Day in the Life:
“Every morning when I get up, I say, ‘this is going to be the best day of my life’” This was the incredible motto that led the 101 year life of Tao Porchon-Lynch. She was the prime example for the idea that age doesn’t matter when you want to learn something new. Born in India in 1918 to a French father and Indian mother, Tao was exposed to diverse cultures and beliefs. Her aunt and uncle raised her in Pondicherry, India which was a French colony until the 1950s.
She started learning yoga at 8 years old when she discovered a group of boys practicing the ancient discipline. Throughout her adventures as a French and American model/actress, a savior for Jews during World War II, and a wine connoisseur, Tao continued to practice and learn yoga from renowned gurus like K. Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, and Swami Prabhavananda. 93 years of practicing yoga gave her more than a fit body, it gave her a perspective that saw the beauty in everything and a mentality that accepted every challenge with graciousness.
As a yoga teacher well into her 100s, she brought alive an ancient form of spirituality to thousands of students around the world and made them believe that their body can do anything they want it to do. While strutting along in her favorite heels, she took the chance to make the most of her day and filled her life with wonderful experiences and activities till the very end.
Waking up early seems difficult, but for Tao, it was something she looked forward to. She always woke up before sunrise, around 5 AM, after getting about 5 hours of sleep. Considering she wasn’t much of a sleeper, she spent some of her nights writing her thoughts away if she had any on her mind. She loved seeing the sun rise and the world come alive as light entered every crevice. In a way, this was meditation for her as she took in the sounds, smells, and sights of the waking world. Then, until 8:30 AM, she spent the rest of her morning hours doing yoga poses in her yoga studio. This was followed by a simple breakfast usually consisting of fruit and some kind of juice. Tao loved fruits and vegetables and was for the most part vegetarian (sometimes she ate seafood like lobster and shrimp).
Yoga Teacher and Dancer
After consuming her healthy first meal, she slipped into her heels and headed to the studio in her smart car to teach her first class of the day. Tao taught up to eight classes a week, usually a class at 9 AM and a class at 6 PM. Teaching wasn’t the only thing that occupied her day. After teaching her 90 minute morning class, she headed to her ballroom dancing class. Tao took up ballroom dancing at the age of 87 and even performed on America’s Got Talent. Although her dance partners were often more than 70 years younger than her, she kept up with their pace and danced passionately to the beat of the music.
Although her normal yoga classes were based in Hartsdale, New York, she traveled to places like Arizona, Singapore, Dubai, France, China and India to teach at yoga retreats. She even modeled and was an ambassador for Athleta, a fitness clothes company. Amidst all these activities, she would sometimes have a small lunch of fruits and vegetables. She ate what she needed to eat and never indulged in food. Surprisingly, she only drank tea or wine and never drank water; she always paired her food with a glass of wine. At the end of the day, she ate a quaint dinner which was usually something like a little pizza.
The fierce soul she embodied helped her conquer 3 hip replacement surgeries, and she continued to teach and travel the world. She even earned a Guinness World Record title as the oldest yoga teacher. If there’s anything I learned about Tao, it’s that she lived life to the fullest and did whatever she wanted to do even despite the limitations. To her, limitations could be eliminated if you believed in yourself. She made sure to be grateful and optimistic and never procrastinated. She cherished every moment doing what she loved and spent time with the people she loved. Her students remember her as an incredible teacher and the embodiment of joy. You never know whether tomorrow will come so live today as best as you can!
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