Ont. woman may set world record as oldest yoga instructor
Published Wednesday, August 29, 2012 7:45PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 29, 2012 10:40PM EDT
A 96-year-old Ontario woman is in the running to set a new world record as the world’s oldest yoga teacher.
Ida Herbert first started practicing the physical, mental and spiritual discipline when she was in her 50s and has been hooked ever since.
The Brechin, Ont. resident told CTV News that the daily practice helps keeps her limber.
“As far as my body is concerned, it keeps me flexible. I would stiffen up terribly if I didn’t do it,” she said.
Herbert is such a fan, that she started teaching her own classes when she was in her 70s.
The tiny and lean Herbert continues to lead challenging yoga classes, coaching her students through several tricky, limb-twisting poses -- or “asanas.”
Herbert has even developed a legion of admiring students that consistently fill her classes.
They’ve even taken to calling themselves “Ida’s girls,” after their inspiring teacher who they say can still do poses that they struggle with.
“I’m 66, she calls me a youngster. I aspire to her fitness,” said student Astrid Brute.
“She can do things we still can’t do,” said another student
Herbert’s technique even caught the attention of Toronto’s Breathe Yoga studio, whose owner recently invited the yogi down to lead a class.
During the class the students took to Herbert’s instruction, as well as her radiant character, said owner Svitlana Nalywayko.
“Ida has something magnetic in her personality. People just wanted to be surrounded by her. They wanted to touch her, they wanted a part of Ida,” said Nalywayko. “It was incredibly rewarding to watch.”
But Herbert says she wasn’t always a fitness enthusiast. Before taking up yoga she said she actually hated exercise.
Now, over 40 years and thousands of sun salutations later, Herbert credits yoga with changing her entire outlook on fitness and life.
“I must have subconsciously enveloped that feeling of always wanting to move,” she said.
And while the effects of aging have begun to creep up on Herbert -- the recent widow says she struggles with balance and eyesight problems -- she continues to maintain her positive attitude.
“My age has never stopped me from doing anything,” she said.
With a report from CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip