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This 98-Year-Old Yogi Will Inspire You To Pick Up Your Mat Again


January 3, 2017

By Kimberly Truong

Featured Work

Athleta — Power of She

If you’re in need of a little motivation to start dusting off your yoga mat, look no further. At 98 years old, Tao Porchon-Lynch is the oldest yoga teacher in the world, and she’s here to share her wisdom with you.

Porchon-Lynch teamed up with Athleta for a new ad released on Monday, in which she discusses how she came to start practicing yoga over 70 years ago.

“When I was 8 years old, I saw some boys doing what I thought was a new game,” she explains in the ad. “And I was told by my aunt, ‘No, that’s yoga. And that’s not ladylike.”

But ladylike-ness be damned, Porchon-Lynch took up yoga anyway, and is now living proof that fitness has nothing to do with gender, or age.

“It is unthinkable that today people still tell young girls they are less than or not as capable as boys,” she told Shape in an interview.

Her ad is part of Athleta’s “Power of She” campaign, which encourages women to lift each other up and work towards positivity, whether it’s working out with a smile on your face in a yoga class, for instance, or making positive changes within a community. And for Porchon-Lynch, that kind of work also includes body-positivity.

“Despite three hip replacements, my body continues to support me as I do yoga and dance,” she told Shape. “I feel strong when I’m teaching and being twirled around the dance floor.”

Her advice for body-confidence? “It’s important to love your body and work with it,” she told Shape. “Highlight your strengths.”

Given her choice advice for a lengthy life (hint: it involves wine), we’re pretty inclined to follow her lead here, too.