Again the idea for this week’s Blog came from a friend who asked me whether I thought she was too old to train to be a Yoga teacher. My reply was “absolutely not”. I have attended many a yoga class where the instructor was well into their 80s and they were so much more flexible than me.
Indeed, there are many yoga teachers out there in their 90s. Tao Porchon-Lynch is one of these teachers, she is 95 years young and not only a yoga teacher but competes in ballroom dancing and is regularly placed first, she is also a wine connoisseur and a peace activist. In an interview on You Tube she said “nothing is impossible”. Her advice is “don’t procrastinate”. Good advice. Every morning when she wakes she thinks about the birds, nature and how beautiful everything is. Nature is her encyclopaedia of life and there is no room for negativity. What a wonderful way to start the day, not to think about any negative thoughts and to focus on the beauty around us. In fact, I would go one step further and say we should start and finish everyday with happy thoughts. I know I do.
I think of my own grandmother who is featured in the photo and is also the same age as Tao Porchon-Lynch. She was born 5 days before the end of the First World War. She is fortunate enough to still live in her own home, she does her own cooking, cleaning and shopping and until a few years ago grew her own vegetables. Every week she has her hair done, she still takes pride in her appearance. She exercises daily and has done since I can remember. She tells me that this keeps her mobile and helps to stop her muscles from ceasing up. Our bodies in our 90s do not produce new cells so it is very important to keep the current ones healthy.
My grandmother has never driven and as well as walking, she cycled until her late 70s. I believe all these things have helped contribute to her longevity and her zest for life. She takes an active interest in what’s going on in the world and is always happy and smiling, never once complaining. She still has an amazing enthusiasm for life and remains energetic.
At my recent birthday party, she danced for most of the night, despite having had a growth cut out of her forehead a few weeks previously. Nothing was going to stop her and she even out danced most of the younger guests.
Another friend’s grandmother was recently described “as a fighter” following a bad fall.
So what is it that gives these ladies their energy, enthusiasm, true grit and fighting spirit? When I stop to think about what they have been through, it becomes a little bit clearer.
Their husbands were sent off to fight in World War Two, invariably leaving them home with young children. When the bombings started, some children were evacuated to the countryside, Wales or Ireland. My father and auntie were shipped off to Ireland. Imagine, not only having to say goodbye to your husband not knowing if or when you would see him again but then having to wave your children off, and in some cases, handing them over to complete strangers. Our grandmothers then went out to work for the war effort, usually working in factories, munitions plants, farms and some also drove trucks. They just got on with it and never once complained.
The only means of communication was the good old-fashioned letter which when received was usually out of date. There was no TV to broadcast 24 hours news, mobile phones, or Skype.
When I think about what they went through, it is hardly surprising that they have such a true sense of spirit and I know this is what has made these women determined, strong and an inspiration. Hopefully we will never have to go through what they did but we can show our gratitude to them by loving and enjoying life and never giving up when things get a little bit tough.
I think we can learn a lot from this older generation. And next time someone says they are too old to do something, remind them that age is just a number because you’re never too old. Learning new interests, being creative or active help contribute to a healthy mind and body.
Laugh, Smile & Be Happy – All of your Life.