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Women Who Inspire: Yogi Tao Porchon-Lynch

Tao Porchon-Lynch wants you to know that there is nothing you cannot do. She’s 100 years old and a mentor to Deepak Chopra, so you’d do well to believe her.

She’s been a couture model, actress, film producer, international film distributor, television executive, publisher, and co-founder of the American Wine Society. Early in her career, she won Best Legs in Europe. Later, at 93, Porchon-Lynch was entered into the Guinness World Records as oldest living yoga instructor. She still holds that title, teaching mixed-level yoga classes at Fred Astaire Studio in Hartsdale, New York, each week. She’s been quoted as saying, “I’m going to teach yoga until I can’t breathe anymore.”

Porchon-Lynch embraces her age — and the world around her, no matter what decade that might be. She eats well and laughs lots. She still loves travel and high heels. After months of reading about the teeny ballroom-dancing yogi and requesting an interview, we got the pleasure of asking her a few questions. What became clear right away is that for Porchon-Lynch, age is just a number (and not one she thinks about).

We’d all do well to follow her lead.

Tao Porchon-Lynch

When you were 50 or 60 or 70, did you ever say to yourself, “I’m going to live to be 100?”

No, I never thought about it. It didn’t bother me.

What does it feel like — in your body and in your mind and heart — to be 100 years old?

I don’t see or feel any difference really.

What’s one thing you know now that you wish you’d known 40 years ago?

Nothing. (Stated with conviction.)

Scientists have said that they believe that the person who is going to live to be 150 has already been born. What if that person is you!?

I would only wish to be 150 and still do the same things.

What’s the greatest gift yoga has given you?

A lot of wonderful people.

You were once quoted as saying, “I learned so much from Pattabhi Jois that had to do with my inner self.” What did his teachings lead you to know about your inner self that is important in your life today?

Don’t talk about not being able to do. If you put that in your mind, things will not happen. Laugh at the world. Open up like a flower. Hug a tree and the energy out of the tree will become the same energy in your body.

Tao Porchon-Lynch

You’re still dancing competitively? What about ballroom dancing keeps you on your toes?

The music. The people. The feeling that it makes inside of me.

We read numerous articles in which you said you don’t get tired. How much sleep do you get each night, and what’s your secret for feeling energized?

I sleep only a few hours a night. I’m like the weather: I know every day is a new day, and when I breathe properly, I’m recycling myself.

What does “aging gracefully” mean to you?

I never think about aging. I’m not interested in my age or what I can’t do. I spend my time knowing nothing is impossible.

Give us a few sacred words to live by.

When I wake up in the morning, I look at the sun and the whole sky lights up. I look for the light inside of me and my whole body lights up. I don’t have to face the world, I become the world.

To learn more about Tao Porchon-Lynch, go to taoporchonlynch.com.

Photos: Robert Sturman, courtesy of Tao Porchon-Lynch

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