Yoga at 91: How to Live Your Fullest Life
So, have you heard about Bernie Bates: the Guinness World Record holder of oldest yoga instructor—at 91? Yep. At 105 pounds, 5-feet 2-inches, and in excellent health, Bates shared with NBC News contributor Lisa Flam “I’ve never had anything I had to go to the doctor for, except checkups. That should say something.”
She begins her day practicing vinyasa—before even getting out of bed. “…A series of seven or eight postures that gets her blood flowing. She puts her arms above her head for a stretch and a yawn, pulls her knees to her chest, ‘walks’ the ceiling with her feet and stretches her shoulders and hands,” Flam said.
Bates’ eight-minute morning routine helps her get ready to walk first thing in the morning. “Instead of slopping around … you’re ready to go,” Bates shared. “I think yoga is the best exercise there is.”
She’s had an active life—and still enjoys swimming laps. She started practicing and teaching hatha yoga in 1960. And her passion carried her through the years to the Guinness Book of World Records. She especially loves that yoga is non-competitive and it “involves the whole body — muscles, ligaments, organs, she says, and gives you energy without exhausting your body,” Flam wrote.
Bates’ feelings and experience with yoga are in fact backed up by the medical world. In an article titled “Yoga: Fight Stress and Find Serenity,” the Mayo Clinic shared that “Yoga is considered a mind-body type of complementary and alternative medicine practice. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety.”
Utilizing poses: “a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility” and breathing, which “signifies your vital energy, controlling breathing can help you control your body and quiet your mind,” the Mayo Clinic wrote.
Potential health benefits of yoga span from stress reduction to improved fitness to managing chronic conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, pain, anxiety, and insomnia. The Mayo Clinic also included that practicing yoga on a regular basis may help reduce the risk of injury—which is great news for many athletes.
Men’s Fitness recently blogged about 10 major athletes who practice yoga to improve focus, self-control, flexibility, strength, and mindfulness. Dropping names like Coach K, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team, and Ray Lewis, they focused on the fact that yoga is beneficial for all athletes—male and female. And apparently, age doesn’t separate yoga enthusiasts either.
So take the lead from athletes and record breakers, yoga could be the next great thing for your training.