One of the main components of Sage-ing is to push back on societal stereotypes. The marketing messages about aging and the models used seem to stress anti-aging and favor the young–even the very young. The imaging of aging are often not positive or favorable.
A great example of Sage-ing was in the Sunday New York Times titled “Her Age? Glad You Asked.” The article is about Tao Porchon-Lynch, a woman with 98 years of wonderful life experience who lives in New York. She attributes much of her positive attitude and busy life to yoga. She teaches yoga classes and is a competitive ballroom dancer and still drives a Smart Car.
Porchon-Lynch has become a poster child for the active life and this recognition has led to a large social media following. This following has led to her modeling for various labels similar to a few other Sages–Iris Apfel, Betty White, and Joan Didion–who are now going against the norm and modeling in their 90s!
In 2015, Porchon-Lynch appeared on “America’s Got Talent” with her dance partner who was 26. Her competitive dance partners have been as much as 70 years younger. But I loved the line by her current partner who is 25. “I teach her about dance and she teaches me about life.” Intergenerational learning is a key to becoming a sage.
As I continued to read the article, my yoga teacher, James Miller, was mentioned. He had hosted Porchon-Lynch at the Iowa City Yoga Festival a few years ago. Miller is the founder of Adamantine Yoga where my husband and I have been practicing almost six days a week for about three years. We all know the importance of staying active and continuing to move and walking is a great way to do this. I have also concluded that yoga is a great option because of the emphasis on balance, flexibility, and strength which all become more important as we gain in life experience. Yoga also makes you pay attention to diet and nutrition because it is easier to maneuver many of the yoga moves if diet and nutrition are in balance.
Miller says that while yoga is great, data suggests longevity is mostly connected with nutrition. He is a big believer that we are what we eat so we need to eat well. Since he personally knows Porchon-Lynch, he knows she pays a lot of attention to eating well and portion size.
As we say in Sage-ing, are we living longer or taking longer to die? Quality of life is important. The article about Porchon-Lynch ends with:
“And yet the lines of lived experience on Ms. Porchon-Lynch’s face, and the expression of peace and vivacity in her eyes are powerful reminders that the practice is about more than clicks (referring to a Facebook live chat). The celebrity yoga world can be a competitive place,
“The celebrity yoga world can be a competitive place,” said Kelly Kamm, a yoga instructor who travels around the workshop circuit and is a muse of Mr. Sturman, the photographer. “It’s like being a rock star, it’s one in a hundred-thousand chance,” Ms. Kamm said. “I think that people were so hungry for someone to look up to who wasn’t a young, skinny, blond yogi in a bra top. There is just so much of that. Then came someone who was the opposite of that. Then came Tao.”
I remind people in workshops the value of role models for guiding the way.
Who is living life in a way that appeals to you?
Who do you know or have the opportunity to observe who is living an active life?
Who are the Sages in your life?
In whose life can you be a Sage?