The month of July is my birthday month.
This year I turned 44 and although I can't say I am particularly scared of the number or any number that will come in the years to be, I find myself much more anxious of the occurring and the upcoming changes. I don't know much about aging gracefully or noticing changes without feeling at least a little bit out of control but I do know that my experience will be similar to thousands of women before me and thousands after.
We all age, and it can be quite the nerve-racking experience when you wake up one morning after going to sleep too late and notice dark circles under your eyes the size of Minnesota and realize your body just isn't what it was 10 years ago. It's the dismay you feel at noticing cellulite, hanging skin or muscles loss when you cant bring your self to go to the gym. It's the fact that your neck will give you away long before your face does.
Aging has been especially hard for me to accept. Keep in mind that most of my life I've done professional martial arts, trained daily and overall had enough power and energy in me to take down a bull. But with my recent injury, a torn ligament in my shoulder, I can barely lift much less train my right arm. It is, in fact, a common injury for those who use their shoulder ligaments and overall arms in their work. I was forced to come to the realization that no matter how much I loved martial arts and would go to practices for as long as my legs could carry me, my glorious days of competing were behind me.
At the end of the day, I don't think it's the age that scares most women but the modifications that will come with it. All of us just want to feel our best, we want to feel healthy, we want to feel confident, we want to feel sexy and most of all we want to feel like ourselves. Sometimes, the quiet and stealthy changes can take that away from us. And if we could feel all those things at 30 as well as 60? Well, there wouldn't be a problem. To some extent, there is a way to do just that.
I'm not saying I found the cure to aging, in fact, it appears there isn't one, as lord knows we would have found it by now.
But with aging comes a heap of changes to our body that when targeted by certain exercises can slow down. For example, the boat pose and its variations target the abs area, which can hang out more, as you get older due to slower metabolism and the changes in hormone level.
So what I did was compile a practice of poses that I know will target the right areas so we can tone and shape them like as mentioned before with the abs area as well as the buttocks and thighs area, the triceps. I put a special focus on the back for a number of reasons, the first and foremost being the fact that the more flexible your spine is the younger you look and feel. It's the honest truth. And for us women who have given birth, often to more than one life, back problems can be the norm. With age, we notice that our back starts to hurt more and the pain and discomfort is anything but pleasant.
For those reasons, many of my practices focus on my back, in order to strengthen and lengthen the spine, as I truly feel better afterward. Sometimes with backaches, come headaches or rather migraines. I find that simple neck exercises help in those situations. Sit in the lotus position and simply bend your head forward, backward, to the side then make slow and deliberate circles around.
The movements allow for better blood and oxygen circulation to the face, which positively affects the color of the face, heightens the collagen levels and increases the elasticity of the skin. In my humble opinion, it is not the number of wrinkles on our skin, or how tired we get past eight in the evening, or even how our stomach hangs one minute after eating in a tight fitting dress, that determine how young or old we feel.
We can and will feel young at any age.
All we have to do is listen, listen to our body when it tells us what it needs, listen to our mind when it challenges us, and listen to our spirit when it empowers us. We must find the time to work on our selves even if it seems like we are just too busy to. Because working on making our selves feel healthy, loved and beautiful is never a waste of time but is an obligation that should be practiced daily.