Yoga with the World’s Oldest and Youngest Yoga Teachers at
Lead with Love, Aspen
For the first time and only at Lead with Love in Aspen, CO yoga teachers Tao Porchon-Lynch (99) and Tabay Atkins (12) come together to share the wisdom of the ages
Aspen, Colorado is home to many extraordinary things, world class skiing, restaurants and party scene. One thing it is becoming known for more and more is as a destination for wellbeing, that's partly thanks to Aspen City of Wellbeing (ACW), a non profit org dedicated to shifting culture towards an optimal state of wellbeing for all.
Besides ACW’s dozen or so workplace wellbeing programs it offers to essential service workers throughout the year the organization also curates and produces a large annual event called Lead with Love Oct 26-29. The multi-day event in the heart of the Rocky Mountains brings together luminaries in the traditions of yoga, meditation, spiritual psychology and conscious leadership with the intent to uplift and inspire. Special guests this year include Dr. Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Seane Corn and many more.
Lead with Love features unique conversations between teachers and luminaries that have never happened before and may never happen again. One of those experiences this year is a yoga class featuring the world's oldest yoga teacher, Tao Porchon-Lynch (99-years young), and the world's youngest certified yoga teacher Tabay Atkins (12-years-old).
“People have been trying to get these two together for a long time” said Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, internationally-recognized yoga teacher and Porchon-Lynch’s biographer who added that keeping up with this near-centenarian is no easy task. “We’ve been crossing the globe doing events over the last ten years and Tao loves the energy of traveling. She’s amazing, truly extraordinary in her ability to recover from long flights and be fresh for teaching. The exchange with students from various cultures fuels her, and she particularly loves being with young people.”
Aspen City of Wellbeing and Lead with Love founder Gina Murdock discovered Atkins on social media and immediately feel in love with him.
“I watched this short 60-second documentary on Tabay and then started searching the web to learn more about this remarkable kid. I quickly discovered he’s from my hometown of San Clemente, Ca.,” she said. “I immediately wrote to my family there to see if they knew him and my sister wrote back ‘Tabay’s mom is our yoga teacher!’”
After a text intro to Tabay’s mom, yoga teacher Sahel Anvarinejad, the plan was hatched to have Tabay come out and teach at Lead with Love. Not long after that, a friend of Murdock’s who works with Deepak Chopra said, do you know Tao? You should bring her out and an intro to Tao was made.
“The rest is history!,” said Murdock.
Porchon-Lynch synthesizes the most positive aspects of Indian, European and American thought and is uniquely equipped to spread Yogic insights, originating in India, to Westerners seeking enlightenment. She recently celebrated her 99th birthday and Tabay his 12th. The two have not met before but both say they are looking forward to it.
“It could be a symbolic passing of the torch,” said Kennedy who accompanied Porchon-Lynch to India this June where Porchon-Lynch was honored. She added, “Tao loves sharing insights. Her autobiography, Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being Through the Eyes of a Modern Year Master, has won ten awards, and we are releasing her next book, Shining Bright: Quotes and Images to Inspire Optimism, Gratitude and Belief in Your Limitless Potential, this winter.”
This is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed, said Murdock who is also curating unique conversations at Lead with Love between Dr. Deepak Chopra, H.H. Sakyong Mipham and Yogarupa Rod Stryker as well as internationally celebrated yoga teacher Seane Corn and humanitarian Scott Neeson, founder of Cambodian Children’s Fund.
“We wanted to create experiences that were new and different featuring some of the most brilliant minds of our time,” said Murdock. “Lead with Love was born from a desire to transform lives in a positive way, to increase awareness and elevate humanity. I love bringing people together in ways they have not experienced before. It makes things more organic and spontaneous!”
Porchon-Lynch discovered yoga at eight years old on the beaches of Pondicherry, India and has more than 65 years of teaching yoga to students in India, Bali, France, United Kingdom, Peru, United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, Montenegro, the Bahamas, Jamaica and the U.S. She has done a TEDx talk at Columbia University, and programs at the Pentagon, United Nations, the World Government Summit in Dubai, and the Newark Peace Education Summit with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“Tao is an extraordinary leader and can change the way we perceive the world, “ said Kennedy. “She shows us what almost a century of conscious, positive and mindful living looks like… and it looks good!”
In contrast, Atkins has been teaching yoga just over a year. He is homeschooled and teaches weekly teen and adult donation-based classes at his mom’s yoga studio CARE4YOGA in San Clemente, CA. Atkin’s donates 100% of the money he makes to kids who have cancer.
“Atkins is a true ‘Karma Yogi’ giving back with his teaching and completely inspired by the practice that he and his mom believe saved her life,” said Murdock.
Atkins' journey with yoga started at the same time his mom's yoga journey started. Anvarinejad was just 2 weeks cancer free when she started a 200 hour vinyasa yoga teacher training, and her son was by her side every step of the way, she said. After having cancer and going through chemo treatments, she she said she could barely walk on her own.
“I was sad, scared and worried.” Anvarinejad recounted.
Atkins said he noticed that after doing yoga, his mom regained her physical strength and felt better emotionally and mentally as well.
“I knew then and there that I wanted to become a yoga teacher so that he could help others heal with the practice of yoga the way yoga helped heal my mom,” Atkin’s said. “I think the more people that know about yoga and practice it, the better our world will be.”
Atkins will join Porchon-Lynch in a yoga workshop at Lead with Love on Friday, Oct. 27th from 9-10:30 am followed by a discussion to share their unique perspectives on the practice and life. On Oct. 26th, Porchon-Lynch will share her unique life story in her signature “Conversation with a Master” talk and slideshow moderated by Kennedy. It’s an engaging journey through multiple continents as a World War II French Resistance fighter, actress, model, producer, and entrepreneur, weaving in her approach to overcoming obstacles and living mindfully.