Taking a look around the room I’m sitting in I see dust. Ash from the fire, cat hair, soil from the garden and lots and lots of dead skin. Yup. Lovely thought, I know, but I’m looking around and seeing the discarded, dead skin of myself, my partner and others who spend time in the house, including the cats. So if we’re losing all this skin on a continual basis, why are our muscles, blood vessels and organs not oozing out for all to see? I know you know, but I’m trying to make a point so stay with me: new skin cells are continually being made. The lower layers of our skin creates new skin cells while the skin cells of the upper layers die and are discarded. The Circle of Life, but not as cuddly to sing about as cute lion cubs, so Elton wisely chose to sing of the life and death circle of the cartoon jungle. Why is this relevant? Because this circle of life is also the case with our bones.
Bone is living tissue. Just as our skin continually renews itself, in with the new and out with the old, so too do our bones. I never used to think of bones in that way, and why would I? I don’t see them everyday. I look in the mirror and see my skin changing slowly over the years, but my bones are out of sight. Add to this the fact that the only bones we ever really see (surgeons excepted) are bones of the dead, whether it be in museums, on tv, the carcass of a mouse that’s been forgotten by the cat after hiding it long ago (thanks fluffy-kins). Dead. Dead bones and that’s what I used to associate with bones.
But bones are much more than this. They are, in fact, amazing. While the recycling of skin tissue is quite quick, bone change is slower, but it does change, and it does grow, and it does live.
The foundation we build when we’re young sets us up for life, so in our youth is when we should start taking care of our bones, just like every other part of us…yes, the earlier we start on anything worthwhile – healthy eating, creating good sleep patterns, learning to play the piano, taking up yoga, whatever! – the better off we are.
However, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing we can do past our youth to improve ourselves – yikes that would be depressing! I knew a man a few years ago who took up the fiddle when he retired from work in his sixties. I met him when he was approaching 70 and he played beautifully. I took up yoga in my late twenties, and had I done so earlier I’m sure I’d be more supple and healthy, but I’m in better shape physically and emotionally as I head toward 35 than I was when I was 25, so I’m glad I didn’t think it was too late for me, and oh-so-delighted to have heard that man play in music sessions. I’m sure when he started his fingers were stiff and uncooperative, the strings were strange, balancing the bow was just plain awkward and playing in tune seemed impossible, but he persevered and it became a life-enriching experience for him.
I found him inspiring at the time, perhaps it was examples like his that allowed me to persevere with my yoga practice a few years later, even though I was convinced I looked ridiculous in class. It has changed my life in so many ways that I am grateful for (one of them being that I no longer care if I look ridiculous in class!). And now I find myself doing more and more research into bones: how they are formed and how they are strengthened. Yoga can play a major role in ensuring the new bone cells we create in our Circle of Life are the best they can be for us.
I’ll write more on this soon so do pop by again if you’d like to read more, or check out upcoming events on http://www.meltintoyoga.co.uk 🙂