Vankleek Hill’s ageless wonder Hannah Hamsa made a recent appearance on CTV Ottawa’s noon newscast, demonstrating yoga, exercise and breathing techniques.
Host Leanne Cusack welcomed the 83-year-old local yoga instructor to her daily program ‘The News at Noon’ on Thursday, September 9. The six-minute clip saw Hannah – who is known locally by her first name only – explain the importance of exercise for seniors, along with simple yoga techniques.
The energetic senior had Cusack and viewers chuckling as she veered off script from what host Cusack introduced as a demonstration of simple yoga positions for beginners at home. Rather than start her demonstration, Hannah spoke of the importance of proper breathing.
“My teacher would say you save your mouth for kissing and eating,” Hannah quipped, as she urged viewers to breathe through their noses.
Well-known locally as a fitness buff, Hannah discussed her exercise techniques, proper posture and using light weights to build strength and endurance.
“At any age you can build muscles in the body,” Hannah explained, as she flexed her right arm to show viewers a bicep built up by regular exercise.
The full-length clip of Hannah’s appearance on CTV Ottawa’s ‘The News at Noon’ can be viewed on the CJOH-TV website.
Her appearance on Cusack’s program had been planned for more than a year, said Hannah, who is a personal friend of the CJOH host.. However due to the COVID pandemic it was postponed until Cusack recently reached out.
Hannah remains unbelievably active at 83 years of age, still teaching four yoga classes each week – two at fitness studio Zudio and two others at the Anglican Parish in Vankleek Hill. Many students have been attending her classes for decades and even new students usually know her.
“I just started a new class last Monday that had 17 people and I knew 15 of them,” says Hannah, who particularly loves welcoming those new to her teaching methods. “I love to see somebody new walk though the door, because I know that something in them is going to change.”
Back in the 1960s, Hannah was one of the original members of the Roughrider ‘O’Keefettes’, a baton twirling ensemble sponsored by the O’Keefe beer company. Members of the group were all highly skilled, she recalls, and she dislikes it when someone refers to her as a former Roughrider ‘cheerleader’.
“There’s a really big difference between a baton-twirler and a cheerleader – baton twirlers twirl fire,” Hannah exclaims, as she points to a photo taken of her as a member of the group.
Six decades later, the octogenarian still has the same energy as she did as a young majorette and looks forward to every class she teaches.
“I have a really positive attitude about my wellness and my fitness, so it’s not hard,” Hannah says. “I realize that this energy is not going to last, but I can’t complain about anything. I’m not sore, and when I am, I know how to fix it.”
Her advice for others?
“Keep moving!” she says, noting that exercise must be done on one’s own time and involve maintaining an aerobic heart rate for a given amount of time. “Running for a bus… is not taking care of your heart.”
“Walking, swimming, there are many different ways to get aerobic exercise.”