Friday, March 16, 2012

Aging, "Anti-aging," reversing the clock, waking back up to life

Say you took a walk down a narrow path to a river each day, fetched some water and then carried it back up to your village.

Then you picked some fruit from a tree, perhaps climbing up the tree, and if the day got too hot you swam and splash in the river down below, so once again a walk of attention (the path is narrow and you could fall off) and back up: nice exercise.

You hunt or you make baskets or you cook food or you prepare weapons or you take a nap or you talk to the grandchildren or children or adults or grandfathers.

You move, you pick up things from the ground, you harvest roots, you skin any animals you have killed.

It sounds primitive and could have it's own charm and appeal or could be a horrifying life to us "moderns", what with food in grocery stories and cars to carry us to work to make money to drive home via the market and cook our food in convenient ways that require no bending down to light the fire or pick up the firewood.

We don't move much, and some go to a gym and push various machines and barbells and metal around, and that certain helps, but the overall picture is one of a lot of sitting. At desks. In front of computers.

And then, even on the part of the day we used to just walk to the car, we are on the cell phone, and now it's a smart phone, so our eyes are glued to the little one and a quarter by three inch screen.

We hunker around our little electronic communication network, not around the fire, not around the circle of family and friends telling stories.

Movies tell our stories, and less and less people even sit with others watching the mutual dream. We stay home, we get our Netflicks, and probably a big chunk of that time is also spend texting and gazing at the even smaller screen.

People are missing. Movement is missing. Nature is missing.

And so we age.

People in the tribes in the old paradigm aged too, but their bodies stayed relatively mobile and their minds, with real problems to solve, real pathways to negotiate with real sleep, stayed alert. The elders job was to pass on the lore and the skills to the young. The young are figgity and keeping up with their minds and bodies must have kept the elders way more on their toes, literally, than the shoved off in old folks homes, and dimming away to Alzheimers, and decaying into the cancer plague.

And does Feldenkrais and Anat Baniel have something to offer the modern woman and man, the modern desk ridden, car enslaved, smart phone addicted person.


It has a plethora of movements, that are slow enough to be engaging on their own.

Movements that vary, and so the brain has to pay attention, and even better new neural pathways are laid down. And this is learning.

We try things in a new way, with attention, and learning, real learning of new connections gets hooked up in our brains.

And the spine lengthens, almost always with either table or group lessons. All the moving this way and moving that reminds the vertebrae: hey, you guys aren't a rod, you are a chain of linked and separate units, and the more you can remember and move in all directions with some separation from how your neighbor is moving, the more the spine can lengthen out.

The hunching over of the old, as the spine gets more and more trapped in the patterns of a life time of slouching, this can begin to "un-do" with the lessons of this work.  In the old days, people picked up things from the ground, reached up to climb and pick fruit, rotated right and left to follow prey and avoid danger and get through various openings. We can create, in gobs of fun and different ways, bends and arches and twists and sidebends in our spine.

We can recapture the joy of having a body that is excited to learn something just a little new each day.

So it isn't really "anti-aging," we don't have anything against aging. It's "anti letting ourselves stop learning, and anti falling into deeper and deeper immobility, and anti thinking we have reached the know it all stage of existence.

It's anti fear of the new, but excitement, and this can spill over.

What new will life bring today?

It's so exciting. Let's find out!

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