Jan Brodbeck teaches yoga at the ripe age of 71 and believes it keeps her young and healthy. She tells Aasma Day about the health benefits of yoga.
RUNNING across some fields with her four-year-old grandson followed by climbing a wall and balancing across it, Jan Brodbeck ironically says: “I’m not as bouncy as I used to be.
“I can’t leap and rush up banks like I used to.”
However, the sparkly eyed 71-year-old admits: “But I still do a lot more than most people my age.
“A lot of it is to do with having a positive attitude and making the most of what you have.
“But I also think the fact that I practice yoga every day has helped to keep me young at heart and my body healthy.”
Jan, who is married to Tim and has four children and 10 grandchildren, lives in Gressingham, near Lancaster and teaches around three yoga classes a week.
Until fairly recently, Jan used to teach yoga for the county council but due to cuts, she is now self employed and is semi-retired, teaching around three classes a week instead of the eight to 10 she used to.
Jan, who has been teaching yoga for 38 years, explains: “I first heard about yoga when I was pregnant in my 20s.
“I started doing some breathing exercises which I learned from a book.
“Then once my children were old enough to go to play group, I started going to a yoga class.
“I realised I had a real affinity for it and it was as if it was what I was born for.
“The whole way of life interested me.
“Yoga is about not being pushed around by your needs and I did not want to become a victim of my own moods.
“I was fascinated by being able to understand my body and have an internal discipline.”
After attending yoga classes for a few years, Jan gained qualifications and began teaching it.
Jan worked in adult education for the local authority teaching yoga for 38 years and when this came to an end, she decided to go self employed.
She says: “I would have liked to have stayed with the adult college which in its heyday was a thriving centre.
“But the cuts made it impossible to continue. Initially, I rented the same room to stay semi-attached but now circumstances have forced me into the private sector.”
Laughingly, Jan admits it was “partly stubborness” that made her carry on teaching yoga instead of putting her feet up and enjoying retirement.
Jan says: “People expected me to retire but I don’t like to do what is expected!
“I’m doing it for selfish reasons too. It helps me to keep fit and it’s social.
“My classes have tended to get older with me. People get to the stage where they like to stay in the same friendly and supportive group they have always been in.
“Yoga helps me keep in touch with people I know and like and helps me feel I can help others and play my part in the bigger outside world.
“Yoga is about doing everything we can and about every movement of the body.
“I often notice there are people who are 30 years younger than me who are not able to move as easily as I can because they do not use their bodies and every joint so seize up in various ways.
“Yoga keeps your joints supple and stops you deteriorating as fast.
“I try to practice yoga every day as well as teaching it and I don’t ever want to retire!”
l If you would like to take up gentle yoga, Jan has vacancies for her Thursday morning group which runs at Lancaster Library.
Contact Jan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 01524 221116.