blue Zone practice: Move naturally! None of the people living in Blue Zones belong to gyms, compete in triathlons, or work out, but they all move naturally throughout the day.

Ayurveda: Ayurveda suggests exercising to only 50 percent of your capacity. Nose breathing exercise and yoga, as written in my book, Body, Mind and Sport, are two strategies to infuse modern workouts with ancient longevity wisdom.

2. Blue Zone practice: Purpose! Centenarians live for something more than just surviving or making money. There is a more profound purpose that gives deeper meaning and joy to their lives.

Ayurveda: The Law of Dharma is the law of purpose. Finding one’s dharma or one’s purpose in life is given major emphasis in an Ayurvedic lifestyle.

3. Blue Zone practice: Downshift! Blue Zone people do not work 60 or 80-hour work weeks, eat in their cars or front of their computers, and go, go, go. They take time each day to socialize, pray, nap, and relax.

Ayurveda: Yoga, breathing, meditation, and prayer are the numerous ways an Ayurvedic lifestyle embraces the need to downshift, chill, smell the roses and be present.

4. Blue Zone practice: The 80 percent rule, which is still practiced by the Okinawans, is to eat until you are only 80 percent full. Blue Zoners tend to eat their main meal at midday and finish eating for the day in the late afternoon or early evening.

Ayurveda: An Ayurvedic lifestyle suggests eating only until your stomach is three-quarters full. Eating is done only in a relaxed environment (never on the run), and the biggest meal is at midday with early and small suppers—all Blue Zone practices!

5. Blue Zone practice: Those living in the Blue Zone follow a plant-slanting diet. They eat a predominately plant-based, non-processed food diet with very little meat. Most eat small amounts of meat—just five times a month. The American centenarians in Loma Linda, California are vegetarians as part of their Seventh Day Adventist religious beliefs.

Ayurveda: Ayurveda also suggests a plant-based diet, and has done for thousands of years. Meat in Ayurveda is a medicine and is used only as such.

6. Blue Zone practice: Wine at five. One way many Blue Zone people downshift is by having a small glass of wine around 5:00 p.m. This helps relax and unwind and, of course, de-stress. Generally, the Adventists in Loma Linda avoid alcohol.

Ayurveda: Alcohol is considered dulling for the mind in Ayurveda, so the wine at 5:00 p.m. ritual is replaced with relaxation techniques like yoga, breathing, or meditation. Bottom-line: we need to turn down the stress volume on a daily basis.

7. Blue Zone: These people find their “right tribe”—a group of friends that we hang and socialize with who are like-minded and support and practice healthy habits.

Ayurveda: This is called sattva in Ayurveda. An Ayurvedic lifestyle includes immersing yourself in a sattvic environment, with people who are healthy, kind, and willing to be loving as opposed to needing to be loved.

8. Blue Zone: Most Blue Zoners belong to a faith-based community. Domination doesn’t apply. As tribal people, we thrive and feel safe in communities of like-minded people.

Ayurveda: While Ayurveda is not a religion by any means, it comes from India, where worship is a natural part of daily life. Regularly loving a “God” helps all of us love more freely, be compassionate, and giving to others.

9. Blue Zone: Loved ones come first. Centenarians live with their extended families. There are no old folks homes. The elderly are revered for their wisdom and are looked up to in society.

Ayurveda: When a couple is married in India, the wife moves into the home with the parents of the groom. From there, grandparents and great grandparents are respected, as they are the kings and queens of the castle.

Blue Zone research has confirmed that there are strategies and lifestyle practices that have been in place for thousands of years. Those that we still see intact in the Blue Zones are positive proof that this ancient wisdom can deliver more fruit than just years to anyone willing to try.

The Blue Zone study is one that we should all be familiar with. It’s not just about living long. It is more about living happily, in peace, and “living the dream”—not the American dream to be rich by 40, but to fully enjoy and be grateful for such a precious life.

Watch my podcast with Blue Zone expert, Dan Buettner, where we dive deep into the most effective take-home strategies derived from the ancient wisdom of Blue Zone inhabitants.


Author: Dr. John Douillard
Image: WikimediaNicholas Wang/Flickr 
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Linda Lewis Nov 10, 2017 1:42pm

I don't think it is necessary to brand these sane lifestyles as "Blue Zone". It's just kind and sane living, kindness toward self and others--including all sentient beings. Thus it's not necessary or kind to eat them!

Ceci Trigos Nov 9, 2017 3:57pm

Luv these tips based on research and how you tied them into Ayurvedic lifestyle! :)

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Dr. John Douillard

Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP is a globally recognized leader in the fields of natural health, Ayurveda, and sports medicine. He is the creator of LifeSpa.com, the leading Ayurvedic health and wellness resource on the web with over 7 million views on YouTube. LifeSpa is evolving the way Ayurveda is understood around the world with over 1,000 articles and videos proving ancient wisdom backed by modern science. Dr. John is the former Director of Player Development and nutrition advisor for the New Jersey Nets NBA team, author of seven health books, including Perfect Health for Kids, a repeat guest on the Dr. Oz show, and featured in USA Today, LA Times, and dozens of other national publications. He has been in practice for over 30 years and has seen over 100,000 patients.

Subscribe to Dr. John’s video-newsletter! As a subscriber, you’ll get special discounts on products, you’ll be the first to know about free podcasts and online trainings with Dr. John, and you’ll receive his cutting-edge articles proving ancient Ayurvedic wisdom with modern science! Sign up for free!