Interview by Susan Allison
As a successful writer, Elise speaks of her history, explaining that she was encouraged by her family to be an intellectual, and was expected to read and write well. It was in her mid twenties that she began writing articles for newspapers and had a column called “Body and Soul” in the Psychic Reader. She adds, “It was here where I explored the connection between the body and the spirit, and how that relationship in many forms is the foundation of health.”
When asked if her passion for healthy living began in childhood, Elise responds, “Looking back, I was always attuned to a healthy lifestyle. My mom was into healthy foods; I read Wayne Dyer in high school and worked in a health food restaurant while in college. I grew up around my grandma and saw her live a very active life until the age of 95 when she passed away. My parents are 88 and 89 and they are both very active. I learned from all the older adults in my family that aging can be fun and exciting.”
Elise says that the term “super ager” was a buzzword that resonated with her and she wanted to know how she could become one. Combining her knowledge and training in healing, yoga and Ayurveda, she decided to “put together something that helps people to age well and feel good about it.” This curiosity and desire spurred her to write Super Ager, You Can Look Younger, Have More Energy, A Better Memory, and Live a Long and Healthy Life, released this summer.
“I think people are confused about aging,” Elise explains. “The comment I get most from people who read my book is, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize aging could be fun or something to look forward to.’ I think we have so many limiting beliefs about aging. There is so much programming and people have not questioned their own beliefs around aging, which in my opinion seem to be stuck in the past. I think people are sooooo hungry for role models and examples of Super Agers. I think we are entering an era in which how ‘awake’ and conscious you are is more important than your age.”
Elise offers advice about how to become a Super Ager:
1) Accept where you are right now at any age.
2) Know that it is never too late to change. You probably have some healthy habits and some not so healthy habits. Some things that you want to try, but are perhaps afraid that you are too ‘old.’ What small step can you take today to become a little healthier, or is there something fun that you have wanted to try? Could it be a change in your attitude? Taking a walk? Doing some jumping jacks or eating more veggies? Acting? Dorothy Steel who starred as the elder in Black Panther didn’t start acting until she was 88 years old. Start with one tiny, positive change and stick with that new habit until it is second nature.
3) Remember your attitude is the most important part of Super Aging. And behind that is your purpose. What is your reason for living? What brings you joy? If you don’t know, then you probably won’t want to Super Age.
So what brings Elise Collins joy in fulfilling her purpose? “I love working with people of all ages and backgrounds. I really love young people and that is a trait of Super Agers. They like to keep up with what is new. That is me. I love the future! I love to work with groups in yoga classes and workshops and while coaching. People transform better in community. There is a group energy that you can’t get in one on one.” As a member and vice president of the WNBA, Elise enjoys being in a supportive community and inspiring women writers.
As an energetic Super Ager, Elise is enrolled in the University of Southern California, Masters of Gerontology Program, and says her next book will be on intergenerational yoga, ways to bring together children, parents and grandparents. She adds, “We need more activities, besides eating and staring at screens that will bring multiple generations together.”
Elise’s holistic view of aging will shift the way people think of themselves and the world. Potentially, it will keep anyone vibrant, energetic and sharp well into their 60’s, 80’s, 100’s and beyond, able to experience a profound life phase of meaning, wisdom and enjoyment.
Elise Marie Collins has been a visionary yoga teacher for twenty years, inspiring students and clients to form healthy lifestyle patterns. She has also authored three books to encourage readers to optimize their well being and longevity, her latest being the life changing text, Super Ager: You Can Look Younger, Have More Energy, A Better Memory, and Live a Long and Healthy Life. You can find more about her at EliseMarieCollins.com