Bernice Mary Bates of FL now holds the World Record for being the oldest yoga teacher, according to the World Records Academy. Oh there have been other contenders, and Bernice herself quipped to Huff Po, “I’m sure there’s a 100-year-old guy in India who can probably beat me,” says the 91-year-old. Frankly, we’re not going to nitpick sweaters over who the official oldest is…she’s 91! Practicing and teaching yoga! Fantastic.
Bernice, born in 1920, started teaching yoga in 1960 and still teaches her “kids” at the Mainlands Retirement Community Center in Pinellas Park, Florida. When presented with the record certificate Bernice was over the half-moon and said “I’m truly overwhelmed. I’ll continue with Yoga for as long as I can.” She then proceeded to celebrate with a series of yoga poses and the world’s longest headstand held by a 91-year-old woman in a pink velour track suit.*
*not confirmed by records officials.
Side note: Several commenters have pointed out Tao Porchon-Lynch who’s in her 90s as well as someone else you may have heard of, BKS Iyengar, who’s about to turn 93 in December. We don’t know the criteria for the World Records Academy, but we would like to give a hearty YD salute to you, Tao and Mr. Iyengar, and every one of you fabulous yoga crones. Namaste.
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BKS Iyengar! He’s 92!
haha.. you’re totally right. wonder if he somehow is disqualified for the records. hmmm
Perhaps because he no longer teaches official classes on a regular schedule?
Soon to be 93 in December! And he began practicing in his teens. Far longer practice than this woman. Although, she certainly is also inspirational! The World Records Academy just didn’t do a very good job.
Tao Porchon-Lynch, who’s based in Westchester, is already 93. (She has studied with Mr. Iyengar, actually.) She’s teaching at Kripalu in just a couple of weeks – details http://www.taoporchon-lynch.com. They’re all amazing.
Now let’s get the World Records Academy set up with internet access and Google.
Bless our elderly yoga teachers. May we one day have their wisdom, experience and ability to still teach at that age!
Guruji BKS Iyengar turns a glorious 93 today, Dec 14.
A true Yogi, tirelessly and selflessly Spreading the Light of Yoga for all of Mankind, while still treading, but ever-so-lightly, on Mother Earth !