Yes, 100 year old Tao Porchon-Lynch is the world’s oldest Yoga Teacher who has her roots in Pondicherry!
The 100-year-old yoga instructor is becoming younger day by day.
Tao Porchon-Lynch, the phenom recognized by the Guinness World Records as the “World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher” and who appeared on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” at age 96, is an inspiration.
Born in 1918 to a French father and Indian mother, who died giving birth to her, Porchon-Lynch was raised by her uncle.
Her light green eyes sparkle when she talks about her upbringing in Pondicherry, a coastal city in southern India which was a French colony until 1954.
It was here, in Pondicherry that she first got a glimpse of yoga!
She was eight years old, and young boys, barely older than her, were creating beautiful shapes with their bodies on the beach.
She tried imitating them, but was told by her aunt that it was not a “ladylike” thing to do.
“I said, ‘If boys can do it, I can do it’,” said Porchon-Lynch,
She continued to show up at the beach and over the years learned many of the asanas or postures just by watching.
At age 12, Porchon-Lynch accompanied her uncle to march alongside Gandhi in the Satyagraha or Salt March of 1930.
In 1939, she set sail for France from India to live with her aunt, and would eventually participate in the French Resistance.
After the war, she worked as a model in France and England before moving to the United States in 1949.
Soon she was working as a Hollywood actress under contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, with credits including the films “Show Boat” and “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” and TV shows such as “The Bob Hope Show” and “I Married Joan.”
She also worked as a writer, producer and international film broker, rubbing shoulders with old Hollywood and Indian cinema celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Dev Anand.
In the 1950s she trained under some of the biggest names in yoga such as B.K.S. Iyengar and Indra Devi and taught yoga to actors in Hollywood, including Clark Gable.
Earlier this year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi awarded her the prestigious Padma Shri Award for exceptional achievement.
Despite four hip replacements, she also does ballroom dancing at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio.
And she’s been featured on the television show “America’s Got Talent.”
Porchon-Lynch lives alone in her suburban apartment, but when needed, she has a circle of care that includes current and former students and friends dropping by, plus members of a wine society she’s in.
And that comes down to just breathing, which keeps Porchon-Lynch nimble as she approaches 101 on Aug.13.
“The breath is teaching us – listen to it,” she says.
“Feel your lungs expand outward, stretch your hands up towards the ceiling and feel the energy there. Breathe in the breath of life and breathe out peace.”- Porchon-Lynch