Who amongst does not want a long and healthy life? A life that’s rich and fulfilling. Days spent pursuing our passions.
According to some researchers this pursuit of our passion is one of the secrets to achieving a life of longevity.
Research into longevity amongst the different nations shows that the Okinawan people of Japan have the greatest percentage per capita of people over 100 years of age in the world. They attribute this not only to the traditional diet of seafood, vegetables and tofu, genetics and great social integration, but also to their attitude to life. The all-important attitude which is nurtured amongst these people is locally known as ‘Ikigai’ which roughly translates to ‘reason for getting up in the morning’. It is their passion for living that drives them into a healthy old age. Indeed, when mingling with the Okinawan people it is discovered that even the most elderly have clear roles of responsibility and a feeling of purpose.
So what does yoga have to do with this?
The traditional yoga diet (mainly plant based) provides the nutrition to carry us through. Yoga asanas keep the body healthy, flexible and strong and Yoga breathing keeps the mind calm. All necessary ingredients for healthy aging. Yoga helps to keep us in optimal health. But what about ‘ikigai’ – where does that fit in?
Here we look to the yoga wisdom which is so wonderfully rich in knowledge of the self and of our relationships with the world, with others and with the Supreme. From this wisdom we learn what IS the reason for living. We are given tools to embody this reason for living into our lives, and we are encouraged in the pursuit of our ‘ikigai’ by the saintly persons who so kindly help us to stoke the fire of our enthusiasm for a meaningful life. And although impossible to capture this wisdom in a few words it may be encapsulated as a journey within to find the deep and lasting happiness that is available to all, and if possible to share it with others.
The difference that yoga makes in leading us into our later years is in the quality of satisfaction, shelter and happiness that it brings.
Yoga wisdom is what ASMY specializes in. It is our passion, our ikigai and we‘d love to share it with you also.
By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training