At the grand young age of 97, Jean Dawson is still a picture of health.
The Cottingley pensioner still bends over backwards each week to get to her yoga class without fail.
The lively grandmother and former Land Army girl says the exercise, which she only took up when she was 67, is also great for stimulating the brain cells which means she’s a demon at Scrabble.
Before yoga, the only exercise she had ever stretched herself to was joining the League of Health & Beauty as a teenager, but she found it all a bit too regimented, she said, so her enthusiasm for that did not last too long.
However, yoga she says, has all kinds of health benefits because the moves are all linked to different parts of the body: “It’s great for all sorts, from getting rid of aches and pains to constipation!”
And despite being just a few years away from reaching her century celebration, head-stands and shoulder stands are still among her favourite moves at the Windhill Community Centre class.
Tutor Christine Tyson, who has been teaching her for almost two decades, and also runs classes at Hollins Hall Country Club, Baildon Recreation Centre and Wycliffe School said: “Jean is a remarkable lady and puts a lot of effort into her yoga practice – she is living proof that yoga gives back what you put in.”
“She is always bragging about her yoga and says it’s willpower and the yoga that keeps her going.”
Friends at her class put on a party for her after her birthday on February 20 because she is such an inspiration.
As well as the yoga class, Jean still has enough energy left to be an active member of Cottingley Town Hall Church and the local senior citizens’ club.
Yoga is a family of ancient spiritual practices that originated in India – The Sanskrit word Yoga means a union between mind, body and spirit.
Experts say it can reduce stress eight times faster than other relaxation methods.