Yoga is often considered a young person’s game, partly because all the pictures and videos we see of the practice feature young teachers. The truth is yoga is practiced by people of all ages and benefits even those who only practice once a week. These senior yogis are shattering the stereotype that yoga is for young adults and showing us what it really means to age gracefully.
Tao is now 97 years old and has been practicing yoga for over 70 years. Even though she’s been teaching for nearly 50 years, she says she still considers herself a beginner and states she’s still learning. It just goes to show there’s always something new to learn about yoga, whether you’ve just started practicing or been practicing your whole life.
Vera teaches yoga to Alzheimer’s patients in Florida, and even though she’s 96 years old, she says she has no intention of slowing down. Vera began teaching yoga in the ‘80s and actually attended her first class in borrowed tights. Everyone starts somewhere. Even the most seasoned yogis started off clueless like the rest of us. Vera focuses on the fact that yoga isn’t just about movement. It’s about breathing and daily meditation. Yoga is just as much a mental and spiritual experience as it is a physical one.
Kazim is a 95-year-old yogi who thinks everyone could live to be 130 years old if they took good care of their bodies. Kazim says yoga helped him recover after breaking his back.
The injury should have left him paralyzed from the waist down, but he claims by practicing yoga and using gentle stretches he was able to begin walking again 9 months after his injury. While I don’t know if practicing yoga could allow everyone to live to 130, there’s plenty of evidence to show yoga is great exercise for everyone, senior citizens included.
At 87 years old Daphne Selfe is the world’s oldest supermodel and practices her own form of yoga every day. She says her exercise is a mix of yoga and ballet and that staying in motion keeps her flexible. Daphne’s tips for ageless beauty? Keep it natural and stay positive. She says there’s always a reason to look on the bright side.
Germán started practicing yoga at 15 when he was diagnosed with arthritis after experiencing joint pain. Now 76 years old, Germán has an entire room in his home dedicated to literature about yoga and says meditation is one thing he’s learned over the years that he couldn’t do when he started practicing. Germán has focused on learning to control his breath over the years and says practicing yoga regularly is the most important aspect of practice to reach “personal transformation.”
Older yogis show us one of the most important facts about yoga. Yoga is for everyone, and it’s never too late to start. Even though these yogis have been practicing for decades there’s nothing stopping you from beginning your practice right now. Yoga is an activity that encourages constant reflection and patience. Taking your practice one step at a time and working within your abilities is how you build up to a long and healthy practice and a happier life.