Tao Porchon-Lynch has been alive for close to a century, and she’s been practicing yoga for nearly as long. But don’t expect the near-centenarian to slow down anytime soon: In addition to teaching classes at the Westchester Institute of Yoga, which she founded in 1982, she’s also just released a new instructional yoga DVD with former model and celeb instructor Tara Stiles.
With yoga gaining popularity among the post-50 set, Porchon-Lynch has become an exemplar of yoga’s significant physical and mental health benefits — and its miraculous ability to slow (and in some cases even reverse) the aging process. But it’s not just about staying in shape: Porchon-Lynch swears by yoga as a way to get past fear and break through personal barriers.
“Yoga is the joining of our mind, body and spirit,” says Porchon-Lynch. “It is like nature, everything is always recycled and brought full circle. I find that I can heal myself if I do what nature does. It’s taken away stress and has helped me through crises. ”
The Huffington Post recently chatted with the legendary yogi about her career, and got her secrets for stress relief, healthy eating and graceful aging — and, of course, how she’s found inner peace.
How did you get started with yoga?
When I was eight, I saw a group of boys performing crazy postures on a beach in India. My aunt told me that being a girl, yoga was not for me. But I wanted to do it and I said, “If boys can do it, so can I.”
Do you meditate as well? If so, how have you benefitted from meditation?
I meditate as I watch all of nature. Nature is advertising the seasons of life. It reassures me no matter how bad the storm is, spring will follow. Nature is my encyclopedia of life.
What are your favorite yoga poses for stress relief?
It’s not a yoga pose. It’s the breath behind the yoga pose. It takes me on the journey through the pose. Yoga is the breath of life.
How have you seen yoga improve your physical and mental health?
When you’re at one with it there is no fear attached. Fear is bad medicine. With inner peace you are “at one” with the whole universe.
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