Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do, Tao Porchon-Lynch instructs her students.
The 98-year-old yoga instructor should know: She still teaches class five days a week and continues to hold the Guinness World Record for the “World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher.”
Porchon-Lynch was first given the title five years ago at the age of 93 — but it is far from what defines her. Her whole life has been interesting.
She grew up in India but has traveled much of the world, out of desire and necessity. She grew up with a variety of family members after the death of her mother when she was just an infant. She stayed close to her father but could not always be with him due to his military career.
After working as a dancer and a model, ultimately she landed in the United States, where she started acting. It was during her time in Hollywood that she was encouraged to teach yoga. Among her first clients: Debbie Reynolds and Kathryn Grayson, as ESPN reported.
Since then, she has attended yoga retreats all over the world, has an incredible list of clients — and now calls the New York City suburb of Hartsdale her home.
Her students say that she is an inspiration on many levels — and that if she can still be doing all of the things she does at 98, it gives them hope for a strong, healthy, enjoyable and long life.
“Look at the trees,” Porchon-Lynch told the AFP. “The trees are hundreds of years old. At this moment they are all bare, they look like skeletons, they look dead, but they are not — they are recycling themselves,” she said in a nod to the winter season. “Those trees are not getting any older — they are strong.”
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“Tao exemplifies what a lifelong yoga practice can entail: dedication, strength, and falling in love with your practice on a daily basis,” Jessa Mehta, a registered yoga teacher and founder of Get it Ohm! in Portland, Oregon, told LifeZette. “Yoga, by design, nurtures all aspects of wellness including physical, spiritual, emotional and mental while also encouraging social health. ”
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For those who don’t follow yoga, Porchon-Lynch might be recognizable from Season 10 of “America’s Got Talent.” She is also the face of one of Athleta’s most recent ad campaigns, “The Power of She.” She is also an author of “Reflections: The Yogic Journey of Life” and her autobiography, “Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being Through the Eyes of a Modern Yoga Master.”