Ageless: Lessons from Ida and Esther

Age is just a number…a demarcation that allows those who like to put things in categories a means to do so. If I stop to think how old I am, I might pause and say—Really? How did that happen!?! But honestly, I do not think about how old or how young I am. I think about how I feel. How I feel is something I can determine.

There are two women that have come onto my radar this year. They are both in their 90s. If you have been in a yoga class of mine in the past few months you may have heard me proclaim that my hero is Ida—Ida Herbert is the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records oldest yoga teacher. She hails from Toronto, teaches classes at her retirement home, and can hold boat pose for FIVE MINUTES. Esther Rabinowitz is a New Yorker who loves to dance. I just learned of Esther through a friend who shared a recent NYTimes article on her. She teaches the Lindy Hop and Jitterbug at the neighboring senior center—wearing outfits as colorful as her personality.

I loved learning about these women—they are an inspiration to say the least, but you may think the inspiration comes because of their age. While I admit that did strike me, what hit me more strongly was their appreciation and passion for life. Both Ida and Esther are described as full of energy! It is that energy that has kept them moving, kept them engaged, and kept them connected. It is also that energy that inspires me.

Ida has her pearls of wisdom that she eagerly shares with her classes—while her students try to keep pace with her stamina. One Ida proclamation: “Collapse if you have to, there’s no shame in that!” And it is Esther who says, “I start my day each morning by looking in the mirror and being happy.” They did not have to become 90-something to figure out this wisdom. That ageless wisdom has reconfirmed itself each day—as they continue to put forth their energy in the belief that life is worth living—fully.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of change shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

Bob Dylan

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