Whether you’re well on your way into your golden years or you’ve just found your first gray hair, for most women, the concept of aging is a daunting one. In a society that rarely casts aging in a positive light—and in fact tends to condemn it—it’s no wonder that many of us have come to think of growing older as a bad thing. And yet, it’s unavoidable: whether we like it or not, time marches onward. It’s time to stop raging against the fundamental fact that life is advancing, and start finding ways to embrace it instead.
It’s exactly this perspective that motivated KiraGrace to start speaking up about aging gracefully. For too long, women have been made to feel that their value diminishes with time, when in reality, most of us are only getting better. Instead of looking for ways to outwit the aging process, it’s time we start making peace with it.
We were thrilled to talk aging gracefully with longtime yoga teacher and San Diego local Jo Zukovich, who first began practicing yoga in 1979. In the decades since then, Jo has owned several different yoga studios, trained numerous inspirational yoga teachers, and acted as a mentor to hundreds of students. In her own words, "For over thirty years, my own practice and instruction of yoga has made an extraordinary impact on my life. I feel blessed to have had great teachers, mentors, and learning experiences throughout my journey. I have traveled to India four times, each time gaining a deeper relationship with yoga – an art, exercise, and meditation that opens one to new experiences and enlightenment."
For our second issue of The Art of Aging Gracefully, the wise and worldly Jo shared her thoughts on how we can rethink aging, support the women around us, and utilize yoga as an empowering form of “health insurance”—no matter our age.
KG – What does "aging gracefully" mean to you?
JZ – Aging has given me time and a sense of myself to enjoy my daily yoga practice. Also, I love gardening and being in nature without being in a rush.
KG – How do you think society affects the way we feel about aging?
JZ – Everything we see in media is very youthful. The only time you see older people is in ads for medicine or retirement villages.
KG – What are the advantages of growing older?
JZ – You don’t have to play games—you can be the interesting person you are. You have history.
KG – Do you think there’s a difference in the way we talk about men aging versus women?
JZ – Yes, I do! You hear that men get more "distinguished" as they age—what do you hear about women? Usually, it’s not that complimentary. I try to change that image.
KG – What are ways we as women can support one another as we age?
JZ – Laughing helps. Yoga is wonderful, spending time with people of all ages, and listening.
KG – How have you approached graying?
JZ – It’s a miracle—my hair is naturally blonde!
KG – In your experience, what role does yoga and mindful movement play in the aging process?
JZ – I feel it’s so important to have a practice and keep it in your life. Sometimes it isn’t easy. Yoga is like a part of my health insurance plan.
KG – Do you have any routines that you use to keep yourself feeling youthful?
JZ – Yoga practice, healthy eating, and exercise of other kinds. I love being outside, and I do art to express myself.
KG – When it comes to transitions, we are often advised to “focus on the positive.” What’s one positive thing you think people should keep in mind about growing older?
JZ – Keep moving and doing things you love.
KG – What do you think when you look in the mirror and see yourself changing over time?
JZ – I’m happy with the person I am now.
KG – Do you have any mantras or specific inspirations you look to when it comes to easing your mind about aging?
JZ – Despite some health issues I’ve had, I feel blessed and happy for what my body can do...I don’t dwell on aging too much.
If you liked this blog, check out our other blogs like "The Art of Aging Gracefully: Issue 3", "The Art of Aging Gracefully: Issue 4", "The Art of Aging Gracefully: Issue 1," and "Resources for Your Well-Being."