Eileen, 71, pens book to keep old age ‘at the gate’

Diss, Norfolk. Eileen Oliver with her book "Yoga Simple Stretches and Postures for the Less Able"
Diss, Norfolk. Eileen Oliver with her book "Yoga Simple Stretches and Postures for the Less Able"

An Old Buckenham woman who has published a book on yoga for older and less able people, says the gentle exercises can help keep old age “at the gate for a little longer”.

At 71, Eileen Oliver is a vibrant and healthy walking advertisement for the ancient Hindu health and relaxation practice which involves breath awareness, gentle stretching and meditation. She hopes her self-published book, called ‘Yoga, Simple Stretches and Postures for the Less Able’ will be taken up by all ages and even GP surgeries.

“I’ve been doing yoga for 40 years and have been teaching it for ten. I’m pretty fit but I have to work at it,” Mrs Oliver said. “I have bought yoga books myself for the over 50s, but they are always full of photos of beautiful model figures doing stretches you think you can’t possibly do yourself, whereas my book has ladies in it who look like me.”

Mrs Oliver said she had a stiff and inflexible body and had to work hard to keep her mobility and flexibility going. She wanted to write a book for others who perhaps felt they were too old and stiff for exercise. “It’s very important to maintain what you have, rather than allow your mind and body to go slowly downhill. Some gentle practice could lower blood pressure and keep the heart strong.”

The book describes exercises and poses suitable for all ages and abilities and also covers how to breathe correctly and develop meditation techniques. There are over 260 photographs in the book, with the moves and stretches demonstrated by Mrs Oliver and two other women, one aged 70 and the other 77.

The book draws on Mrs Oliver’s ten years’ experience as a yoga teacher (she trained with the British Wheel of Yoga) and her long career as a nurse and working in chiropody, as well as her own back pain problems. She gave up nursing in 1990 because of back pain and for a time was walking with sticks, but after taking up yoga she fought back to full health and now teaches a regular yoga class at Old Buckenham Village Hall.

An advocate of her techniques is a man who recently suffered a life-threatening condition which saw him on a life support machine. He found “the sensible and gentle approach in this book invaluable during my recovery”.

Printed by Erskine Press, the book costs £9.95. To order call 01953 860664 or email feetease@btinternet.com