Vera Paley has been a yoga instructor since 1982 after retiring from her career as a college bookstore manager, and at 91, she teaches almost daily in Boca Raton, Fla. at the Louis and Anne Green Memory & Wellness Center at the Florida Atlantic University. The facility is a research and day-care site for patients with Alzheimer’s and related diseases, according to a report by SunSentinel.com.
A widow and mother of a 59-year-old son, Paley is 5 feet tall and 106 pounds. She only takes medication for high blood pressure and acid reflux, but does take about 10 vitamins a day, as well as a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement to keep her joints strong – and she enjoys a glass of red wine each night before dinner, she told the newspaper.
“I’m not a vegetarian. I eat salads, vegetables and chicken,” she said in the report. “I think I’m where I am because of what I do. Yoga is not just moving. It’s breathing and daily meditation.”
Dotty Zevin, owner of the Yoga Center of Deerfield Beach where Paley takes classes, told the Sun Sentinel that Paley is one of the nation’s experts in chair yoga, which modifies classic yoga postures so they can be done sitting in a chair, and Paley even made a DVD in 2004 of a 24-minute yoga class.
“She understands the meaning of the poses, that they’re not just physical exercises,” Zevin said in the newspaper report. “She is committed to her purpose in life, to serve.”
Despite her age, Paley told the newspaper she can still do the same challenging yoga postures she learned in her 40s, including the shoulder stand, Pigeon and Rabbit. However, she modifies them, similar to the alterations made for chair yoga, the report stated.
“I do them in a more gentle way,” Paley said. “It makes me feel relaxed, comfortable and gently stretched out. I feel at peace.
Visit SunSentinel.com to view a video of Paley in action!