The Fountain of Youth, Pt. III

October 20, 2011

In Parts I & II, the experience of being young no matter what your chronological age is broken down to two initial fundamentals: attitude and assessment. I made the point early on that you don’t have to be practicing yoga to benefit from including these basic order-inducing concepts and actions that solidify your health and vivacity. The catch is that these are based in yoga philosophy, the underpinning of growth and transformation. Your attitude will propel you through objective assessments to administer proper action and obtain life changing life purpose.

Have you ever heard others say that yoga makes you look 10 to 20 years younger than most people your age? I’ve met many people that practice yoga regularly, attending classes, even teaching classes, and they’ve all pretty much looked exactly their age. Some of them definitely looked good, vibrant, and some even very good for their age, but they looked their age. My point is that just doing yoga isn’t going to bring comprehensive feelings, experiences, and outward results akin to a magical fountain of youth. What will keep you as strong and healthy as you can be without fail are proper nutrition, proper sleep and rest, proper amounts of physical activity, and mental stability. This is yoga, and you never have to roll out a sticky mat and flow through a vinyasa to experience this.

You can research what is proper for you in each of the above categories on your own and I don’t intend to give strict opinions here on what works for me. I can give nondiscriminatory advice, however, that will benefit most people, and this advice can be compared to your current personal assessment to coerce a decision to take action.

Be very specific about what you will and will not eat. Even if you are healthy and fit, attempt to limit or diminish the amount of sugar you allow to enter your body. For most of human existence on earth sugar has been present in very controlled and limited amounts compared to the sugar explosion of the last century in modern civilization. Sugar and sugar-related compounds have spawned, through overuse, many illnesses, and you must show great restraint from what you may have gotten used to. To keep this simple and realistic, don’t worry too much about honey, agave nectar, and naturally occurring sugars in fruits. Exclude all other sugars, which would include “added sugars” in products, sucrose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, processed sugar, evaporated cane juice (a fancy phrase that means sugar), and especially products that have high sugar quantity measured in grams per serving. Sugar is a carbohydrate, and although we need carbohydrates for our bodies to function properly and perform well under stress, also be very aware of how many carbohydrates you consume throughout the day and during each meal. If your daily intake of protein and carbohydrates meets a general proportion weighted more toward proteins, you have a better chance of not ingesting more carbohydrates than your body needs to create energy, thereby avoiding high blood sugar levels and the possibility of storing fat subcutaneously. For a more detailed explanation of typical protein requirements and food sources for obtaining favorable amounts of proteins to proportion your diet, see my January 27, 2011 entry entitled The Argument for Vegetarianism, Part 2.

Drink water instead of sweetened beverages, vigilantly. Don’t sweeten your tea or coffee. If you drink natural juices, water them down 4:1. These simple steps are often the most difficult for people looking for a way to either get healthier, become more athletic, get more energy, and simply lose unwanted weight, size, and body fat. Remember that calories burned should equal calories ingested. Whatever your fitness level, if there is an imbalance between calories burned and calories ingested, your body will immediately begin to change by either thinning out or bulking up. It is up to your choice of nutrition whether that thin or bulk refers to fat or muscle.

Combining discerning yet nourishing nutrition with challenging frequent physical activity will keep your body looking its best. The individuals successfully embracing youthfulness as the attitude that instinctually begins life, while repeating objective assessment to maintain a level of actualization of youth through care of the physical body are the people living the fountain of youth, looking, feeling and acting years and decades younger as they age with the rest of the world. It’s a personal choice for most people, and if you aren’t experiencing it, you may be solely to blame.

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