Stretching the truth: yoga a ‘way of life’ for 89-year-old Merriwa yogi


89-year-old Merriwa yogi Sylvia Sulley gets in a stretch at Greenwood Yoga Academy. Picture: Martin Kennealey d479290
89-year-old Merriwa yogi Sylvia Sulley gets in a stretch at Greenwood Yoga Academy. Picture: Martin Kennealey d479290

YOGA is a “way of life” for 89-year-old Sylvia Sulley who is a self confessed yogi who needs her “fix” each week.

The Merriwa resident has practised yoga for about 55 years and continues to attend classes and teach for at least three hours every week.

Ms Sulley’s passion grew after attending a class at the YWCA with a group of friends who were curious about all the fuss yoga was getting at the time.

“We didn’t know what it was but thought we’d try it out and give it a go,” she said.

“I loved it.

“You feel so good after it and energised.”

The mother-of-one said she loved the “mystique about it” and the yoga philosophy.

“It’s not a religion but a way of life,” she said.

“It’s a practise that leaves me calm all the time and brings happiness and fulfilment.”

Turning 90 in August, Ms Sulley doesn’t let age define her and still teaches about 12 people from 70-90 years old at her RAAFA Village each week.

“I’m a yogi,” she said with a laugh.

“I need my fix each week.

“We can’t do everything we used to be able to but we modify things because yoga is for every body form and ability, young and old.”

Having practised yoga in Scarborough and Nollamara, Ms Sulley has been on yoga retreats in Brisbane and Uluru which she said were fantastic experiences while being taught by some “marvellous” internationally accredited teachers.

Now a student at Greenwood Yoga Academy in Wangara, Ms Sulley is taught by Margaret Willcocks who fondly remembers being corrected by her in her first class as a student teacher.

Mrs Willcocks, who teaches seven classes a week as well as private lessons, said Ms Sulley was a testament to the fact that yoga was a way of life for all ages and abilities.

“The whole practice and process of yoga is mediation and meditation is crucial for life,” she said.

“It helps with so many aspects of life including sleep problems and experiencing trauma, it’s not just about posture.”

Ms Sulley’s advice to young people was to start yoga now and not put it off, believing it contributed to her active life she continues to live at 89.

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