Yoga, ballet, Pilates instructor, 76, has no plans to retire anytime soon


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Janice Lennard practices “yoga flow,” incorporating dance movement into her yoga.

SENIOR LIFE Courtesy of Bobby Galvan

Janice Lennard doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon as a yoga, ballet and Pilates instructor.

Lennard was born in 1942 in New Orleans and is celebrating her 76th birthday this October. Her philosophy on aging is to “Embrace it with grace and joy … ”

She said she maintains her stamina for the rigors of her teaching, from “… sharing with others the skills which have enabled me to maintain the foundation of my health and stability.”

Between her yoga and Pilates classes in Palm Desert, Calif., she told The Desert Sun that she encourages students who think they are too weak, out of shape or too old.

“You can do it,” she said. “You just have to do it (at) your own pace, moderately. Take your time. When you first start out doing it, don’t try to do anything crazy.”

In an article she wrote for Intent, an online blog, Lennard said she believes in a direct parallelism between spirituality and fitness.

“… The foundation and centeredness achieved through regularly practiced physical activity is attributed to the interlacing of spirituality throughout the entire experience of exercise,” she wrote.

Lennard has been moving and dancing since she was 7 years old — primarily ballet. But yoga later became a passion. She practices “yoga flow,” sometimes incorporating dance into her yoga.

Her exercise videos, one each for yoga, ballet barre and Pilates, simulate being in her classes.

“When I get too old and can’t move, I guess I can watch them and say ‘I really could do that at one time,’ ” she told reporter Barrett Newkirk of The Desert Sun.

She told Essence magazine that yoga helps her grow old gracefully.

“The mind relaxes, and it helps you accept who you are and what you can do. That’s the basic thing I tell my students in class: When you’re doing yoga, you should not strive to do exactly what the instructor is telling you to do; you should instead do it to the best of your ability.”

Lennard said patience is the key to what she has learned through the years.

“Just take everything a day at a time. Don’t try to race your mind and do too much at one time. This is very serious; just take it easy.

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