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