7. Warding Off Old Age (The Ten Point Way to Health)
Warding Off Old Age
“The Ten Point Way to Health (Surya Namaskars)
Shrimant Balasahib Pandit Pratinidhi (B.A.) Rajah of Aundh
Edited with an introduction by Louise Morgan
First Published: 1938
Premature old age and premature death are tragedies. The spirit of youth is always and everwhere desirable, nay, absolutely necessary. It is well said that ‘it is better to wear out than to rust out.’ An old man or woman, though taking exercise, may not be quite as springy or nimble as a youth or a maiden, nor should one expect to have a ‘twenty-five face on a seventy-five body’ ; but discontinuance of all bodily activities will invariably bring about rapid degeneration and decay.
The following conditions, among other, are universally regarded as indispensable for ‘making old bodies young’ :
(1)A strong, straight and flexible spine. A straight spine is one that enables you to carry your body erect. The central nervous system consists of brain and spinal cord with nerve ramifications radiating throughout the body. It is the spinal cord that represents life. If it is diseased, death will follow ; if it is unhealthy, the body will be unhealthy. If the nervous system is not functioning normally, all the involuntary actions of the heart, stomach, liver, kidneys, and glands will fail to work properly.
(2)A strong back. A man is as strong as his back. Since most old people are seen with their backs bent, it is generally thought that a curved back and rounded shoulders are inevitable in one’s decline. This is, however, wrong. With proper care and regular exercise all men and women no deformed from birth can carry themselves like true soldiers of live to the very end.
(3) A strong stomach. After the age of about fifty-five or sixty a man or woman should have only one meal, or at most two, in twenty-four hours. Overeating, wrong eating, or taking stimulants and drugs, results in the accumulation of undigested food in the colon, and this is one of the contributory causes of constipation, which ‘mothers a brood of diseases.’
(4) Colon cleanliness. Most people are likely to conclude that because their bowels move once a day, they are therefore from constipation. But how they move is the question. You must, therefore, get your colon examined and see that it is neither encrusted nor engorged.
(5) Flexibility of Joints. A majority of old folk suffer from stiff joints-joints affected with rheumatism or gout, as a result of overeating or wrong eating. A joint in any mechanism, whether of wood, steel, or flesh, will function stiffly or not at all if neglected.
(6) Absence of Obesity. It has been found that obesity tends to shorten live. If you wish for active longevity, the girth of your abdomen must be considerably less than that of your chest.
(7)Active skin. It is not generally recognized that the greatest single excretory organ is the skin, upon the proper functioning of which the health to a large extent depends. No real reason exists for loading ourselves with a burden of unnecessary clothing in our country, or in any country, for that matter. At a conservative estimate clothes must be responsible for more than ten to fifteen per cent of discase and for a considerable portion of the cost of living. Daily exposure to fresh air and sun will render the skin active and young.
(8) Youthful spirit. ‘ A man is as old as he feels‘ is an adage that is applied with greater force to those of advanced age. The minute a man loses faith in his youthful spirit and begins to feel like an old man and adopts the manner of an old man, he will rapidly become old. Faith is the dominant principle in man.
As soon as a person retires from his usual service or work, he thinks he is old and has nothing to do in the world but to spend the rest of his life in laziness, under the groundless apprehension that any bodily activity or exertion will shorten his life. But he should remember that it is rusting out and not wearing out that causes premature senility and death.
Youthful spirit depends upon the activity of body and mind. Bodily activity and mental activity are interdependent. Therefore, be inoculated with the feeling that you will ever continue young and active, and you will remain young and active.
Mental activity is necessary to the best degree of health- and especially in old age. It is found from statistics that professional men and mental workers, such as scientists, philosophers, theologians, etc., live longer than manual workers and those given to hard bodily labour.
If you want your mind and body to function normally, they must both have regular occupation or exercise.
It is but natural for man to wish for a long life and youthful spirit. But many, instead of obeying the wise laws of Nature, waste their time, money, and energy in the vain search for some panacea, not realizing that it is only to be found in their own bodies. The mad craze for countless specifics, patent medicines, and drugs in order to prolong life only shortens it in the end.
There are men who have reached old age after a clean, plain, useful, and strenuous life, and to such it is suggested that they submit themselves to a moderate course of Surya Namaskars in order that their useful and active life may be prolonged.
ss of old men on whom senility is forced by misfortune in the shape of compulsory residence in crowded cities, sickness, bereavement, or other reverses in life : to such Surya Namaskars are useful in that they minister not only to the body but to the spirit as well.
The third class of prematurely old men consists of those who have played ducks and drakes with their health and youth and have thoroughly ruined their constitutions, being in consequence given up by doctors. Even to these can be held out a promise of redemption, if they be like children and follow faithfully the practice of Surya Namaskars.
It has been said that man begins to die the moment he is born. The inevitable end, however, can be postponed for a long, long time, if only by proper exercise we rid ourselves of the products of decay. If we ever really learn to do this, we should, barring accidents, live far beyond the limit of one hundred years.
7. Warding Off Old Age (The Ten Point Way to Health)
Continue to Chapter 8