V. Nannammal is reportedly India’s oldest yoga teacher, which is very likely true, as she’s 97-years-old. She’s also believed to be the yoga teacher with the highest number of students, with over 1 million students. Watching any kind of yoga video usually makes me feel a bit horrible about unfit self, but Nannammal’s videos feel almost bizarre, given the ease with which the nonagenarian contorts herself into the most complex and knotty-looking positions.
She lives in Coimbatore, and has been practising yoga all her life. All her family members both practice and teach yoga. This report by Onmanorama lists out a few of her daily habits, including waking up at 4.30 AM and drinking a half-litre of water, giving yoga lessons from 7 AM to 10 AM, ragi porridge for breakfast (which she says is good for old people, unlike fast food, which she believes is ‘a main reason for all kinds of illnesses’. She has some form of spinach with her lunch, and finishes dinner, which consists of half a cup of milk and honey with some fruits, by 7.30 PM. I don’t think I will ever be able to do any of these things, but it’s always good to know.
Nannammal also performs a martial art form called Silambattam or Vadithallu (stick fighting), which of course reminds us of Kerala’s Meenakshiamma, the world’s oldest teacher of the traditional Kerala martial arts form, Kalaripayattu.