85-year-old Wetherby woman stops teaching yoga after 40 years

Betty Marshal and her husband of 66 years Freddie (91)
Betty Marshal and her husband of 66 years Freddie (91)

An 85-year old woman has held her last yoga class after teaching the meditative therapy for just over 40 years.

Betty Marshall, 85, of Scarcroft, said farewell to her students last Thursday when she taught her last yoga class at the Scarcroft Village Hall.

Ms Marshall who is retired will be using her new found spare time to spend time with her husband and enjoy her hobbies.

She said: “I have a disabled husband and mainly because of him and having other jobs I found it too much to go every single week and I was getting very tired. I got the most wonderful card from my students with some lovely remarks it was really very touching”

Ms Marshall’s interest in yoga started when she met an Indian lady who taught her some breathing exercises and about the benefits of the relaxation therapy.

“I trained in Leeds in 1973. I went to night school from 7 until 9 most nights and that was certified by the British Wheel of Yoga, which is our official body.”

Ms Marshall also suffers with a degenerative eye condition which has to be treated weekly but has not let her age slow her down over the years.

“From starting I practised with friends until I felt confident teaching people. You do a lot of things over the years, I am now 85 but I can still teach, you don’t have to do the postures to teach, I can still do quite a few of the things but if you are a good teacher you can talk people through it.”

But Betty says this is not a goodbye to yoga forever.

She said: “I will probably do odd ones now and then just to keep together because we have become good friends over the years and it is in my blood. It teaches people to relax and it’s good for any condition. I have taught old people, people whop have suffered a stroke and those who suffer with multiple sclerosis. It benefits the body and the mind and it doesn’t belong to any religion but it makes people think deeper.”

Betty has relied on word of mouth and students telling their friends to see a growth in the popularity of her classes.

She said: “I love my classes and I believe my students enjoy them as well. We have a little meditation and quite a bit of breathing practice. We have ten minutes of relaxation and of course we improve ourselves phyisically with our postures.

“We have a lot of fun, friendship and better health mentally, physically and emotionally.”