Teaching yoga keeps local woman young

By Becky GINOS bginos@davisclipper.com

BOUNTIFUL—For Donna Vincent age is definitely just a number. She’s turning 90 this month but there’s no rocking chair for her. Vincent stays young by teaching yoga and participating in tap dancing at the Golden Years Senior Center in Bountiful. “When I started going to the senior center I was active in the tap class and they told me they wanted to start a yoga class and asked me if I would teach,” said Vincent. “I told them I wasn’t a teacher. While I was bowling one day the girl who worked there said her grandma was moving from California and she was a yoga teacher. But then she died before she could teach here. I’d promised I’d give it a try if she didn’t come and I’ve been teaching now for 21 years.” Vincent teaches a class every Monday and taps four days a week. “I’ve been with the tap dancers for 24 years,” she said. “I did a little dancing when I was a kid but then I got rheumatic fever and had to quit. This is kind of a revival.” When she was a young mother, she said a woman in the neighborhood was going from house to house teaching dance to children. Vincent’s two daughters started to take lessons and soon she joined in. “She taught me, but finally I asked her to teach me separately because I told her ‘they’re holding me back.’” Vincent and her husband were also avid golfers until he started to suffer from Alzheimer’s. He passed away last year. “I gave it up when he wouldn’t play anymore,” she said. “I played in tournaments and my greatest thrill was when the country club girls played against the city girls and we won.” Her yoga class consists of about 10 people. “I’m very fond of the ladies in my group,” she said. “They’re fun. Occasionally we have one man who comes and he fits in pretty good.” She teaches hatha yoga using props such as blocks, belts, towels, chairs, a table and the wall. “The wall is our friend,” said Vincent. “If it (movement) bothers anyone a bit I tell them to back off. I don’t want them to go any further; we don’t want to put any stress on the heart. We can modify what we’re doing. That is key to an older person.” The correct breathing technique is crucial said Vincent. “Breathing properly brings the body temperature up and warms the body. That’s very important in Utah. Breathing connects the mind to the body. We work on filling all the compartments of the body as we inhale and then we exhale the same way.” It’s important to keep the core strong. “We work on different parts of the body, like the butt – it’s our biggest asset,” Vincent said with a laugh. Vincent reads a lot about yoga to keep up with new trends. “That’s where I get my ideas and keep in touch,” she said. “I pick up new routines to add to the old ones.” She’s not much for meditation though. “Concentrating on breathing, that’s enough meditation. I can’t sit still that long.” Sitting still is definitely not her strong suit. “Raising two girls, doing yoga and remaining active has kept me healthy,” said Vincent. “I’m pretty flexible – better than a lot of people my age.”


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