Can yoga increase longevity? 125-year-old Padma Shri awardee sparks curiosity

Updated on: 23 March 2022, 14:43 pm IST

Padma Shri Swami Sivananda (125), who is the oldest man to receive India’s highest civilian award, reveals how he continues to live a happy and long life.

Yoga guru Swami Sivananda receives the Padma Shri from President Ramnath Kovind. Image courtesy: Twitter/rashtrapatibhvn
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“Can we also live upto 123 years like you?” Swami Sivananda was asked two years ago during a documentary shoot. “No, never,” he responded flatly, adding, “This is kalyug… all are greedy!” At 125 years of age, the yoga guru has become the oldest recipient of the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour.

He made the moment even more special as he knelt and bowed down as a mark of respect to President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi – and needless to say, the video clip has gone viral. Swami Sivananda’s agility at his age has a lot to do with his living, and it has been widely applauded. From industrialist Anand Mahindra to Akshay Kumar, they are all praise for Swami Sivananda. Watch the moment right here!

Swami Sivananda and his lifestyle

A Rashtrapati Bhawan document about the Padma Shri awardee details how Swami Sivananda follows a simple, disciplined and well-regulated life with early morning yoga, oil-free and boiled diet, and selfless service to the mankind. These are what contribute to his “disease-free and tension-free life”.

“Body and mind are interconnected; where there is mind, there is body,” says the man, who who calls himself the happiest man alive, in the documentary clip shot by prolific filmmaker Bharatbala Ganapathy.

The yoga guru, who was born in Sylhet district of undivided India, has traveled to more than 30 countries and serves leprosy affected and underprivileged people. He considers ‘yoga and meditation’ the secret behind his healthy and happy life.

It makes us wonder if yoga really is the secret for people’s longevity? Let’s discover the truth with none other than spiritual guru and yoga master Grand Master Akshar.

padma shri swami sivananda
Yoga can help to promote life span. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Health and wellness should be of the foremost priority, if you want to enjoy longevity. Although there are so many types of fitness forms available today, yoga is unique because of its holistic nature. Yoga is suitable for all age groups, and can be included as part of your routine from the age of five upwards. Yoga has a 360- degree impact on your health, be it physical, mental and spiritual,” he tells HealthShots.

What are the areas that yoga can have a positive impact on?

1. Spine is the key to youthfulness

As you start to grow older, your posture goes from bad to worse. This can cause a host of health issues, as a consequence of poor spinal health. A fragile back is largely due to lack of strength in the lower body, which can lead to decreased energy levels, mood swings, etc. When you practice yoga regularly, and go for asanas, pranayama, and meditate, it brings a certain balance to the mind and body, and helps you live longer.

2. Instills focus and discipline

Yoga is a dynamic wellness tool that brings in discipline. Focus and discipline align the mind and the body, while meditation and breathing exercises, also known as Pranayama help to clear the mind and the body of toxins that can be refreshing to say the least.

Here are some yoga asanas that help promote longevity

1. Hasta uttanasana (raised-arms pose)

Formation of the posture

* Stand straight and lift your arms up.
* Inhale and gently bend back

2. Santolanasana (plank pose)

Formation of the posture

* Start in a table top pose or marjariasana
* Palms to be placed under your shoulders, and pelvis aligned to your knees
* Straighten the knees, and keep your arms straight

padma shri swami sivananda
Plank can boost your stamina as well! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Samakonasana (equal angle pose)

Formation of the posture

* Stand straight and lift your arms up
* Exhale and bring your upper body forward parallel to the ground

On that note, Swami Sivananda also has some advice for all youngsters, “Read all spiritual books, practice yoga regularly, and eat vegetarian food to stay disease-free.”

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.

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