Get in the Zone

by Tracey Rich

Longevity holds a fascination for people and is revered in many cultures. A long, quality life is an aspect of living that science and medicine regularly investigate. For others, longevity is a mystery to be explored and unraveled as if it may hold the secret to the universe or the meaning of life. 

Some investigators say longevity is in a culture's diet. Some researchers say it is in a community's lifestyle. And still other people argue that longevity is simply a result of an individual's genetics.

Our friend, Dan Buettner creator of the Blue Zones, has discovered the five places in the world where people live the longest and are the healthiest. He actually does share the secrets of life by giving us his Power 9, the nine lifestyle habits we can all employ to experience health and wellness in our daily lives, and certainly live longer, better. 

Through Dan's work, there are now Blue Zone cities. Communities committed to improving quality of life through changes in public policy, social involvement, and in other ways that make it easier for people to access healthy choices that impact their daily lives. Through implementing things like creating bike and walking paths for recreation and commuting, inspiring restaurant and groceries to include plant based options, and improving school cafeteria choices for children, cities are making commitments and seeing results in their citizens' health, happiness, and well being. 

Here are some of my takes and interpretations on a few of Dan's Power 9. To see the whole list and more, we recommend going to the Blue Zones website, and reading Dan's books.

Move Naturally: Find ways to get to where you're going with enjoyment. Ride your bike to work or out on the weekend to breakfast or coffee. Even your electric bike gets you moving and having fun. Work in your garden creating food and beauty, health and well being. Get on your mat and create an intuitive yoga flow. Just follow your breath. All else will come.

Find Purpose: One of today's more notable buzz words making its way into our lexicon is ikigai, which translates to the word, purpose. We all want it, we all need it, and the older you get the more it makes your world go round. You often find the secret to your personal purpose in doing for others.

Downshift: Yoga again! Breathe, meditate, get into nature.

Plant Slant: You had us at White Lotus. All those who know and love us know we have tried to inspire this since the very beginning. We are now celebrating our 51st year of stewarding Yoga, spirituality, plant based diets, health, well being, and finding your kinship with the planet, the cosmos, and yourself. Go plant based whenever you possibly can. You'll thank yourself for it. Anything you can do to be in a positive synergy with the environment and the planet is a good thing. 

Tribe:  Not tribalism. Still, we grew out of committed and connected groups so find your community.  Yoga centers often serve as our temples and our places of meditation so hopefully you will be able to find people you feel connected to there, or wherever it is that you participate in something you love.  Another term making its way into our awareness, that comes from Japanese culture, is the word, moai.  Moai refers to groups of committed friends or community. In Okinawa, one of the five longest lived places, small groups of people as social cooperatives are committed to each other for life. Now that is a beautiful thing!