#RespectYourElders: Täo Porchon-Lynch (born 1918) is a renowned yoga teacher, ballroom dancer and author. At 98 years old, she is the oldest practicing yoga instructor.
Porchon-Lynch’s story begins on a ship in the middle of the English Channel, where she was born. Her mother passed away during childbirth, and she was raised by her uncle and aunt in Pondicherry, India. She lived there on and off for many years in between her family’s travels, and it was where she first discovered her love of yoga.
“I thought it was a new game,” Porchon-Lynch told the New York Times. “I went to my aunt and said, ‘Can they let me be part of it?’ And she said: ‘That isn’t a game, it is yoga and it’s not for girls. It’s not ladylike.’ So I started doing it.”
Though Porchon-Lynch was interested in the practice, she wouldn’t go on to pursue it professionally for many years. Instead, she began a series of many incredible careers across Europe, Asia and eventually the United States. Throughout her life, she found success in modeling, cabaret, acting and ballroom dancing. Another notable fact about Porchon-Lynch was that she was forced to flee India during World War II “after her family came under Nazi suspicion for hiding British and French expatriates.”
She would eventually spend the majority of her life living in the United States after marrying her husband in 1963. Together, they started the American Wine Society — and she is widely known to never drink water, only wine and tea. They ran the society together until her husband passed away. His passing inspired Porchon-Lynch to put more energy into her yoga practice.
Porchon-Lynch has sometimes been called the “Real-Life Forrest Gump.” If you read her autobiography, Dancing Light (or this blog post), you’ll see why. Porchon-Lynch has lived through numerous historic events and interacted with the likes of Gandhi, General Charles de Gaulle, Ernest Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King Jr. and Bing Crosby – and that’s just a small sampling.
Today, Porchon-Lynch teaches six classes per week and is regularly invited to yoga seminars across the world. She shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
Read more about her amazing life here.