Age really is a strange thing. We can find ourselves feeling like children again at age 90 or we can feel like our lives are already over at age 25.
Whatever we feel, most of us can probably agree that we don’t really want to die young. Living a healthy life without any health complications well into our 80s or 90s sure would be nice and is a common longevity goal for a lot of people, but would you ever consider aiming to live past 120 if you knew it was possible?
In a truly inspiring article published by the Bangkok Post, a 120-year-old Indian monk (born in 1896) named Swami Sivananda claims to be the oldest person alive and is entering into to the Guinness Book of World Records. He admitted to having three big secrets to longevity.
Sivananda’s physical appearance and fitness level is impressive for his age, and he accredits much of it to a daily yoga practice. Looking at his photos, he barely looks a day over 60.
This isn’t a man who does a light 20-minute yoga session a few times a week either. He practices yoga for hours a day and was actually interviewed for this particular story after a two-hour yoga session.
Sivananda said he lives and eats very simply. A man who grew up extremely poor and went to sleep many nights on an empty stomach, he admits to avoiding “fancy foods” like fruit or milk even today.
He said that he sticks to boiled food like rice and lentil stew with some green chillies, but no spices or oils are added to it. He also sleeps on a mat on the floor every night using a wooden slab as his pillow.
Abstaining from sex is Sivananda’s third secret to living a long and healthy life. He was orphaned at age six and then handed off to a spiritual guru by his other relatives, still living an independent life of his own today and even traveling alone when he chooses to do so.
While two hours of yoga, a strict diet of boiled rice, a piece of wood to sleep with, and complete abstinence from sex certainly is far too strict for the average person in today’s modern world to adhere to in terms of a disciplined lifestyle, a glimpse into Sivananda’s everyday life paints a picture of what many of us are so completely out of touch with these days…
The peace we can find in living more simply.
“Earlier people were happy with fewer things,” Sivananda explained in the interview. “Nowadays people are unhappy, unhealthy and have become dishonest, which pains me a lot. I just want people to be happy, healthy, and peaceful.”
As you might have already guessed, Sivananda isn’t a fan of modern technology and prefers to go without it. He originally had no interest in entering into the Guinness Book of World Records because of the publicity it would attract, but he was eventually persuaded by his followers.
Let this story of Swami Sivananda the 120-year-old healthy and happy monk inspire you to reflect on your own life and identify areas that may be overly complicated. Seek to simplify them in ways that restore that connection between yourself and all of nature for better peace of mind and a healthier body.