When 96-year-old Ida Herbert breezed into Toronto recently to teach a special yoga class, she didn’t really think she was anything that special. But the students who eagerly awaited her arrival—mostly women half her age—knew better, and the four-foot-ten bespectacled Herbert didn’t disappoint.
“Do you watch Dr. Oz?” she gleefully shouts to the class, referring to one of her idols. “Say hello to him!” Then, as if to prove the good doctor’s pronouncement—that doing yoga keeps us young—she deftly leads the women through sun salutations, downward dogs, “the mighty cobra,” and more, all seamlessly tied by her ujjayi breaths and pearls of wisdom.
“Take a breath and enjoy yoga!” says Herbert, designated the oldest living yoga teacher by the 2013 edition of Guinness World Records, as she closes her eyes and raises her arms and legs for a five-minute navasana (boat pose), arduous for many even a quarter her age. “Collapse if you have to,” she continues, “there’s no shame in it.”
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