“When I wake up in the morning I know that it’s going to be the best day of my life. I never think about what I can’t do.”
When I wake up in the morning feeling like a weary, anxious, aging mother of three teenagers, I make sure to check in with Tao Porchan-Lynch, whose photo and words of wisdom remain sandwiched between various work related projects pinned on my cork-board.
Tao is a yoga teacher. She teaches yoga to about 400 students at the Institute of Yoga in Westchester, N.Y., which she founded in 1982. Among a multitude of yoga poses, Tao can support her entire body on her hands – remarkable in and of itself and even more remarkable when you consider that this past August, Tao celebrated her 94th birthday.
“There is nothing we cannot do if we harness the power within us.”
When my daughter was little she told me that she was afraid of “old people.” I have no idea what prompted the fear, however given the messages we and our kids are frequently fed about growing old I wasn’t too surprised. Kids need an alternative perspective…
According to Porchon-Lynch, the first step to harnessing one’s optimal energy is learning to breathe properly.
This could get me started again on how breath and mind awareness should be taught to all young children but that’s another blog…
“I show my students that breathing deeply is not just a physical act but a tuning into the power behind all things which can renew and recycle our bodies.”
“I’m seldom sick and rarely get tired. There’s too much reliance today on medications. I don’t take any supplements—no vitamins or calcium or anything. I take no medications for any medical conditions; I rarely take even an aspirin. I do, however, believe in regular massages for strained muscles.”
Before teaching yoga, Tao was a dancer and actress.
Reflecting on the best advice she’s received through the years:
“Don’t put too much on your plate! Don’t overeat. Don’t fill your mind with fear. Tomorrow never comes, don’t procrastinate.”
Despite an inordinate amount of “to do’s,” I recently added piano lessons to my weekly activities. A fellow parent commented, that while she always wanted to learn the guitar she felt she had too much on her plate and was too old to begin such a venture at this point in her life. What Tao would say:
“One-hundred-year-old trees still recycle themselves and come out with new flowers. Recycle yourself. Know that nature gives you the clues to living.”
As 2013 approaches, and I turn yet another year older, I wish not only for my sake, but especially for the sake of my children, that I can harness just a bit of Tao’s spirit. Our kids deserve to know what is possible.
As for Tao’s wish…
“What do I wish?
To help others…to help myself so that I represent for them their power within me.
To make possible the power to wipe out all obstacles.
To feel the dance of life without problems.
To become the very essence of yoga. Understand it so I live and teach it every day.
If we work in harmony with Nature, we get results. In spite of the wide gaps that still exist in our research of why we are on this earth.”
From Tao's Reflections: The Yogic Journey of Life