‘Britain’s oldest yoga teacher’ is still leading classes at 90 – Metro


Tom showing some of the moves he does at his class (Picture: SWNS)

Tom Allan took up yoga when he was 55 because he wanted to get fit but says he didn’t fancy jogging in the rain.

More than 30 years later, he’s now a teacher of the exercise, leading classes twice a week.

Although he’s now 90, he has no plans to stop any time soon and wants to still be doing it when he is 100.

Tom, of Plymouth, Devon, said: ‘The oldest yoga teacher in the world is a lady in America who is 101 and I definitely have her record in my sights.

‘I can still do most of the postures. There are a few I am no longer able to do that I could when I was younger, but I use models to do some of the postures I can no longer do.

‘That’s to do with balancing as I have an on-going eye problem. But most of it I can still do as well as I could when I was a lot younger.’

Tom with one of his yoga groups in Glasgow in 1990 (Picture: SWNS)

He started at 55 and spent over two years at a class before he was offered the chance to become a teacher.

Advertisement

Advertisement

He said: ‘I was looking for some form of exercise, I was looking at people in all sorts of weathers racing around trying to get fit and that didn’t appeal to me at all.

‘Somebody mentioned the word yoga so I made inquiries about it and started going to classes.

Tom is still leading two classes a week at 90 (Picture: SWNS)

‘I was a student then and I went to several classes a week for two and a half years until I was invited to take the teacher training course.

‘This all happened in Glasgow, the course was based partly Glasgow partly Edinburgh.

‘After that, when I retired at 60 from my work, I started my own classes in Glasgow.

‘I had six classes including one at the university and another one I had that was very interesting was one for people with learning difficulties.

Tom still does most of the moves himself but admits there is a few he gets other people to demonstrate (Picture: SWNS)

‘I also had one for the partially sighted and those with partial hearing – they were very interesting to work with.’

He credits the art of yoga with keeping him fit but says it is not just about exercise.

He became more involved after taking early retirement from working at a pharmaceutical company at 60, and says he has spent much of his life trying to follow ‘the eight limbs’ – the principles of yoga.

Tom says it is a way of life and he has adapted his life to reflect the ‘Eastern style’ of yoga.

Advertisement

Advertisement

He left Scotland and moved to Plymouth 20 years ago and although he was initially worried about finding new customers at the age of 70, he found Harewood House, where he now offers his classes.

Tom’s classes are almost always fully booked (Picture: SWNS)

He added: ‘I heard about this building, came along and had a word with the caretaker.

‘He said “we used to have a yoga class here but we haven’t had one for a few years” so he told me to go to the Civic Centre and see the council about it.

‘I did and they agreed to let me have this room for teaching yoga and the two nights that the students chose were on a Monday evening like we have now and Saturday morning.

‘I just teach the two classes a week now and they are almost always full. That is to a dozen people each as I can not take any more due to the limitations.

‘I still enjoy it very much. It has very much kept me in the shape I am now. I follow the yoga lifestyle and do everything in moderation so have kept my weight very constant.’

MORE: Strong Women: ‘Bell’s palsy changed my face and stole my confidence but yoga helped me heal’

Advertisement

MORE: Simple yoga exercises to soothe anxiety symptoms

MORE: This home yoga flow will help you get a good night’s sleep

Advertisement

Advertisement