The world’s oldest yoga teacher has some beautiful life advice for us all

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Kayleigh Dray
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At the incredible age of 98, Tao Porchon-Lynch is officially the oldest yoga teacher in the world; the Guinness World Book of Records even penned an entry about her back in 2012.

She began practicing the physical, mental, and spiritual exercise nine decades ago, when she was still a little girl; she had spotted a group of boys performing the poses in India, wandered up to them, and asked them if she could join in.

Since then, the former actor and author has never looked back; even now, she teaches six to eight classes a week in New York. And, more importantly, the dedicated yogi has started dishing out phenomenal life advice to her fans all over the globe.

In particular, many have asked her the secret to a long and happy life – a question which Porchon-Lynch has been all too happy to answer.

The secret to her longevity, she claims, is all down to her love of yoga. And, in particular, the emphasis it places on meditation and breathing.

“Yoga is done with the breath. It means ‘union with your inner self,’” she told the Huffington Post.

“When you breathe, you tune into the inner self, and you’ll find it opens up your whole life. And that’s what yoga is all about.”

Breath allows us to connect to our bodies, not to mention be more mindful and positive in our lives – and it is this unshakeable sense of optimism and hopefulness that Porchon-Lynch urges us all to seek out for ourselves.

“Never put negative thoughts in your mind because it goes right into your body,” she said. “When you wake up in the morning, say, ‘This is going to be the best day of my life.’”

The wise yogi added: “People say I changed their life. I didn’t change their life. I just taught them to use their breath.”

Porchon-Lynch isn’t the only person to stress the benefits of meditative breathing; Yi-Yuan Tang, a neuroscientist in Texas, USA, has conducted a number of experiments which prove that breathing exercises can be “an effective treatment for stress, worry, lack of focus” and more.

“Mindfulness meditation has been shown to cause distinct changes in brain structure and brain function,” explains Tang, adding that, while some people may overstate what the practice can do, it “does have some real benefits”.

On that note, it seems as if it’s high time we all pause, take a moment – and breathe.


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.