The world’s oldest man just passed away in Japan at the age of 113. When asked about his longevity at the age of 112 he said one reason was he ate sweets but his daughter said one reason was he led a stress free life.
One of my esteemed teachers told us that we could have the best diet, the best food, cooked by the best cooks and see the best Ayurvedic Practitioners but if we were leading a stressful lifestyle and always irrigating our organs with cortisol then we would not be able to digest that food. Adrenaline and cortisol are there to get us out of dangers and send resources to our extremities (large muscles) to do this and cortisol hangs around for a day or two to make sure the danger is gone. When we are constantly sending cortisol through our blood stream every time the phone rings or someone cuts us off in traffic then cortisol is not available to do its internal work of also keeping pathogens away, leaving our organs often to fend for themselves.
Lifestyle is a sensitive topic for most of us until and if that choice is taken away. We think mostly in our heads in the Western world so our prana is always going up and out. We might think oh lifestyle, I know I’ll add a few more advanced level yoga classes or take another 5 mile run. We are not in touch with our bodies; only in touch with how we think our bodies should be and look like or what the media tells us they should be. If we are having a problem with our digestion we look to the foods as the cause and maybe add some probiotics into our life.
I would bet that most of us do not think, hmm I am not digesting, feeling well, feeling stressed, maybe I should find something, even one thing I can change. And that change might not be adding something but taking something away.
The practice of Dinacharya (daily routine) is a benefit to ourselves in so many ways. It is a time to nourish our senses that we use in this world as well as a time to set the tone for the day. A time of self care. It is about picking a time for me to tap into the divine.
This news story of the Japanese daughter saying her father lived to 113 because of a stress free life made me once again be in gratitude for the study of Ayurveda. It also made me think about our stress hormones. I was reminded about the building hormones of estrogen and progesterone and the lightening hormones of adrenaline and cortisol along with DHEA. So many women in today’s world are experiencing osteopenia and osteoporosis in peri menopause as well as at menopause. It is one of the main reasons many women will come in to talk and while estrogen naturally decreases at menopause their stressful lifestyles are causing a greater lightening and a depletion while their bones are paying the price. Too much cortisol in the body contributes in no less than 7 ways to bone depletion.
Let me end with that thought for now as we also think about this 113 year old man and allow his daughter’s words to sink in:
“He led a stress free life”.
What changes might be possible in your life to become more stress free? Not an easy answer for most of us I know.
My sage advice, start with a dinacharya routine.Baby steps.