Gladys Morris, who turned 90 on Jan. 31, is a longtime yoga instructor at the Shaw Lifelong Learning Centre in Oldham, England, where she teaches weekly Hatha yoga classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, and twice on Thursdays.
Morris has been teaching the ancient Indian exercise for more than 40 years, bending over backward for students who fill her classes to maximum capacity week after week.
Now, her devoted students want to give Morris something in return: a crack at landing a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Linda Grime, a 62-year-old yoga student who’s been attending Morris’ classes for the past 15 years, told AOL News that she’s spearheading the efforts to get Morris into the record books as the world’s oldest yoga teacher.
“I am hoping to send all of the documents [about Gladys] to Guinness this week. I have copies of her birth certificate and yoga teaching certificates, as well as witness statements. Gladys is a lovely lady. She’s an inspiration to all her students,” Grime said.
Grime’s mission to turn her beloved instructor into a record-holder may actually work.
As of right now, Guinness lists the “world’s oldest yoga teacher” as 84-year-old Bette Calman from Australia, who was actively teaching classes at the Williamstown Yoga Centre in Victoria last February when she set the world record.
According to her Guinness entry, Calman should be turning a mere 85 this May — making Morris more than five years her senior.
AOL News reached out to the Williamstown Yoga Centre to inquire about Calman’s current teaching status with them, but didn’t hear back before press time.
However, the list of yoga instructors on the center’s website doesn’t include Calman, so perhaps she’s hung up her yoga mat, giving Morris an even better chance at the coveted record.
But the title and attention aren’t what drives Morris to practice yoga.
For her, it’s much deeper than that.
“Yoga has been a huge part of my life for a very long time, and I have made lots of wonderful friends over the years. I credit yoga for keeping me fit and flexible,” Morris told the Oldham Evening Chronicle.
“I’ve got no plans to give it up because it’s what keeps me on my feet,” she said, according to the Manchester Evening News.
As her student, Grime concurred that Morris is fit as a fiddle — and pretty much as “supple” as they come.
According to Grime, she can still bend with the best of them.
Grime said Morris’ favorite yoga positions to teach in class include the super-contorted “plow” pose, in which she raises her feet over her head, keeping her arms and shoulders firmly on the mat.
Morris also enjoys the “bridge” position, the “shoulder stand” and the extended “triangle” pose, in which she sticks one leg out to the side, bends her torso and reaches upward with her opposite arm, creating a triangle shape with her body.
“Gladys enjoys those positions the most, but her poses rotate weekly so we always have variety,” said Grime.
“I am sure her yoga has helped her get to 90 and remain so cheerful and positive. She broke four bones in her back in 2006 and doctors were amazed at how supple and strong her muscles were. They think she recovered quickly as a result of doing yoga for so long.”
Clearly, Morris has lived a long and happy life with the help of yoga, and Grime believes she deserves to be immortalized for setting such a positive example to others.
And, really, an induction into the Guinness Book of World Records would be the icing on the cake of the exciting birthday Morris already had.
Grime said 50 yoga students threw a surprise 90th birthday party for Morris. She also got to appear on the BBC’s popular news show “North West Tonight,” which highlighted her passion for yoga and attempts at breaking the world record.
Come on, Guinness, throw this “downward-facing dog” lady a bone.