While Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing 30,000 people on Yoga Day, there is an old yoga teacher aged 99 in Tamil Nadu who might have stretched her body, raised her hands and bent her knee, and had performed the Utkastasana. Yes, you read it right. V Nanammal, the 99-year-old yoga expert from Tamil Nadu, is perhaps the oldest Yoga guru in India. She can bend into any yoga posture effortlessly, making her age just a number.
The oldest Yoga Teacher
Nanammal or yoga paati still travels around the world, inspiring people of all ages. The yoga postures are the tradition in her family that has been passed on for generations now. It was her grandparents who got her started at a younger age of 10, by setting an example themselves. It is believed all 36 members in her family, including her children and grandchildren, deeply practice yoga and some even teach to others. It is said that she manages to instruct 100 students daily, from all age groups whether old or young. She even teaches some tricky asanas like the headstand and handstand pose which is normally considered tricky.
Instructing asanas to her students, “Stand still, and raise your hands above your head, bend forward, and touch your toes; don’t bend your knees.” There is no sign of tiredness as she performs yoga with her students. Each morning, she teaches them how to bend, stretch and master some of the most difficult yoga poses like kandharasana or sirshasana.
She explains that there are more than 80 lakh yoga asanas, of which only about 1,000 asanas remain.
Her daily lifestyle
She strictly recommends performing Yoga before sunrise facing the east or during sunset, facing the west. It is because according to her, the sky is filled with rich infrared rays that help your body heal. She wakes up 5 am every day and practices yoga after drinking some water and cleaning her teeth with Neem twigs. After that, she eats a simple breakfast in the morning, which will have porridge(oatmeal) made with millets, greens(Spinach or green veggies) and rice for lunch, and milk and fruits for dinner. Her impressive lifestyle has made her immune to diseases like dementia, loss of hearing ability and poor eyesight.
Nanammal was earlier given Yoga Ratna Award by the Karnataka state Govt. while receiving it, she performed in front of a 20,000-strong audience. In 2016 she was also given the Nari Shakti Puraskar by the President of India, followed by the Padma Shri last year.