For yoga master at 92, there is only the dance

2010-12-01 00:00

YOGA master Tao Porchon-Lynch, 92 years young, kept repeating her life’s motto, “there is nothing you cannot do”, before a packed workshop in New York City.

Then, light as a bird, she glided into a gravity-defying arm balance to illustrate the point.

“I haven’t been able to do the peacock­ since I broke my wrist in April, but I did it in that room,” Porchon-Lynch said of the pose she demonstrated recently at Strala Yoga studio.

“In yoga every breath I take puts me on the right path.” Porchon-Lynch has been practising yoga, the ancient discipline connecting breath to movement, for more than 70 years.

Along the way she has walked with Mahatma Gandhi, modelled couture in Paris, trod the boards in London, and acted under contract to MGM in Hollywood.

It was yoga breathing, she said, that kept fear at bay when she worked for the resistance in World War 2 France.

“I didn’t realise I was doing any of them,” she said of her many adventures. “It’s just the natural path of life. You either travel on it, or you get stuck in the mud.”

Born in Pondicherry, India, Porchon-Lynch studied under yoga legends B. K. S. Iyengar and Indra Devi. At the age of 50 she was given her first paying yoga job in the United States by fitness icon Jack LaLane.

Porchon-Lynch founded the Westchester Institute of Yoga, where she is director, in 1982. She teaches up to 20 hours a week and has trained more than 300 instructors in her Iyengar-based style. Jane Fonda is an admirer, along with generations of young yogis.

In class she cuts a glamorous figure­. When she’s not adjusting a student­’s backbend or fine-tuning a hand position, she’s weaving tales from her very colourful life into yogic tutorials.

“Duke [Ellington] told me he was watching a sunset and all the colours seemed to blend into deep purple,” she recounted in an explanation of the chakras, or wheels of energy, yogis believe reside in the body. “I don’t tell you these things from ego, but because it’s what I know.”

Tara Stiles, owner of Strala Yoga, says Porchon-Lynch is living proof that yoga actually works. “She is a true leader by example,” said Stiles, author of Slim Calm Sexy Yoga. Porchon­-Lynch said her most precious inspirations come when people think they can’t do something, “then there’s a smile on their face, because they can”.

When she’s not teaching, Porchon-Lynch pursues another passion — competitive ballroom dancing. Despite a hip replacement, she recently completed a 17-dance event, where, she says her tango partner was a 22-year old and her cha-cha-cha partner was 29.

“Dancing is a continuation of yoga, like music,” she said. “Music and dancing and yoga are all coming from within you.”

She’s writing her autobiography and completing a documentary about yoga and dance that took her on a recent flight over the Himalayas.

“All of those mountains — so pure. Yoga helps us create a life where we’re looking down from clouds instead of into the clouds,” she said. “I call it the dance of life, since I’m always dancing.”

The way she looks at life, she says, she has no fear.

“The only fear I have is when people talk on the phone while driving. I’m afraid they’ll get hurt.”

— Reuters.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Debtors/Creditors Supervisor

Century City
Pro Placements Recruitment Agency
R10 000 - R12 000 Per Month

Graphic Designer

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Creative Sourcing
R7 000 - R9 000 Per Month

CSR Inbound

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
O'Brien Recruitment
R14 000 - R16 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.