I remember my Grandfather as a big Grandpa. Everyone else had these little old men dressed in jogging suits and my Grandpa was big. He was tall, like 6 foot 2 tall and farmer strong. His shiny white hair was my hint that this tall man was a real live grandpa. Now he sit in his chair, so fragile and his eyes scream confusion and frustration as he looks at me unknowingly, "who is this young girl? why is she in my room?" I'm sure that this is what he's thinking before he gives up on trying to figure it out and falls back asleep. I think that he is escaping, I think his Alzheimer's has him at a point where he knows he is confused and he knows he is weak and he is frustrated...so he sleeps, it is his way of avoiding the stress of being awake.
Seeing my Grandpa was hard this weekend. It broke my heart to see him so sick and started me thinking about my own life and the way in which I live it now.
Bikram taught us that stress is one of the number one killers in life, and I think that most of us spend our lives escaping and suppressing the anxiety producing stress which in the end creates sickness. I think as a yoga teacher and future health coach, it is my responsibility to help people find healthy pathways in their lives to create healthy and happy lives for themselves. So what are somethings that we can do to be healthy and happy??? Good question.
1. Acceptance. This is one thing I struggled with for a long time, and really still do. For so many of us, we expect our bodies to look and feel a different way, but the truth of the matter is, our bodies, just like our fingerprints have a specificality to them. No two bodies are the same and no two bodies are supposed to look the same. A healthy body does not always mean you are the tallest, leanest, perfect hair, perfect breasted, tightest assed woman in the room. A healthy body is one that you take care of, one that can take walks, give hugs, pick up puppies and groceries, one that can love others, make babies, go to work and come home at the end of the day and cook dinner. A healthy body is one that can run, jump, bike, do yoga and DANCE! One that can celebrate the accomplishments of it's self and it's loved ones, a healthy body FEELS GOOD! So I think the first thing we have to do to be and stay healthy is accept our selves for who we are.
2. Appreciation. With acceptance comes appreciation. Once I was asked what I liked about my self, and truthfully I couldn't answer, so I was asked to appreciate my self. Appreciate my legs because I can walk, run, jump, stand on one leg and touch my fore head to my knee. So the bottom line here, is sometimes if it is hard to love everything about yourself, appreciate all that your body does for you. With appreciation comes respect, and if you respect your body you will most likely treat it more kindly.
3. Food. This is a tough one. So after seeing my grandfather, I was able to spend time with my God mother. I was so blessed to wake up early and find her lying on the couch with a book. We spent some time talking before the rest of the house woke up, both of us have struggled with food for a good portion of our lives. Different issues but the same none the less. Whether it was over eating or under eating, food, diet and weight control became a form of escape. Leading us to question what it really means to have a healthy diet. For me, I think diet is a very personal thing, and an impossible thing to just master without getting to know yourself first. How do you know what you should put into your body, if you haven't taken the time to figure out what your body needs? I do know a few things. I know that to go on a diet is not the answer. To establish a healthy eating life style just might be though. Figure out the things you love to eat, figure out the things that are good for you that you love to eat, eat from the earth, the natural stuff is so much tastier than all the other junk, you just have to give it a chance, and know that there is always more tomorrow, so if the Rita's water ice tasted so good you need more, go for it...TOMORROW, don't over do it tonight. I think learning about food and nutrition is important, and fun. So experiment, learn something new and then make it for dinner, and be forgiving and allowing with your self. There is no shame in loving food, it's a necessity in life, why not enjoy it!
4. Movement. The 89 year old man who sat at my table the other day, who ordered a full tea with a peach scone told me the key to looking "this good at 89" "A body in motion will stay in motion" So whether it is running, biking, dancing, YOGAING, walking, weight lifting, playing soccer just get out there and MOVE!!!!! Keep moving and don't give in to being too tired, no energy, too busy. Just find some time to keep you body moving. And of course.... a yoga plug. Bikram yoga exercises every system, organ, muscle in your body it will heal your body mind and soul, so do more yoga! And if your a runner, biker, soccer player, basketball player, weight lifter know that these activities are hard on your joints, so enjoy them into old age, but be sure to take a yoga class here and there to protect and heal your self.
5. Positivity. And finally, this week when I thought about all the things I can do to ensure that I'm living both healthfully and happily was to see the good. Yes, there is a lot of stuff out there that sucks. Whole foods sold out, the unemployment rate is still so high, the republicans and the democrats hate each other, and your room mate didn't do the dishes again! But we can not be consumed by it. Awareness is important, but also knowing that what you do is making a positive impact on the world is important to. So rather than focusing on the bad, why not focus on all of the good things you can do and see in other people. I think in the end we will find if more people make a positive change in themselves, we will see that the rest of the world, probably isn't so bad!
So I come back to my Grandfather, sitting in his chair with his sweet nurse by his side. He lived a full life with a beautiful wife and five successful daughters. He has eight grand children, who are busy figuring it out, he has seen China, Russia, Israel, and can dock a boat and cook a steak. My Grandfather can't remember any of it any more. He sits in his chair sorting his mail and it brakes my heart as well as puts a little bit of fear in me. When I am 86, I want to be at my granddaughter's wedding and I want to see my second oldest daughter achieve her dream of getting her PhD at 61, so with this in mind I want to spend my days today being healthy, being happy and helping others do the same.