Scots woman, 97, in world-record bid as world’s oldest yoga teacher

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A 97-year-old Scottish pensioner is challenging a Canadian OAP for the title of the world’s oldest yoga teacher.

Three years off celebrating her 100th birthday, Connie Dennison has reached her 40th anniversary teaching a weekly yoga group at a Dunfermline church.

The Guinness Book of Records currently lists Canadian Ida Herbert, also 97, as the oldest known yoga instructor.

Connie has been in charge of the Dunfermline yoga class for 40 years
Connie has been in charge of the Dunfermline yoga class for 40 years

 

But as her exact date of birth has not been published, classmates of North Queensferry pensioner Connie, are encouraging the OAP to challenge the title.

Connie, who tutors around 12 women, mainly in their 60s, started yoga when she was in her 20s.

She first stumbled upon the healthy pastime when she was living in Melbourne, Australia, before it became more widely practiced in the UK.

She said: “Before I left Australia, my yoga instructor gave me some training.

“I’m quite sure that I’d be in a wheelchair if I didn’t have yoga.

“My legs have been stronger since I started and it has helped me and my family – my granddaughter is fully qualified.”

 

“I’m quite sure that I’d be in a wheelchair if I didn’t have yoga."
“I’m quite sure that I’d be in a wheelchair if I didn’t have yoga.”

 

Pupil Sophia Henderson, who attends the Thursday morning sessions at St.Leonards Church, said: “We have a steady 12 members right now and we are all very loyal to Mrs Dennison.

“I think she should be in the Guinness Book of Records.”

Connie was born in Lancashire on August 4 1914 and has taught the class in Dunfermline for 40 years.

Four generations of her family now practise yoga, daughter Carol, 70, granddaughter Susannah, 43 and great granddaughter Coco, 9.

 

Connie (left) in her 20s standing with her grandmother
Connie (left) in her 20s standing with her grandmother

 

Marion Slaughter has been attending Connie’s classes for around 20 years.

She said: “I love the class, it keeps you moving. Connie is the most fabulous person I’ve ever come across.

“Anytime I feel down I think about what she would do and I bounce back. She’s brilliant.”

Another class member, Janet Bolton said: “She’s marvellous and we thoroughly enjoy the class. It keeps you fit but isn’t too strenuous.”

 

Ida Herbert, aged 96 from Canada, is currently the world's oldest yoga teacher
Ida Herbert, aged 96 from Canada, is currently the world’s oldest yoga teacher

 

Current record holder, 96-year-old Ida Herbert, currently teaches women in their 50s to 80s.

She was named oldest yoga teacher after an 11-year-old boy read about her in his local newspaper contacted officials at the Guinness Book of Records.

Herbert, who emigrated from England to Toronto after the Second World War, has taught yoga in Canada for 25 years.

Speaking last September, she said: “I’m the oldest one there, of course,” adding she doesn’t plan to stop teaching after doing it for about 30 years.

“It’s very complimentary to know that you can get into the book of records,” she added “It certainly is.”

Guinness World Records today unofficially confirmed that Connie appeared to be the world record holder, confirming that she was born two years earlier than Ida Herbert.

An official said Canadian Ida was born on August, 21 1916, two years later than Connie, who was born in August 1914.

A spokeswoman added: “Guinness World Records is extremely happy to hear about Mrs Dennison’s achievement. Mrs Dennison and her family can make a claim on our website if they wish this achievement to be verified by our record management team.”

 

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