We love Ida! Now this nonagenarian stuff is getting real, and it’s awesome to the 90th degree. First it was Bernice Bates, then it was Tao Porchon-Lynch, then Mabes and Esther and now it’s 96-year-old Ida Herbert declared the oldest yoga teacher by the Guinness World Records. (Of course we can’t forget 93-year-old BKS Iyengar.)
Ida is a Toronto native who started doing yoga back in the late 1940’s at a health club and has been teaching the practice for almost 30 years. She retired last year from her YMCA gig and focuses now on the spry students of the Bayshore Village area near Orillia, Ont. ranging in age from 50s to their 80s. You may even be lucky enough to spot her doing her own practice in the park decked out in leotard, tights and signature cat-eye glasses.
“Yoga’s wonderful for your body, and it’s also wonderful for the interior. You can be so quiet and peaceful as you exercise,” Herbert says.
“It’s made me very physically very flexible, and inside, it’s made me look at circumstances in a peaceful way,” she says. “Things won’t make me quite so angry as they used to.”
Herbert, who arises every day at 5:30am to do her practice, is not only a dedicated teacher, but a devoted student.
“I wouldn’t be without it. If I do my sun salutations, and I do two or three of those in the morning, I feel so much better. I go into the kitchen and get my breakfast and I don’t give a hoot,” she says with a laugh.
You have to heart Ida, for she’s a jolly good yogini! And wouldn’t you know, she picked up the practice learning poses from a woman at the health club and found that the physical practice led to something deeper.
“That started me going on the physical part, and once I acquired the physical part, I learned what I could do inside.” she says. “Keep my mind quiet, and my heart would slow down, my pulse would slow down, too, and there was a genuine quietness inside and peacefulness outside.”
Dig it. Keep putting on those navy bodysuits and tights, Ida!