We love to see strong, fit women make headlines, which is why we were so inspired to hear that the Guinness Book of World Records has recently named New York resident Tao Porchon-Lynch the world's oldest yoga instructor. At 93 years old, Porchon-Lynch (who teaches classes all over New York) definitely proves that you're only as old as you feel. If you're in need of a little fitness inspiration, read on (and when you're done, check out our story on the world's youngest Zumba instructor)!
SHAPE: How did you get into yoga?
Tao Porchon-Lynch (TPL): My step daughter wanted to learn yoga. I told her I would teach her. She said, “No, I want a real teacher!” So I took her to the European Health Spa in Westchester, where Jack Lalane offered me a job teaching five classes for $15 a week.
SHAPE: How do you feel when you're doing yoga?
TPL: I try to immerse myself into the energy of the breath, which in turn becomes less physical and more spiritual.
SHAPE: What does it mean to you to be named the oldest yoga teacher according to Guinness?
TPL: I’m very honored.
SHAPE: What's the best healthy living advice someone has ever given you?
TPL: Don’t put too much on your plate! Don’t overeat. Don’t fill your mind with fear. Tomorrow never comes, don’t procrastinate.
SHAPE: What kind of healthy living advice would you give to someone who wants to make a change to their life but doesn't know how?
Meditate on what you really want to do and put it into practice. Don’t be submerged with tons of thoughts you never do. When you wake up in the morning, start the day and know it's going to be a good one. Don’t get involved with anything negative. Don’t take too many pills. Laugh at life.
SHAPE: What would you say to our readers who might want to try something new but feel that they're "too old" to do so?
TPL: Tell them 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.
SHAPE: What else do you do in your spare time?
TPL: I ballroom dance and I write.
SHAPE: What did you do before you were a yoga instructor?
TPL: I was a cabaret dancer during World War II, a model in France, an actress, and screenwriter in Hollywood, when I came to America for Marcel Rochas, representing nine French models from different famous French houses.
SHAPE: What's next for you? Now that you've made the Guinness book of World Records, do you have any other goals or milestones you're striving to meet?
TPL: I’m going to continue practicing and teaching yoga for the spiritual strength and dance my way to the next planet.
Click through this slideshow to catch up with more fit, inspirational women over 50 we love!