Monday, July 09, 2007

Yoga and Longevity

One of the more farfetched claims about yoga is that it's a fountain of
youth, a way to live not only better, but also longer. Sounds good, yet even though I'm an almost fanatic devotee of yoga, I have never subscribed to the longer life claim.

But I may change my mind. Here's the story: I've been reading about the origins of modern yoga, and there seems to be agreement that it can attributed to four people - the father of it all - Tirumalai Kirshnamacharya - and three of his pupils - Indra Devi (the woman credited with bringing yoga to the U.S., to women, and to Hollywood in particular...), BKS Iyengar (of Iyengar yoga), and Sri Pattabhi Jois - inventor, grand master of Ashtanga yoga.

For the past 40-50 years or longer, these four people have been the seminal figures of the modern, more physical type of yoga practiced in the west.

Which brings me to my point: Of these four people, Krishnamacharya
lived to age 100, Indra Devi to 102, and Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois are still
going strong at 89 and 91 respectively.

Of course it may not be the yoga. It may just be the joy of having thousands of adoring disciples, of having loads of self confidence, or just sheer luck. In any case, it's probably not replicable within the general population. Very few of us are going to spend 4-8 hours a day wrapped up in our yoga poses.

But still, it's pretty interesting...


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