I talk about myself a lot as an example of Ayurveda, in workshops, with clients, I see myself as the most interesting experiment and I try to encourage others to do the same. I never came to Ayurveda to improve my outward expression, it really just made sense to me immediately, it was an innate truth I was hungry to find out more on.
In the meantime I seemed to heal reproductive, digestive and mental issues with Ayurveda from a simple faith to follow the daily routine and live in harmony with my capacity. That meant not only my capacity with food, sleep, relationships, work but also my spiritual capacity. Too much of the ether and talking about God and I was losing my grip, as in my Vata could not hold onto anything on earth. Living a life of extremes, whether it was the booze and drugs or God seeking, was keeping me in the eddy and exhausted. It finally tweaked one day that the middle road is like this big sturdy rock in the middle of a rapid river and you just hang out watching others flail arms. The Buddhist precept became my saviour and kept my sense of humour.
I had a couple of clients that allowed me to take their photos whilst they worked with me, at the beginning and end. I saw such an amazing transformation in hindsight. The work is not an overnight journey so it's difficult to see your improvement sometimes. Clients will come in for one reason and then forget why they came in a couple of months later when they have moved on from constipation to all of a sudden wanting to find purpose in their work. From the gross to the subtle. And the transformation in appearance was astounding to me. Self confidence is the best beauty treatment you can have. I was always curious how those celebrities would look so good when they were popular and then when they were off the radar, some of them would wither without the limelight and some wouldn't. It piqued my curiosity as to how beauty is created from the inside.
And it's like that. Ayurveda is considered the sister science to Yoga in the way that it helps the body prepare for the subtle work but the refinement is not a shove towards refinement, it is gradual and therefore you don't lose your grip on earth; the grounding becomes more Ojas or immunity based and therefore weightless but nonetheless sturdy and viable. In Ayurveda we talk about health as the idea of Svastha - established in the Self. You need self confidence to be well. You need to know what feels right for you and not be swayed by the media or friends/family comments. This journey of making decisions for YOU was one of the hardest I found for myself and others I worked with.
And so here i am. First in 2003 on my year long trip to India where I became a yoga teacher, volunteered in an orphanage and roamed around looking for what? I'm about 32 in this. Beginning to open my mind to other ways of being in this world but a little confused as to how to apply it and wondering if the India magic could translate outside of the country. The picture captures me well - engaged but still a little shy as to how I saw myself, accepting opinion from anyone willing to tell it (free or otherwise) and seeking like it was a full time occupation. I was looking not just for salvation (actually I didn't know about that) but how to find work, relationships and experiences that had meaning.
And here I am now. 43 and my last trip to the same place I recently visited on the beach in Goa with the same family. Well entrenched in an Ayurvedic lifestyle and looking better for it. Comfortable with saying no thanks, found my teachers, found my framework, love my work, my environment and happy in my day.
Growing old gracefully means a lot of things. There is a component of letting go, no doubt, and becoming wise about experience and learning the life lessons. But I think it can be more practical than that. I cannot believe how immensely powerful a morning routine can be and how it can domino into other aspects of your life.
In my opinion, there is nothing as graceful as joy and feeling relaxed as you age. As your skin sags, ideally, your prana takes over and gives you that glow people become drawn to. Oiling the body and breathwork for the mind. Meditation too. That's it.
The rest is marketing bullshit.