Dancing to her own rhythm: the world’s oldest living yogi shares 100 years of wisdom

Photo by Athleta

Photo by Athleta

This is Tao Porchon-Lynch. 

At 100 years young, she’s a yoga master who brings a love of life and nature to all that she touches. She’s a living example of how we can live to our Highest Potential by inhaling life, exhaling stress and dancing to our own rhythm.

Tao’s philosophy is simple: “There is nothing we cannot do if we harness the power within us.”

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After reading her book, Dancing Light, I was enamoured by Tao’s story, her dedication to helping others, and her positive view on life. Her stories have inspired me to follow my dreams and turn my unique talents towards helping others find creativity and inspiration in their own lives.

Tao’s story is quite remarkable.

Her yoga life began in 1926 when she was just 8 years old. She studied with yoga masters, including BKS Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois. She helped the French Resistance during WWII. She became a Hollywood Starlet in the 1940s and 1950s. She’s a film producer. She’s an author. She’s an award-winning, world-class ballroom dancer.  She’s been practicing yoga for 70 years and teaching for 45!

And, Tao possess the unique ability to tap into the incredible power all individuals possess, but only few can access.

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Feed Your Soul

“It’s interesting how the things you need present themselves to you. If you are aware, then you will recognise them and take action. If you let your spirit lead, you will naturally gravitate to that which feeds you—a deep passion or something that gives you energy and speaks to your soul. At first, it may seem like you’re stumbling upon it, and then seemingly all at once clarity comes. This is how yoga became a more conscious path for me. It was there all along but had to be fed.”

 As I read this paragraph, I sipped in every word, as if it were written for me. I had a rocky path to yoga and stumbled in and out of it many times. For years, I’d been dancing around the idea of teaching, but the fear of speaking in front of people stopped me. But, clarity found me. One day,  I just decided to sign up for a 200- hour teacher training. I decided that l’d just postpone my fear of teaching to a later date, or just forget about it and just do it.

In order for us to learn and grow, we must continue to feed our souls, at every turn. We must learn the lessons that life is bringing to us — the fear, the pain, the joy and the sorrow - all of it - not just the good parts. And if we don’t learn the lesson we’ll continue to be taught them, until we recognise they are really opportunities for growth.

Feeding our souls is vital to living. When we start to look deeply for the seeds that have been planted within us, we need to nurture and feed them, so they can fully take root. What feeds our souls is already inside of us and it forms the foundations of a happy life.

And who doesn’t want that?

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Breath is life. It opens the door to the creation within us.

Tao’s time honoured advice is simple and it’s been echoed by the gurus that have entered into her life:

“If you want peace, start by being peace. If you want love, start by being love. If you are searching for creativity, then witness one of the greatest creations of all—nature. The answers to many of our questions are right there in front of us. Most of all recognise that the Creator of all life is inside of you. Instead of looking to the outside when things go awry, begin right where you are by going within.”

This resonates with me so much.

In the last 20 years, my yoga practice has taken many twists and turns and most recently it’s changed direction again, addressing my needs as I enter into a different phase of my life. I’m learning what my body needs and listening more intently. My practice has slowed down, turned inward, and gotten much deeper. My teaching is based around the breath and how it opens up the heart and allows creativity and love to flow.

Because breath is life.

Dance to your own rhythm

Tao is a living example for how to tap into our human potential. Her book is an enlightening journey through life, showing us what is possible and how we can live to our Highest Potential by inhaling life, exhaling stress and dancing to our own rhythm.

So, go out there and get role models. Make it a mission. Find them. Learn. Model. Grow. And don't forget to be a role model yourself! The world needs more people celebrating and sharing their gifts with the world.

And, dance to your own rhythm, whatever that may be. And don’t give up!