“There is nothing you cannot do,” Tao Porchon-Lynch’s website reads. And the 96-year-old, who recently competed on America’s Got Talent, is living proof of that maxim.
Porchon-Lynch is certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest yoga teacher – she teaches at various studios around her home in White Plains, New York. Yoga is her first love; she “only” took up competitive dancing when she was 84. (She’s had three hip replacements and has broken several bones, including her wrist, not that you could really tell.) A devout vegetarian, Porchon-Lynch strenuously avoids medication and supplements.
Porchon-Lynch was born in India, in the French territory of Pondicherry. She moved to France in her early 20s, where, she told Westchester Magazine, “I helped my aunt hide refugees fleeing the Nazis, and, when things became difficult, I escaped to England and continued my underground work for the Resistance movement.”
After the war, she became a model, at one point winning a contest for “The Longest Legs in Europe.” After touring the United States in 1948, she signed a contract with MGM and developed relationships with actors like Cesar Romero and Burgess Meredith, teaching them, along with other MGM actors, yoga.
When her husband, Bill Lynch, died, Porchon-Lynch devoted herself to teaching yoga full time, traveling frequently back to India to study the art. She’s given seminars and conducted outdoor classes across the country, including one to 15,000 people in Times Square.
“Tao, I want to be you when I grow up,” one of Porchon-Lynch’s students told her at her 95th birthday party in 2013. We agree.
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America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.