Guinness World Record holder for oldest yoga instructor brings positive energy to campus
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 13:10
Sitting in the lotus position, Tao Porchon-Lynch, 95, faced a crowd of almost 200 people gathered in the Trabant University Center’s Multipurpose Room at her yoga workshop.
She started her practice by offering the students a life lesson.
“Don’t say can or can’t,” Porchon-Lynch said. “There is no such thing as that verb. It only means to be able to, and you are able to do anything.”
The university’s Yoga Club hosted the event Sunday and invited Porchon-Lynch, the Guinness World Record Holder for oldest yoga teacher, to conduct a two-hour long workshop. University students and Newark residents could participate by purchasing tickets for $10 and $25, respectively. Porchon-Lynch brought the 180 participants together in a series of yoga positions and breathing exercises.
Porchon-Lynch was born in India during World War I, and while there, she discovered yoga. At the age of eight, she saw some young men doing yoga on the beach, and she was curious as to what they were doing. When she asked her aunt if she could do it as well, she was told that yoga was not “lady-like.” She said her response was, “If boys can do it, so can I.”
She left India at the age of 19 to go to France, where she helped her aunt rescue and hide Jews from the Nazis in occupied France. Together, they helped them cross the border to Spain and Portugal when she lived near the coast in Biarritz, France.
Then, she became a model, working for famous fashions designers, including Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and Jean Patou. Before becoming a yoga instructor, she was also an actress in Hollywood where she landed a contract with film production giant Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
“Never be scared of anything,” Porchon-Lynch said. “If you want to do something, do it. Nothing is impossible.”
Porchon-Lynch said she started teaching yoga in the United States in 1962 after taking a class with her stepdaughter when the instructor realized her potential and recommended that she should become an instructor as well. She founded the New York Westchester Institute of Yoga in 1982, where she continues to teach yoga workshops. Her lessons are also taught around the world today while showing people that there is nothing they cannot do.