meet bette calman

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! 

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that’s so awesome:) I hope to be doing yoga at her age too!

Comment by Michelle — April 22, 2013 @ 11:09 pm

Bette, you are such an inspiration! I pray that my practice will also carry me gracefully, with health and vitality, into my eighties.

Comment by Madeline — April 23, 2013 @ 12:00 am

Bette – you are an inspiration.

Comment by Olivia — April 23, 2013 @ 12:08 am

I live in a small town in rural Atlantic Canada. Our local yoga instructor is also a very ‘young’ 85-year-old. I owe much to her for introducing me to the freedom of the body through her excellent yoga classes. Thank you for posting Bette’s story.

Comment by Deborah Murray-Butland — April 23, 2013 @ 3:00 am

So uplifting — I hope to look like Bette Calman when I grow to be her
age .. She is an inspiration .. Happy Mothers Day, to her and all the other inspiring mothers out there !

Comment by Carole Rothman — April 23, 2013 @ 3:30 am

What an inspiration to all ages! Thank you Bette, for making my day, and truly living the Lulu manifesto.

Comment by E — April 23, 2013 @ 3:42 am


Comment by Betsy Carson — April 23, 2013 @ 3:42 am

so inspirational. I turn 60 one week later and all I can hope and work towards is an inspirational life fashioned after bette. great great great… living the life you were meant to live..

Comment by gigi — April 23, 2013 @ 3:55 am

Wow..I wanna be Bette!

Comment by Lori Rudman — April 23, 2013 @ 4:04 am

Bette – You are a true inspiration, Namaste!

Comment by Dawn Blair — April 23, 2013 @ 4:40 am

Wow! What an amazing interview! Bette is a true inspiration!

Comment by Kelly — April 23, 2013 @ 4:41 am

Looking for a high rise pant like Sinny Will’s. same in a colorful choice for summer. In shorts too please.

Comment by Diane — April 23, 2013 @ 4:50 am

I will soon be 73 and have taken Yoga several times over the years. Get sidetracked and return again. This time I’ve been active for 3 years and just signed up for two classes a week. Hope I can look and feel as good as Bette when I reach her age.

Comment by Lottie Parker — April 23, 2013 @ 4:56 am

Wow! Thank you for posting this! I’ve taken a short break due to a shoulder injury but this reminded me how I need to keep yoga a priority! You rock, Bette!

Comment by mamaotwo — April 23, 2013 @ 5:28 am

I love this. Surprised the heck out of me but made me smile this morning. Hopefully you will feature all kinds on your site. Minorities and disabled included.

Comment by Nydia Robin — April 23, 2013 @ 5:35 am

I am allowed to say……HOLY SHIT!!! She IS Badass Betty. She needs a special t shirt with her title on it!

Comment by TB — April 23, 2013 @ 5:44 am

Inspiration…power and a smile! That’s what this Bad Ass Bette gave me this morning! Bravo Bette! Thank u Lulu. Great to see this women representing your company! Holly

Comment by Holly Moebius — April 23, 2013 @ 5:57 am

true inspiration! :)

Comment by alicia — April 23, 2013 @ 5:58 am

What a great story!

Lulu, do you make any clothes that would be good for grama’s? I went in with my grama the other day and she felt really uncomfortable in all of the pants – the distance from the crotch to the waist wasn’t long enough.

Comment by flurry — April 23, 2013 @ 6:40 am

so inspiring…the perfect way to start my day…reading about bette and yoga! thank you for sharing this story!

Comment by terri — April 23, 2013 @ 7:01 am

What an inspiration!! I worked in the medical industry and most 87 year olds I knew were in wheelchairs and on oxygen therapy. I will NEVER stop my yoga practice! Thank you Bette. :)

Comment by Nikki — April 23, 2013 @ 7:34 am

What an inspiration Bette is. Love her philosophy.

Comment by Lezli Miles — April 23, 2013 @ 7:38 am

Thanks Bette!I started yoga at 60 and am grateful everyday for my practice.When I got RA at 64 I thought I would be unable to continue with it but instead it has helped me get through a lot of pain. I may not be all that bendy anymore but I wouldn’t give up my yoga for anything!

Comment by Lesley Cassandras — April 23, 2013 @ 8:04 am

You rock in every sense of the word!! Thanks for being such an inspiration!! I love & embrace yoga & Pilates!!

Comment by Kathryn — April 23, 2013 @ 8:08 am

She’s SO CUTE!!

Comment by Laura — April 23, 2013 @ 8:39 am

Beautiful and fit at any age. Whooo hooo Bette!

Comment by Shery Tibbs — April 23, 2013 @ 8:46 am

Wow! Thank you to Bette for the greatest inspiration!

Comment by Jill — April 23, 2013 @ 8:48 am

Bette is an inspiration to all of us!!!

Comment by Louise Pollock — April 23, 2013 @ 9:36 am

All women should take of themselves like you have. You are a wonderful example of that. I better get on track.

Comment by Charis — April 23, 2013 @ 9:41 am

Hey Flurry,
Thanks for the Bette love! Did you guys check out the Free Fall Crop: They have a longer distance in this area and may be great option. Let us know what you think!
~ Somerlea
gec social media team

Comment by lululemon athletica GEC — April 23, 2013 @ 10:26 am

I love this story, I am 26 and recently started doing a regular yoga practice, Bette is such an inspiration, when I’m in my eighties I hope to have such a positive outlook on life and such vitality… a true inspiration to continue practicing yoga

Comment by Jade — April 23, 2013 @ 11:02 am

Truly inspirational. I thought I was badass, becoming certified as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist at the age of 64. This woman sets the bar very high! Go Bette!

Comment by Kathleen McLaughlin — April 23, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

How inspiring! Thank you, Bette, for making me realize I don’t have to do everything when I’m young… Hopefully I’ll be just as active and positive as you when I’m 87!

Comment by Leslie — April 23, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

I love her simple explanation for the benefits – “Everyone who gets onto the “Yoga Road” improves on every level.”
happy yogis often seem like a big secret, but it’s not – practice yoga, live better.

Comment by Lindsay — April 23, 2013 @ 7:21 pm

What a inspirational lady!

Comment by Ashleigh — April 23, 2013 @ 8:03 pm


Comment by Karin — April 24, 2013 @ 9:24 am

Thanks for sharing this. Bette is so wise. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The yogic path can be bumpy, slow and even fast at times. We’re continually expanding each time we hit our mat – whether we see tangible results in that instance or not. :)

Comment by christi — April 24, 2013 @ 10:28 am

I love her! One of the most inspiring stories I have seen. Please print more like this!

Comment by Trish — April 24, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

What an inspiration you are for me! Your message hit me deeply just a few short moments ago. Next Thursday I am undergoing a rare brain decompression surgery for my Arnold Chiari malformation. I am a personal trainer and began my business in Kailua, HI. My husband is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army. Fitness has been a part me me for all my life through yoga, dance, and fitness training. This past November I lost my ability to walk normally, have suffered severe headaches, numbness throughout my body, lost speech and several cognitive abilities. Daily yoga and meditation has always been my stress relief. My life has change so suddenly and drastically. There are times I wonder if my body will always have this “new normal” but I keep fighting and educating myself. Organic, vegetarian foods are my go to for me and my family of four children. I have always pictured myself to look and feel just like you throughout the years. Today you have once again given me encouragement to go through this rare surgery in hopes of filling shoes similar to yours. Thank you for sharing your story and being such a wonderful inspiration to all women and Lululemon lovers. ;-) Many warm hugs!
Christine Moon

Comment by Christine Moon — April 24, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

What an encouraging testimony to the lifelong benefits of being phycially active! I think Lulu should feature more grannies. So inspiring!

Comment by abbie — April 25, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

Yay Bette! I hope to be still standing on my head in twenty-seven more years! I hope to be getting better and better with my yoga as I age too! (I will be 60 this year!) Yes Lululemon- let’s have an “over 50″ catalog shoot and publish it for next mother’s day!
I will send in my photos! :-)

Comment by Cheryl — April 26, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

Reading her story gives me inspiration and hope. Love to read and hear about women like Bette who make us pause and recalibrate. Bette wish you a very happy birthday. Take care.

Comment by Almas — April 26, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

Bette, thank you for inspiring my day! What a gift you are!

Comment by sherri — April 27, 2013 @ 4:13 am

Love this interview … very inspirational ! Thank you Bette !

Comment by carla — April 27, 2013 @ 9:01 am

I wish people wouldn’t write things like “she’s so cute!” Seems demeaning, though I’m sure it’s not intentional. What she is is a gorgeous badass.

Comment by Emily — April 27, 2013 @ 8:51 pm

Wow..she is an inspiration…

Comment by Diane — April 29, 2013 @ 11:47 pm

What an inspiration!!!! I started yoga when I was 53. Thirteen years later, I am SUCH a believer. I can’t imagine my life without it. My advise to anyone starting yoga is to take it slow, learn the postures and the breathing. Yoga enables me to do any other activity I choose to do. It keeps my body limber and strong.

The effects of the breathing was a surprise. I thought it was silly when I first began my practice. I am very Type A. I soon found it helped me with long distance biking. The breathing helped oxygen get to my oxygen starved body parts. Then I found out it helped me go back to sleep in the middle of the night. Now, if I get tense, I find it helps me relax.

I hope I will be like Bette and still be vibrant when I am 87. I know the only way that will happen is with yoga. I hope to see another post from Bette when she is 95!

Comment by kathleen — April 30, 2013 @ 5:32 am

Hi Bette!

What grace and elegance of energy,it’s people like yourself that make the world a better place. Thank you for helping us all, to have the strength to better ourselves.


Comment by Kimberly — April 30, 2013 @ 5:56 am

This is awesome to have someone featured here that doesn’t “fit” the mold of the all the yogi models we usually see!

She not only inspires me but I am grateful to see her here!

Comment by Michelle — April 30, 2013 @ 7:06 am

Amazing , truly inspirational and motivational! I love this woman – she is a testimonial to the benefits of exercise all through life! Love this! I aspire to be Bette too if lucky enough to still be here at that age!

Comment by Sheelagh — April 30, 2013 @ 10:36 am

Hi Bette,

You are so beautiful!! Smiled when I saw your picture and was moved when I read your story. Couldn’t wait to write a comment. We all need a Bad Ass Bette in our lives. You have reminded me what living a life of significance is all about. ~ Namaste

Comment by Gailzy — May 1, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

Happy Birthday dear Bette!

You are an inspiration to me. Thank you for being you, your positivity is inspirational.

Comment by Margarita — May 3, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

I love you Bette, and you never fail to inspire me.I love your attitude and you can still draw a party crowd. YOU ROCK BETTE!

Comment by cas bukor — May 5, 2013 @ 4:22 am

Fantastic! She reminds me of the 95 year old who regularly attends spinning classes. I’m in my 40s and hope to be able to spin into my 90s!

Comment by Lisa — May 5, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

Mum has always been an inspiration to her students, friends and family.
Everyone who meets with her ~ comes away feeling better… and in todays world, that is a nice gift to have.

Comment by Susanne Calman — May 5, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

A while ago I heard Bette interviewed on the radio and am astounded that she is still in “business”. I started yoga at Westbeach surf club and then studied with Michael for a long time.If possible I would like to have a brief email exchange with Bette about Michael Volin and his legacy.Just to clarify who I am I mention that the last time I saw Bette was at his funeral.

Comment by raymond rochow — July 12, 2013 @ 10:57 pm

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