Yoga has been a way of life for Bates, 91, for more than half her life: She began practicing and teaching hatha yoga in about 1960. In a fitting tribute to her decades of helping others learn her passion, she recently won the distinction of the Guinness World Record holder of oldest yoga instructor. Guinness says she is the oldest yoga instructor to complete the complex verification process.
It’s an honor, the humble yogi feels, that isn’t hers alone.
“I don’t have this reward by myself,” she said. “I share it with all the students I’ve taught through the years.”
Bates credits yoga with keeping her flexible, fit and healthy.
“I think yoga is the best exercise there is,” says Bates, who has always been active and still swims laps.
“I’ve never had anything I had to go to the doctor for, except checkups,” says Bates, who tips the scale at 105 pounds and is about 5 foot, 2 inches tall. “That should say something.”
Yoga involves the whole body — muscles, ligaments, organs, she says, and gives you energy without exhausting your body.