Bette Calman is a revelation: yoga teacher, positivity machine and lifetime advocate of all things breathing and bendy. We asked her a few questions about what her yoga practice means to her.
alexis: how and when did you begin practicing yoga?
bette: Once when I was very young, I saw yogi standing on his head. I tried it and liked the sensations it gave me, particularly taking the tiredness in the legs and feet and how it made me feel mentally alert. From time to time I would belt myself against the wall and do it for a little while, always with the same good results. Years later, I was working in the hotel business which required me to be on my feet for long hours every day; at night I would do a headstand against the wall to relieve my tiredness. Then one day, I saw an advertisement for Hatha Yoga in Sydney and I went along. I liked everything I saw and what the man called Michael Volin was saying. I went and I never stopped attending classes. There were seven people in that first class.
alexis: has your practice changed over the years?
bette: Not greatly, because a class is involved with every part of the body, mind, emotions and spirituality. My body is still the same only I can do the postures better all the time! Yoga is not only physical - it helps us on every level. It helps us look at life more positively.
alexis: how has yoga affected your vitality?
bette: Everyone who gets onto the "Yoga Road" improves on every level if they really apply themselves. I believe yoga offers a high level of health and vitality.
alexis: what would you tell someone of any age who wants to take up yoga?
bette: I would advise them to try and also not to be in a hurry - Rome wasn't built in a day! In the long years of teaching classes to people of every age, including classes to the blind and disabled, as long as they attend class they improve. It's when people overdo things that their path is slower. I've never seen Hatha yoga hurt anyone if they are sensible.
I'm 87 on May 3rd. I don't have one stiff part of my body. I can do what I've always done, in some instances not as well and in other cases better. Yoga breathing is the most important aspect in every part of my life.
We have one word: wow. Thanks for sharing your practice with us, Bette!