Swami Kriyananda said that even at age 20, some people have already become what his guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, called “psychological antiques.” Here are suggestions by four women from Ananda Village about how they stay physically and mentally youthful.
Staying youthful is an attitude for me. I never think of age, I think of staying positive in my thoughts. For me, this means staying present to the beauty of the moment, feeling gratitude for God’s presence in all creation and to always to continue challenging myself, mentally, physically and spiritually.
Now as I’ve passed 50, my meditation practice has added so much more depth and satisfaction to maintaining my health and energy. When I was actually a youth, starting off in practicing meditation, I had a lot of physical energy and it took more effort to be inwardly relaxed and calm. Now, physical exercise is an expression of gratitude, union with God’s presence in nature, a strong will, and fun.
I don’t identify with age, I identify with the state of my consciousness that has expanded from practicing meditation and a joyful attitude. For me, exercise plays a big part in my lifestyle, however feeling youthful, that is, fresh each day in my outlook, is simply an attitude. Exercise is important to health, but a positive attitude is everything.
I very much believe our thoughts shapewho we are. They can even shape what we look like. Consciously doing something for someone every day keeps any doldrums away.
What do I do to make aging a graceful art? My number one thought is devotion to God. The only way I can stay in touch with this is with regular meditation and service to others. I think the biggest aging factors are continual stress and mental resistance. I combat this by finding something creative that brings joy and takes my mind off of myself and life’s responsibilities.
Consciously taking quiet time out of each day has also contributed to my overall well being. It’s in times of quiet and solitude that God’s joy can be felt bubbling up inside. That joy then spills over to be shared with all those around. Lastly, regularly feeling and giving gratitude for the blessings God has given. Nothing else can exist where gratitude lives.
I don’t feel old or young. I am glad for my past experiences and looking forward to the adventures to come.”
My body is the garden of my soul. My goal is to use it to live my dharma and to know that I am an ageless child of God.
There are many healthy lifestyle choices that can help one age gracefully. The one I have practiced consistently for over forty years is Hatha yoga. In the last 25 years I have also included the Energization Exercises developed by Paramhansa Yogananda, and meditation.
On the physical plane, energization and yoga postures have helped me maintain muscle mass, flexibility, balance, and bone strength. Ananda yoga in particular, with its emphasis on life force and spiritual awareness, continues to provide a means to experiencing equanimity, expansiveness and attunement with God. The positive affirmations practiced with each posture provide a means to cultivating a positive attitude.”
I try not to over stimulate my senses by living a simple and balanced life.
I enjoy eating a healthy vegetarian diet: grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits. Most of the time, I cook at home with my husband. We avoid frozen or canned foods, caffeine, and sugar. This helps keep me even-minded, for I’ve found that what I eat affects how I feel. We enjoy eating fresh foods every day, and sitting for meals together. I also use daily Ayurvedic guidelines for my body type to keep me well.
I exercise and walk often instead of driving. I also enjoy being in silence and listening to nature. Every day I practice Energization Exercises, yoga postures, and meditation. During the day, I pray, use affirmations and visualizations to uplift my spirit, and during my free time read spiritual books and listen to spiritual music.”