Monday January 7th, 2002
Part II

Yoga for Life
By John Hanc

Grace Welch, 77, Islandia

Retired corporate administrator. Married to Frank, three children, two grandchildren.

Fitness History:
None, until age 50 when, she says, "I developed lower back pain, big time." Her daughter Jean suggested yoga as a way to help remedy the problem. It worked. She started attending yoga classes at a Y in Manhattan and before long realized "this is something I could do for the rest of my life."

27 Years Later...Welch is a master yogi with advanced certifications in hatha yoga. She teaches privately in the Hauppauge adult ed program, and has her own Web site: In addition, she is the primary caregiver to her husband, Frank, who suffered a stroke eight years ago and is now partially paralyzed.

How She Does It:
Grace rises daily at 5:30 a.m. for an hour and a half of meditation and yoga before dressing and feeding her husband at 7 a.m. She then begins a full day of teaching. "I just keep going," she says.

What Others Say About Her:
"She's a wonderful role model for her students, and she gives 100 percent of herself to each yoga class, no matter how many people are in it, one or 60."
- Nora Bourrut, 59, of Smithtown, Grace's student for eight years

Words of Wisdom From a Master Yogi:
"I would say, start where you are. But the important thing is to start. It's never too late. Never, never."