A new start after 60: ‘I became a security guard at 66. Am I ever scared? No’

From her first job, at 11, cleaning a factory floor, Anne-Marie Newland has always worked – as a choreographer, as a drummer for Toyah and as a yoga teacher – while raising four children. Then, when Covid struck, her life took yet another turn

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Anne-Marie Newland is a mistress of career change. By the time she opened her shop, Sweet Charity, in Kensington Market in 1982, selling psychedelic clothing to, among others, Annie Lennox and Kim Wilde, she was 25 and had already pursued several paths. At 19, she had choreographed dancers for Vangelis and covered classes for Arlene Phillips, who had taught Newland at Arts Educational London (she was then Anne-Marie Khachik).

She was a youth worker and played drums in bands, briefly with Toyah Willcox. Later, she became a “stay-home mother” to four children, “the highlight of [her] life”, and for many years she worked as a yoga teacher and trainer. But it still feels surprising to hear her say that, at 66, she qualified as a security guard.


Find also more about Sharon McAllister’s daughter who trained as a yoga teacher, raved about the yoga so much that McAllister herself was tempted. She had spent decades as a hairdresser, but this year, at the age of 65, she joined four strangers on an intensive, 250-hour yoga-teaching course in Spain.

Former hairdresser Sharon McAllister became a yoga teacher at 65.

Brain active, body supple … former hairdresser Sharon McAllister became a yoga teacher at 65. Photograph: Jill Mead/The Guardian

Her instructor told her: “You have your own individual skills to bring.” While she is still developing her personal style of teaching, she has noticed that the way she ends her classes is very popular – with an assisted savasana, or corpse pose, in which she offers a postural adjustment of her class-goers’ feet, arms, heads, necks and shoulders.

Read further: A new start after 60: ‘I didn’t want to be an invisible old lady – so I became a yoga teacher’

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