Thursday 1 January 2015

At 93, world's oldest yoga teacher still going strong

Age is also no obstacle for oldest female competitive bodybuilder

Tao Porchon-Lynch started teaching yoga at 73, and now, 20 years later, still teaches four days a week 
in New York. Great-grandmother Edith Wilma Connor, 77, entered - and won - her first bodybuilding 
competition at the age of 65.
By Tao Porchon-Lynch considers her hundreds of yoga students to be her own children. The 93-year-old has been practicing yoga since she was 8 years old, and was just named the world's oldest yoga teacher by Guinness World Records.
Based in New York, Porchon-Lynch has taught hundreds of students around the globe for over 45 years, and has followers in India, France and the U.S.
Accolades aren’t anything knew for the famous yogi. Born in a French colony in India, she once won a contest for the “best legs in Europe” after working as a cabaret dancer in London during World War II. Her win led to a modeling career in Paris and then acting roles in America, followed by a career in script writing and documentaries.
It wasn’t until the age of 73 that Porchon-Lynch decided to concentrate on teaching yoga, founding the Westchester Institute of Yoga in New York.
Porchon-Lynch teaches yoga four days a week and also keeps busy ballroom dancing and guiding wine tours in New York State. And she certainly knows how to overcome a challenge. At 87, she had hip surgery but a month later she took to the dance floor, starting lessons. According to her website, “Tao is a living advertisement for how to tap into our human potential. She is unique in her ability to overcome the effects of aging to control her body and mind in harmony with yoga’s principles.”
“I believe that we can always reach just a little bit further," said Porchon-Lynch. "I’m inspired to bring yoga into others’ lives along with helping people unearth new talents.”

She has called her discovery of the sport her “salvation.”
Oldest bodybuilder
When great-grandmother Edith Wilma Connor, 77,  began to feel like the time spent behind her desk was making her stagnant she decided to take up fitness. She was in her sixties, and what began as simple gym routine with her son turned into a serious pursuit of bodybuilding.
Connor, who lives in Denver, Colo., entered her first competition on her 65th birthday when she won first place at the Grand Masters in Las Vegas. The win prompted her to embark on a new career as a personal trainer with an emphasis on helping the older set reach their fitness and nutritional goals.
Her family supported her as she went for the title of Guinness World Records’ “Oldest Living Bodybuilder,” including her husband of 57 years who passed away last year.
Connor works out three times a week and follows a set of nutritional guidelines that she developed for herself. She's also inspired her entire family -  three sons, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren - to lead a healthier lifestyle.
What does she advise other older women who are interested in weight training?
“Start with setting reasonable goals and educating yourself on what foods cause an increase in body fat. Remove the word ‘diet’ from your vocabulary,” she said.
Connor beat out previous record holder Ernestine Shepherd, 75, to win the title. Shepherd, who hails from Maryland, held the record for the oldest competitive female bodybuilder in the world in 2010 and 2011.

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