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The secret behind the fittest nonagenarian

20-06-2017 05:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream


The secret behind the fittest nonagenarian | My Indian Dream

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Nanammal, the country’s oldest yoga teacher leaves us spellbound when, even at 97, she does yoga asanas with ease and reveals that yoga has helped her to be fit and free of medications

Nanammal will soon be turning hundred, but it hasn’t stopped her from teaching yoga to hundreds of students. The proficiency with which she performs yoga asanas defies her age and her fitness and good health even at this ripe age inspires people all over the word to take up yoga for physical well-being and strength.

Nanammal, a resident of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu conducts classes even today. She is the oldest yoga teacher in the country whose amazing flexibility and ability to do tough asanas with ease will leave us all dumbfounded.

The nonagenarian has been practicing yoga since she was 10 years old. When she was 14, she won a competition in the event called “Silambattam” (a weapon-based Indian martial art from Tamil Nadu) at the district level. Later, she started taking yoga lessons from her grandfather and was at once hooked to it. She practiced yoga regularly without fail.


She started taking yoga lessons from her father- in- law after she got married to a Sidha doctor. Although in those days yoga was considered only as the village exercise, Nanammal had taken a liking to it and would daily perform one hour yoga.

One would be surprised to know that Nanammal doesn’t take any medication and has had no health problems until now. She credits yoga for her good health. Due to her love for exercise and yoga, she has not visited a hospital nor taken any medicines.

Nanammal, a mother of five teaches yoga everyday to at least 100 students. She claims that her students ‘feel great‘  after her yoga sessions. A little girl all of six, is her youngest student where as her oldest student is in her 70s.

The students say that although they struggle to do the asanas, they feel inspired to try and master the asanas when they see their teacher performing with ease. The yoga instructor has even developed a legion of admiring students that consistently attend her classes.

The nonagenarian begins each class with about a dozen asanas and ends with guided relaxation exercises followed by meditation. It is interesting to see her support her body on her hands. Nanammal's son V Balakrishnan, who is also a yoga instructor states that his mother can do all the difficult asanas including the painful “peacock” asana where the body is held in a horizontal position by the strength of the arms alone.

S Krupakar Murali, chairman of the Indian Yoga Master Federation had exclaimed that although he has several years of yoga experience, he has not seen a person doing the difficult halasana like Nanammal.

Nanammal looks far too young for her age. She has a positive attitude towards life. It is hard to believe that even at this age she can read tiny letters from magazines. A daily one hour practice of yoga keeps her flexible and healthy.

Her diet includes kanji in the morning, rice and greens for lunch and milk and fruit in the evening.

Gold medals and trophies at the national level, including the first prize for the national event for yoga in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, adorn her house.

She will add another feather to her cap this year, as she has been invited to lead from the front and demonstrate asanas for yoga practitioners on the third International Yoga Day that will be held on June 21 at Kanteerava Outdoor Stadium in Bengaluru.



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