Tao Por­chon-Lynch, the world’s old­est yoga teacher, helps us stay young at heart.

Yoga Journal - - CONTENTS - To learn more about Tao Por­chon-Lynch and her teach­ings, go to tao­por­chon­ or check out her book Shin­ing Bright: Quotes and Images to In­spire Op­ti­mism, Grat­i­tude & Belief in Your Lim­it­less Po­ten­tial.

Yoga teacher and com­pet­i­tive ball­room dancer Tao Por­chon- Lynch be­lieves that any­thing is pos­si­ble when you lis­ten to your heart. Just be­fore her 100th birth­day, she shares her thoughts on liv­ing well and opt­ing for joy.

I wake up be­fore the sun rises be­cause

I like to watch it rise. By ob­serv­ing na­ture,

I can feel a life force. I look out­side my win­dow to the sky and tell my­self that this is go­ing to be the best day of my life. Then I’ll of­ten pick up my jour­nal and write some­thing that comes to my mind that’s in my heart.

From the time I was a child, I learned to be grate­ful

and op­ti­mistic. I was raised by my aunt and un­cle, and my un­cle started every day with, “It’s a beau­ti­ful day, isn’t it?” Now I do the same, and I do it with a smile. I be­lieve the key to a long life is pos­i­tive think­ing.

When I have some­thing to do, I do it right away.

I never pro­cras­ti­nate. I don’t want to sit there hop­ing, wish­ing, and wast­ing time. I al­ways prac­tice my yoga in the morn­ing and my danc­ing in the af­ter­noon. This com­mit­ment is likely why I’ve re­ceived the Guin­ness World Records for be­ing the old­est yoga teacher and the old­est com­pet­i­tive ball­room dancer.

Yoga can be the joy of life,

and it’s not just about putting our bod­ies into spe­cific pos­tures. It’s about ex­press­ing what comes from in­side of you and show­ing up when you meet other peo­ple to cre­ate a one­ness.

Yoga has al­most al­ways been a part of my life.

I was in­tro­duced to it when I was seven years old. I wan­dered to the beach near my child­hood home in French In­dia and saw some boys prac­tic­ing yoga on the sand. I fol­lowed their move­ments and I thought that I was learn­ing a new game. That evening I told my aunt about the game, and she ex­plained that it was called yoga and that it was only for boys. This was 1925. I told her that girls can do what boys can do, and by the time I was eight years old, I was on that beach join­ing the boys dur­ing my play­time.

I be­came a yoga teacher

af­ter friends saw me in­cor­po­rat­ing yoga into my ev­ery­day life and asked to join my prac­tice. What I love most about teach­ing is see­ing a smile come onto some­one’s face when they re­al­ize that they can do things that they thought were im­pos­si­ble, phys­i­cally and men­tally.

I don’t feel any dif­fer­ent now that I’m turn­ing 100.

I’m not even scared. And I’ll never stop prac­tic­ing yoga—it’s the dance of life! The breath is the breath eter­nal, which makes all things pos­si­ble.

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