Even in the 80’s when yoga was not so popular, V. Nannammal, a yoga teacher from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, was popular in the country. She, in her 60s at that time, was considered as a miracle lady because of her ability to do intricate yogasanas with the energy and grace of a 16-year-old.
Today at 97, Nannammal keeps defying her age by giving yoga lessons to her disciples with the same vigor. She learned yoga at the age of 8 from her father, who was an expert in martial arts. Nannammal says: “Yoga is in my blood. I have never had a day in my life without practicing yoga, and it definitely is the secret of my health.”
Nannammal's daily routine
Nannammal believes that by incorporating yoga and nature into life, one can stay away from most of the diseases.
» This nonagenarian wakes up at 4.30am.
» Starts her day by drinking half liter of plain water.
» By 7am, she is all ready to give yoga lessons, which goes on till 10am.
» This great grandmother of yoga loves spending time with her family. After yoga session, Nannammal takes classes in natural methods of living; she also prescribes some natural remedies to those who visit her with health problems.
» Nannammal is not great fan of dosa or idli for breakfast, she likes to have porridge made with ragi (millet).
According to her, ragi, rich in calcium and fibre, is very good for old people. She only eats vegetables cultivated in her own field. She is against having fast-food, 'a main reason for all kinds of illnesses'.
» A spinach variety is a must for lunch.
» Nannammal finishes her dinner, which consists of half-a-cup of milk mixed with honey, turmeric and some fruits, by 7pm.
1 million and counting
With 10 lakh (1 million) disciples and counting, Nannammal is believed to be the yoga teacher with most number of students. This number would have gone much higher, had the barrier created by language not forced Nannammal to decline invitations from many international yoga associations - she does not know English.
Everybody in Nannammal’s family practices yoga and they are also yoga trainers. She is really happy that her family and disciples are keen to preserve this tradition by popularizing yoga. This grandmother for whom age is just a number is also very good in the martial art form called Silambattam or Vadithallu (Stick fighting). Nammal feels that she can never describe the qualities of yoga in words; she wants youngsters to experience wellbeing and peace of mind through yoga.
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