At 97, yoga guru is India’s oldest Padma Shri

V Nanammal — The Grand Old Lady of Yoga — is the oldest recipient of the Padma Shri this year.met the nearly 100-year-old yoga guru who does not wear glasses, has never been to a doctor and can do age defying twists, hauls and bends.

V Nanammal, 98, is perhaps the oldest recipient of the Padma Shri. She was recognised for her life-long service to yoga this Republic Day. In a pink cotton sari, chandan covering most of her forehead, India’s oldest yoga guru makes her way to a room full of trophies and certificates.

Soon, another honour will be added to the collection — the Padma Shri, which was announced on the eve of Republic Day for her service to yoga.At 97, V Nanammal, is thin and walks straight. She can bend and twist, but what is most striking about her is the shine in her eyes and the grace to her smile.

There is also a simplicity about her approach to yoga. A rootedness.Everything in the room is simple. She settles on a cloth carpet spread out on the floor. Tucks her sari, says a small prayer with folded hands and gets down to doing two of her favourite asanas. There was a time she did 50 asanas every day, now she does 10 — every day, without fail.

Yoga is the first thing she has done every morning for as long as she can remember.Her advice is simple — just as you brush your teeth and have a bath daily, do yoga, the same way. Keep a track of your blood sugar level on a daily basis

It is also a tradition she has passed on — 36 members of her family teach yoga and 10,000 yoga instructors have learnt yoga under her tutelage at the Ozone Yoga institute in Coimbatore.

This yoga mother, grandmother, great grandmother has never been to a doctor or hospital.She has never worn glasses. Never had hypertension or diabete. Never broken a bone. Or lost memory. She does not use white sugar, only jaggery.

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