OKINAWA IN JAPAN THE PLACE WHERE WOMEN AGE GRACEFULLY
If you are a woman looking for longevity secrets then the solution is in plain sight. Okinawa is home to the world’s oldest living women!
It is also home to beautiful blue waters and some of the most divine diving spots in the world. It has been coined the “Japanese Hawaii.” Despite years of hardship after WWII, Okinawans established a lifestyle and environment to live long and healthy lives. Perhaps the collective pain felt during that time brought people closer together and reminded them of nature’s importance.
Perhaps their greatest secret is their stoic dedication to maintaining relationships.
5 Longevity Principles From Okinawa
What is most noticeable is that compared to the rest of the world. Okinawans have less cancer, heart disease, and dementia than others on the planet.
- Connection: They maintain a powerful social network called a “moai.”
- Food: Okinawans rely on plant-based food.
- Nature: Okinawans have a green thumb and are intricately linked with the natural world by planting their own medicinal garden.
- Movement: Movement is a part of life. Not a chore or an “exercise.” Movement serves a functional life purpose.
- Work: Okinawans also have a strong sense of purpose in life, the Japanese call it “ikigai” which means “your reason for being.”
MOAI, CONNECTION & RELATIONSHIPS ARE THE ELIXIR
A “Moai” is a lifelong band of good friends that always support you. Maintaining strong social networks are natural to our human existence and it’s what allows us to thrive. In our modern world, the antidote to isolation is connection and learning to thrive together. This is the basis of the Okinawan cultural practice.
FOOD IS CULTURE
Food is also an amazing part of Japanese culture. When I visited Japan, I always left a restaurant feeling lighter and more vibrant than when I went in. Okinawans rely mainly on plant-based food sources and occasionally consume animal-based food like pork, on special occasions.
The Okinawans take pride in their gardening which keeps them moving with purpose and allows them to develop an innate sense of connection with the natural world. They also plant medicinal plants (the expensive ones we buy at markets or online) such as; ginger, turmeric, and even mugwort. They grow their own staples and consume these plants every day. You only have to take a quick minute to research the benefits of a plant-based eating regime and saturating with medicinal plants like this to truly understand and be ready to embody these longevity practices for yourself.
MOTION IS A WAY OF LIFE
Movement is not a chore either, it is a part of life. Working in their gardens, walking to visit neighbors, and being an active participant in community groups gives them more than enough dosage of moving medicine. Their daily movements allow for their greater range of motion later in life, and better cardiovascular health, and it even helps distract the mind from daily stressors. Imagine still climbing trees in your 90s, like you did as a child!
Simplicity is mastery in this community too. Okinawans pride themselves on minimalism. There is little furniture and many Okinawans share a meal sitting on mats on the floor. It is believed that as people get older, getting up and down off the floor, plus spending time outside under the sun (Vitamin D) promotes balance, and lower body strength, and prevents falls later in life. The best fall prevention program might be self-evident right here.
Modern cultures are tuning into the ancient wisdom of “ikigai.” Older Okinawans can easily articulate their ikIgai and this sense of deep purpose allows them to feel needed and fulfilled all the way through their long lives. The contrast to modern culture is that their purpose can be seemingly simple to the external perspective. But, it represents deeper and core values, in the embodiment of a simple practice.
Many centenarian women in Okinawa still climb trees in their 90s, catch eels and collect produce to feed their families. This may be the simplicity of their “ikigai.” These seemingly simple daily tasks give them a sense of interconnectedness as valuable members of their thriving community, linked to their own unique passions. Imagine still climbing trees in your 90s, like you did when you were a kid. Take note and contrast their function in old age with your grandparents and even parents. Keeping the end in mind. What type of old person do I want to be? Consider, who has "principles" that you would prefer to follow in your young age now? Simplicity is mastery after all.
Their community promotes health and well-being across their lifespan, rather than putting the elderly people in the community in homes. Elderly Okinawans are seen to be respected spiritual leaders in their community. They are custodians of wisdom and stories that they share with the younger generation. This gives them a greater sense of purpose later in life and spending time with the younger generations, may in fact help them stay young in spirit!
How connected do you feel to your community? Have you found your reason for being? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? What is your best fall prevention strategy as you get older? What are you going to suggest to your grandparents?
If you are a woman that is looking to find the secret to longevity, elixirs and the fountain of youth, that isn't found in a bottle. Consider focusing on connection and relstionships over your lifespan, creating a garden and developing your green thumb, finding your purpose beyond money, living simply, and eating well from a good source, making sure that your family eats in the same way.
This is directly referenced from the best-selling amazon SelfCare Book "Lifestyle Medicine For the People" by Rory Callaghan. If you would like to read more content like this. Grab the free online chapters of the book or a hard copy.
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