World's Oldest Yoga Teacher Is 91

Bernice Bates can still get her knee to her nose
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2011 8:06 AM CST
In this Dec. 14 photo, 91-year-old Bernice Bates teaches her weekly yoga class at the Mainlands Retirement Community Center in Pinellas Park, Fla.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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(Newser) – Bernice Bates is 91 years old, but she’s probably more flexible than you. She’s been practicing yoga for half a century, and now teaches it once a week at the community center of a Florida retirement village, making her the Guinness World Records’ oldest yoga teacher. In one recent class, the nonagenarian brought her knee to her nose while lying on the floor, a pose that challenges many who are decades younger.

The AP notes that there may be other yogis in the world who are older than Bates, but she was nominated to Guinness by her daughter and completed the extensive documentation process to win the title. She says her classes have helped other senior citizens, many of them decades younger than her, to feel “whole again.” Doctors note that yoga is helpful for seniors because it improves balance, which can prevent falls. Says one, “the idea that just because you are older you have less of a range of motion, that is really not correct.” (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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