Demystifying Eternal Youth

Japanese universities trained thousands of people in Okinawa’s lifestyle. But the mystery remained

Okinawa is a bucket of 160 small islands in Japan. It is close to Taiwan and China in the Pacific Ocean, about 17 kilometers from Tokyo. The world’s healthiest aged people live on these islands.

Even at the age of 100, the elderly people jog regularly, they do cycling and even dance. Though one-third of the population of these islands is over 70 years, these people are considered young. It is said about Okinawa that either life has come to a standstill here or it is a land where death cannot enter. Or perhaps if you want to understand life then go to Okinawa.

It is also said that Allah almighty gave life to billions of people but he gave the art of living only to the people of Okinawa. These healthy people have been the subject of research for decades. Books have been written on them. Films were made. Courses were designed on their food and recipe, and dozens of Japanese universities trained thousands of people in Okinawa’s lifestyle. But the mystery remained. The world could not learn their art.

However, the Ikigai largely describes the Okinawa lifestyle. This is an ancient Japanese model of living. In Japanese, Iki means “life” and Gai means “value”, “price”, or “purpose”. If these two words are found together, they mean “cause of life.” The experts of Ikigai divide practical life into four circles. These four circles move forward together.

In the first circle are the things we want to do from the heart. In the second circle comes the art that we have the expertise in. In the third realm comes the work from which we make money, and in the fourth realm comes the things that the world expects of us.

These people think that the first and second realms are Passion. The second and third together form Profession, the third and the fourth together form the Vocation and the fourth and the first together form the Mission. Until man joins these four spheres, he can’t live a satisfied and successful life. These people believe that the people of Okinawa enjoy long, happy, and most satisfying life because they are spending their lives based on Ikigai.

Experts say that these people do six things after completing all four rounds or circles. These are their routines. These routines remain a part of their life till death and these six tasks, according to the research, are the most wonderful way to live a contented and happy life.

The first philosophy of the people of Okinawa is to “slow down and be present”. The phone, the Internet, the bullet trains, the cars running at two hundred kilometers per hour, and the excessive knowledge are swallowing man’s peace, contentment, and happiness, so the man should slow himself down. Don’t run. This race will give you nothing but fatigue and sickness. Stay where you are and what you are. It’s unfortunate you are drinking coffee, sitting in the garden, or in front of a friend of yours but instead of listening to him or feeling the colors and scents of flowers, or enjoying the taste of coffee, you and your mind are wandering somewhere far away. You are immersed in future fears. This situation weakens the human immune system. Leave this race. It won’t leave you anywhere.

The second routine of the people of Okinawa has to do with nature. They reconnect with nature. They go to gardens daily and rivers. They walk along the beach and spend time with trees and plants. They think that God has placed human energies in nature. When we connect with nature, our bodies are filled with electricity, and we become more satisfied and happy. They consider the forest as a bathroom so they call walking in the trees a forest bath. They walk barefoot on the ground every day.

Their third secret is Okinawa food. They have been eating local food for centuries. They have fresh vegetables in their diet. There are fruits and vegetables. They make a rainbow of fruits and vegetables for breakfast and they must eat every fruit or vegetable of rainbow color every day. They eat fish three days a week and eat 80% of their food till noon. They stop eating after sunset. They don’t eat market food or junk food. They abstain from coffee and tea. They use local fruits and spices, grow their own vegetables. They eat only 1900 calories a day. They do not fill more than half of their stomachs and drink more water but that also stops after evening.

Their fourth secret is body movement. They will walk to the market, they will climb the stairs, they will learn some new art after the age of 60 and they will dedicate the rest of their lives to it. Most seniors in Okinawa cut the fibers of a tree (much like a banana tree) and make thread from it. Then they make cloth from this thread and make dresses from this cloth. These dresses are considered to be the most expensive clothes in the world. In Europe, these shirts are sold for 18,000 euros. The Japanese mothers still sew sweaters and hats by hand. They also run and work in restaurants and coffee shops. They also cook their own food, serve themselves and wash the dishes themselves. These people dance until they die. You would often see old people dancing and trembling in Okinawa. They think that if you are not a rock then you should keep your body in motion.

The fifth secret of the people of Okinawa is thanks and gratitude. They are always thankful for the blessings of God and will bow down and thank others warmly. All the people of Okinawa consider gratitude to be a form of worship.

And their last habit is Ikigai. These people live their lives according to Ikigai. They do the work that pleases the heart. They learn the work regularly. They also earn money till their last breath. Data also proves that people who earn money till their last breath also live a long life.

I would recommend everyone to live at least a patch of their lives following these six principles. This will let you enjoy the real taste of life.

To recap:

  1. Slow down and be present
  2. Connect with nature
  3. East less, eat more fish and rainbow of vegetables and fruits
  4. Move your body, don’t be a rock
  5. Be thankful and grateful
  6. Do something that pleases your heart. Don’t stop learning

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