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A recent study published in Internal Medicine shows that practicing yoga protects against frailty as we age. In a review of 33 published longevity studies, which included 2,384 participants over the age of 65, researchers concluded that practicing yoga may improve predictors of longevity including walking speed and leg strength. This is particularly important as slower walking speeds are connected to higher risk of death in older adults.

None of this is news to Debra Kochanczyk, our first guest for Season 2 of NEXT CHPTR CHATS podcast (listen here Season 2: Episode 1). Debra is a YOGI has been teaching yoga and meditation for over 25 years to women from all around the globe – ERYT 500 (indicates a level of standards required to become an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERY) at the 500 hour level).


Debra has studied yoga from some of the most renowned teachers in the world including in India with Shiva Rae, in Thailand with Simon Low, in Vancouver with Deepak Chopra along with various other teachings in London, Dubai and Europe. Debra opened her first practice in Abu Dhabi in the U.A.E. which blossomed into a successful business across hotels throughout the gulf region. She has taught yoga to members of the Emirates Royal family and currently shares her talents and wisdom with guests of Il Borro, the Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Estate and Resort south of Florence in Tuscany.


Aging Positively is within you.

“Working on the Ferragamo estate is a happy circumstance. I believe that if you open yourself up to possibilities, the world will find you,” says Debra. “We’d travelled to Tuscany after we retired looking for a place to spend some time. When we got here, we fell in love. We loved everything about it, the natural beauty, the pace of life, the food… in fact, we stayed for just one night in the village of Leccio and went looking for a house the next day. We signed the lease with the very first property we saw. And we’ve been here ever since. We live on a nature reserve in the Tuscan countryside between Florence and Arezzo. It’s a different pace of life and exactly what we needed as we transitioned to our next chapter.”


Open yourself to the universe and it will provide.


“We’d been here for a short while when I was approached by Salvatore Ferragamo – the grandson of the founder of the Ferragamo brand – asking if I would like to teach yoga at the resort. How wonderful. I now teach yoga, host retreats and women’s workshops.”


“Yoga is central to my life and my practice. I’ve been teaching for more than 25 years. It represents both my philosophy and physicality of aging. I am also an artist of Yantra Art used for meditation and insight. It’s my mission to help people see the beauty of aging.”


I’ve taken a different path

“My life has been a different from many others. Because of my husband’s career, we’ve spent the last 30 years travelling and living in all corners of the world. We have lived and raised our kids on four different continents in several different countries. I’ve enjoyed learning from, and growing with, all the different peoples and their cultures. It has both expanded my consciousness and conviction of the need for celebration in all stages of life. As a mentor, and health and wellness teacher, I am passionate about inspiring and motivating women to challenge their beliefs and concepts around age. I believe strongly that we need to change the narrative on aging.”


All of us will face challenges.


“Life isn’t always sunshine and roses. I received a cancer diagnosis and have been receiving wonderful treatment from the Italian Health System. I’m not letting it stop me. Aging is a privilege and I’m enjoying it as much as I can.”


@TheOmAgeWay is my gift to myself and to you.


“I started @TheOmAgeWay on Instagram to express my desire for us to see aging as a wonderful stage in life and that we do have some control over how we experience it. Aging is out of your control, but how you handle it is in your control.

3 simple steps:

1.     Stay physically active.

2.     Cultivate connections.

3.     Pursue your passions.

I’m calling it Aging Positively. And it’s helping me age positively."


We need to take on new challenges to stay engaged.

“Moving to another country is not new to either myself or my husband, so we are adapting. We’re taking language lessons. It helps integration, but it also helps keep the brain cells active. My husband is older and he’s in classes as well. I believe taking on new challenges are part of successful aging. I’ve learned how to build a website at 60. I started editing and crafting my own videos. They may not be polished and posh, but I’m having fun, and it is getting the message across to those that follow me @theomageway.”


“I use the beauty of the Tuscan countryside to highlight my thoughts on aging and emotional health. In one of my latest videos, I talk about how you’re never too old to take steps to improve the quality of life today and for your future self – ‘Making the rest of life, the best of your life’. We talk about the reality of the aging body. Body composition does change especially during menopause. Your body changes, everything changes, you start losing muscle mass, we get more aches and pains. This is the reality of aging, but movement will help with all of this.”


“In another video I celebrate that each of has our own journey. Embrace in it fully. Trust in your path. Your journey is a beautiful tapestry of experiences, lessons and growth. Embrace your age, cherish your age and keep moving forward with courage and with grace.”


“Other challenges that keep me excited include starting a Mastering Herbal Medicine course…Which I hope to share my insight, lotions, and potions for healthy aging.


Instagram: The OmAge Way

Facebook: The OmAge

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