LIFESTYLE

Meet The World's Oldest Yoga Teacher - She's 96 And More Flexible Than You Are

04/09/2014 16:47 BST | Updated 04/09/2014 16:59 BST

At the tender age of 96, you'd think Tao Porchon Lynch would be starting to slow down - but knitting and puzzles are not on the agenda for this lady.

Working as a yoga teacher, Tao is still putting her young students through their paces, despite being almost 100.

Tao claims that she just “likes to dance and do yoga” but she’s been practicing the Eastern art form for nearly 70 years and teaching it for 56.

When not exhausting people who are a quarter of her age with her difficult positions, Tao can be found twirling around the dance floor after she took up ballroom dancing aged 85.

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Tao puts her long life and youthful exuberance down to her positive attitude.

She said: “Nothing’s impossible, whatever you want to do in life you can do it.You have the answer to everything in you.

“And most importantly of all don’t let anybody tell you you’re getting old.”

Energetic Tao was born at the end of the First World War in 1918 but was forbidden from practicing yoga through her early years because it was not considered proper for women to take part.

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But since becoming one of the world’s best-known yoga teachers, she has instructed thousands of people around the globe.

However, she feels most comfortable teaching in the studio she helped found in Westchester.

Anita Devanangana, 33, who travelled all the way from Hungary to study under Tao in her upstate New York studio, said: “I just hope that when I reach her age I will be as young as she is right now.

“When I’m watching her and trying to keep up with her I actually feel like she is younger than me. She is so inspiring and has genuinely changed my life.”

Tao also manages to inspire people who are a little closer to her age.

Brenda Boulas, a 70-year-old retired nurse who also studies under Tao, said: “As a nurse I saw many people at 96 in bed with a feeding tube, unable to talk or walk.

“Tao is nothing like that. She is the epitome of strength, her energy is overwhelming.”

Along with her daily yoga and meditation routine, Tao loves to dance - leaving her young partners often struggling to keep up.

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Tao said: “I love to dance, I love to do the Argentinean tango, I love to do the Paso Doble, I love all Latin dancing, and I love all smooth waltzes and fox trot - there’s very few things I don’t like in dancing.

“My dance partners are great they make me full of joy - the fact that they’re close to seventy years younger than me and still don’t mind dancing with me means I have a lot of fun.”

Vard Margaryan, 26, said: “She’s absolutely amazing, there’s no question about that - she’s stunning and her timing on the floor is impeccable.

“I’ll be honest - sometimes I can’t keep up with her.”

Despite having a full hip replacement and recently suffering a broken wrist, Tao believes it’s her positive attitude that keeps her mind and body active.

“You don’t want to put in your mind anything negative," she added.

“Every morning I get up and I don’t think about what I’m going to do tomorrow, or today, or what I did yesterday, I think it’s going to be the best day of my life.

“I really and truly believe don’t procrastinate, don’t say 'I’ll do it tomorrow', tomorrow never comes.”

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