6:30 a.m. every day, I pull these old bones out of bed, slam a cup of joe, hop on my bike and put the pedal to the medal. A few blocks from my house heading toward Santa Monica beach, the sleepiness subsides and my adrenaline starts to kicks in. I'm biking so fast on my lightweight speed machine that the stores I pass look like blurs. I'm aerodynamic as hell and at full expression. I'm moving along the pavement like lightening, a cheetah on a bike. I'm kicking it into a bigger gear and feeling so world class that I'm tempted to preform the Tarzan yell. Take that 53, I feel 33. Did I say 53?
But just as I'm entering the final stretch of my ride, I look to my right and see a girl on an old beach cruiser, a dog and purse in her pink basket, glide by me. I might as well be eating dust as she pedals six blocks ahead of me on that heavy hunk of medal. I'm left thinking with a smile, youth, wasted on the young.
How should this revelation make me feel? Should I be embarrassed that the girl on the beach cruiser just lapped me? Should I scorn these old bones and long for my younger days? Nope, no one gets out of this thing we call life, alive. That type of regret will drive you crazy.
It all comes back to the periphery. I may not be moving as fast as the girl on the cruiser with the yapping dog in her basket, but when I put the pedal to the medal each morning, I'm doing something pretty damn important: exploring my peripheral.
As we get past 35, we're not getting any stronger in the athletic sense of the word. Aging makes us lose the most extreme abilities we had at the peak of our youth, but that just means that we've got to work smarter to extend ourselves to the outer edges of what's left of our body's potential for that day, to maintain our ability for that day. When I'm kicking my bike ride into high gear, I won't win the contest against a strong 25-year-old kid, but you know what? I'll sure as hell feel the same as the 25-year-old, energized and pushed to my personal limit for that day.
It's the same thing for yoga. To get the most out of your practice, you need to reach out to the edge of your range of motions -- without injury, of course. Use the power of intention to reach toward that periphery as you engage in each pose. That goes for your mind as well as your body. If you don't use it, you're gonna lose it.
Reaching out to your peripheral each day is the real way to slow the effects of aging for that day, that moment. The next time you're feeling your best days are behind you, try reaching out to your physical and mental limits. You won't look as good as that 20-something passing you on her bike, but you'll feel just as energized as she does. And wiser.