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Three Keys to Longevity

A man who says he is 120 years old credits his long life to three things: no sex, no spices and daily yoga sessions.

Swami Sivananda claims he was born Aug. 8, 1896. He is an Indian monk and says he is the oldest to have ever lived, beating out Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura, who the Guinness Book of World Records now lists as the oldest man to have ever lived. Kimora was 116 years and 54 days old,.

In this photograph taken on August 2, 2016, Indian monk Swami Sivananda, who claims to be 120 years old, practises yoga in Kolkata. An Indian monk who claims to be the oldest man to have ever lived at 120 years, says he owes his longevity to daily yoga and a life without sex or spices. Born on August 8, 1896, according to his passport, Hindu monk Swami Sivananda's life has spanned three centuries. He is now applying to Guinness World Records to stake his claim to the distinction. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian monk Swami Sivananda, who claims to be 120 years old, practices yoga in Kolkata. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

Sivanada is applying to the world records book to officially claim the title, based on a temple register confirmed by Indian passport authorities. The register is the only record of many Inidan residents’ ages, including those much younger than Sivanada.

“I eat very simply,” Sivanada said. “Only boiled food without oil or spices, rice and boiled daal [lentil stew] with a couple of green chillies.”

Sivanada said he also does not drink milk or eat fruit because he sees those as “fancy foods.” He noted that, as a child, he lived in extreme poverty and often slept on an empty stomach. Now, Sivanada said, he sleeps on a mat on the floor and uses a piece of wood as a pillow.

The 5’2″ tall monk was born around the same time that electricity, cars and telephones were invented — a time in which he says people were “happy with fewer things.”

“Nowadays,” he said, “people are unhappy, unhealthy and have become dishonest, which pains me a lot.”

“I just want people to be happy, healthy and peaceful,” Sivanada added.

Jon Street

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