Every once in a while you come across the kind of person who just makes you stop for a moment and think ― maybe even look at life in different way. Well, the other day, I had the chance to chat with just that kind of person: Tao Porchon-Lynch, a 93-year-“young” Master Yoga Teacher who is full of life and exemplifies just what you can accomplish with a “can-do” attitude.
Tao has been practicing yoga for over 70 years, and teaching for more than 45. When I asked her how she first came about to practice yoga, she replied, “When I was about 8, I saw boys doing yoga. My aunt said that yoga was for boys. I wanted to do it because they were.” Even back then, Tao wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way; she knew what she wanted to accomplish, and this time it was to learn yoga.
It is truly amazing to watch her perform poses that people a quarter of her age would have trouble executing. Through sheer skill and mental focus, Tao almost seems to defy the effect of time on her physical being.
“How do you feel your practice of yoga has changed over the years?” I asked her. Tao replied, “Now I’m more fully aware of what I believe in. My practice is always done with what I believe.” It’s obvious that she believes in pouring her love of life and nature into all that she does.
Tao has led a remarkable life. As an actress in the ’40s and ’50s, she adorned the screen in England, France, and the United States (where she was under contract with MGM). In India, she worked with Unitel, during which time she helped them introduce television to the public. In the ’60s and ’70s, Tao found herself writing screenplays and making documentaries. In 1995, Tao attended the Yoga for Peace International conference in Israel, which helped bring peace to the Middle East using yogic principles. I asked Tao, “What was the most amazing thing you have experienced in your lifetime?” She responded, “Meeting people that have inspired me. Marching with Ghandi.”
There was just so much that I could learn from this woman. I had to figure out a way to capture that spark of life for myself ― so I had to ask just one more question: “If you could go back in time and meet yourself when you were in your twenties, what would you say to yourself? What advice would you give?” Tao knew the answers: “To appreciate life more. To live life to the fullest.”
At 93 years old, Tao Porchon-Lynch seems to have done just that.
Tao has recently published her first meditation book, Reflections The Yogic Journey of Life. This important book includes several guided meditations. As a bonus, an added CD of Tao's meditations with music by Valerie Romanoff, lends an extra dimension to her words of wisdom.