When you think of a 97-year-old woman, do you think of someone frail and sickly confined to a hospital bed with feeding tubes? Or do you think of someone strong and energetic who can do a shoulder stand with her legs reaching for the sky?

Most of us can’t imagine living into our 90’s but according to statistics gathered by the Social Security Administration, “About one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95.”

What this means is that this could be you! And if you’re younger than 65 today, this could definitely be you.

But there’s a strange paradox happening in our society at large right now. The American Diet is anything but healthy and nutritious and yet modern medicine intervenes enough to keep us going for longer than ever before in the history of mankind.

But the question is do we want to just “keep going” like half-dead machines running on old batteries? Or, if some of us are going to live until 100 anyway, how can we live with vigor and flow and joy and ease in our bodies and smiles on our faces?

The answer is by changing our habits into positive, healthy, energy-enhancing, life-giving, ones instead of habits that drain our energy and deplete our reserves. And yoga is just one (highly effective) way to start doing that.

The inspiration behind this post was a video circulating the net of a 97-year-old woman, Nanammal, from Coimbatore, in Tamil Nadu, India, who practices yoga every day and eats simple, clean, healthy food.

Lying on her back, Nanammal can do a shoulder stand with her legs reaching to the sky or reach her legs over her head. Seated on the floor she can reach her toes with her hands while resting her belly on her knees. She is not a contortionist. She’s a devout yogi.

Nanammal says, “If we do yoga, then we don’t have to spend money at hospitals. I am 97-years-old. I have never stepped into a hospital and never taken medicines.”

She is a renowned yoga practitioner in India and an inspiration to us all of a dedicated life practice consisting of healthy daily habits that can lead to the type of longevity that we all envy.

Another incredibly inspiring world-renowned 97-year-old woman is French-Indian, Tao Porchon-Lynch, who is the oldest yoga teacher in the world and still teaches six to eight yoga classes a week in Westchester, New York.

“There is so much to do and if we spend our time just sitting there like this (she hunches her shoulders over) it’s not going to help at all,” says Porchon-Lynch says who has been practicing yoga for six decades and continues to inspire and teach yogis worldwide.

She says, “Every morning I get up and I don’t think about what I’m going to do tomorrow or today or what I did yesterday, I think it’s going to be the best day of my life. Don’t procrastinate, don’t say I’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes.”

Porchon-Lynch and Nanammal are true testaments to the fact that beauty comes from within and age is but a state of mind. Through the daily practice of yoga, these two women teach us that anything is possible, at any age, and that our bodies are made to stretch, move, and be flexible way longer than we may think…like…forever.

Beginning a daily yoga practice is one of the best ways to create healthy habits for your body and your mind. You don’t have to get stuck thinking long-term about all the yoga poses your body can’t yet do. Instead, start today by respecting where your body is at.

Yoga is one of the best holistic practices that nourishes your mind-body-soul all at once. Yoga keeps your body limber, your lymph system healthy, your central nervous system calm, your muscles toned, your mind clear, your heart beating strong and your spirit glowing.
Simply put, it’s GREAT for your mental, spiritual and physical health. So…

Here are 3 simple yoga poses to help you begin a daily yoga practice for life:

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your toes spread wide and pressing down on all four corners of your feet. Roll your shoulders back and stretch  your let your arms hang by your sides. Then activate your hands by spreading your fingers wide apart with your palms facing forward. Engage your core and don’t arch your lower back. Hold this position for ten deep breaths in and ten deep breaths out. Slowly come out of the pose.

  • Downward Dog Pose (Adho mukha svanasana)

Get down on the ground onto all fours with your hands and knees shoulder-and-hips-width apart. Walk your hands forward and spread your fingers wide. Press your toes firmly into the ground and lift your hips up to the sky with your knees slightly bent. Try to get your heels to press on the ground at the same time. Hold for five deep breaths in and five deep breaths out. Slowly come out of the pose by walking your feet to your hands and standing up rolling your body gently up one vertebrae at a time.

  • Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Sit on your heels with your knees stretched before you. Bend forward, rolling your belly onto your knees while gently moving your legs apart to form a “v” shape so your toes are touching each other. Extend your arms in front of you, pressing your palms flat on the ground and resting your forehead on the ground. Hold for ten deep breaths in and ten deep breaths out. Come out of the pose by walking your hands back to your knees and slowly rolling your body up to a seated position.

“Nothing is impossible…whatever you want to do in life, just tune in and you’ll know that within you is the answer to everything…” — Tao Porchon-Lynch

*NOTE: The woman featured in this blog post’s image is neither of the women mentioned in this post.

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