An Interview with Tao Porchon-Lynch, the 98-year-young Yoga Teacher & Dancer
Yoga teacher, dancer, actress, model, oenophilist, author, peace activist, revolutionary and a wonderfully antique little girl who (in her own words) ‘refuses to grow up’. Just some of the hats the 98-year-young Tao Porchon-Lynch has juggled in her 3-inch high heels. The same ones she hiked the Machu Picchu in, leaving the rest of her group behind.
Following her around for even half a day gives one the sense that here’s someone who’s too engaged in making up her own rules to be interested in following anyone else’s. Like a grand old house whose owners always leave all the lights on, windows open and music loud – coz why not – Tao radiates an electricity that catches you long before you’re in her line of sight. Before she’s even walked into the room and personally lit up every face in it.
Three years ago I stumbled on her pictures one day and I knew this was going to be one of my heroes. Anyone who colours outside the lines with such flourish and lives by her own rules has to be a great example for the rebel in each of us – and a unique subject for an interview. I wrote to her back in January requesting an email interview, not ever expecting the request to be granted the way it finally was. I was told a couple months ago of Tao’s visit to Bangalore for the occasion of International Yoga Day. On the day I met her, as luck and her graciousness would have it, she agreed to a video interview with me which you can watch here:
“I believe in energy, not age” is one of her oft-quoted lines and in person one sees just how much she lives by that thought. Schedules packed with classes, workshops, Yoga, dancing, stage shows, talks, interviews, frequent travel to faraway lands to spread her magic, meeting people upon people of all shapes and sizes at various times – she prances across it all in a day’s work with that inextinguishable twinkle in her eyes. If you ask me, energy is the real currency of health and that’s something Tao seems to be swimming in.
As Gloria Steinem observed, women get more radical as they age. Tao is as real an example of that as you might ever lay eyes on. “Laugh at life,” she says, with laughing eyes that seem to have gotten the joke long ago. At 98 she exudes the enthusiasm of a child, wearing all the grace of a ballroom dancer seasoned to perfection over the decades. Twirling through trials and gliding through impossibilities. Every word steeped in the kind of tried-and-tested light-yet-heavy wisdom only a woman who’s been having her way with life for almost a century can lay claim to. Here’s to many more centuries lived with as much love, laughter and light, and here’s to Tao for being true to her name and showing us the way to do just that 🙂 For more on Tao, visit The Tao Experience
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