Tao Porchon-Lynch, the world's oldest yoga teacher at age 93. Photo courtesy of deccanchronicle.com
I recently watched a CNN video that profiled a 93-year-old yoga teacher.
According to Guinness World Records, Tao Porchon-Lynch is the oldest yoga teacher in the world, frequently touring the US to lead workshops and teaching regular classes just outside of New York. The video shows her folding smoothly into pose after pose; in one especially impressive section, she draws herself up—trembling just a little—into the full extension of a peacock pose, balancing on flat hands and lifting her whole body off the floor. (Google it and try&mash;I dare you.)
The video also shows Porchon-Lynch salsa dancing with a partner who looks about 25 years old, her fringed dress cascading with the movement of her hips. In a photo album of her early modeling and acting career, a wasp-waisted, white-gowned Porchon-Lynch stands next to Bob Hope.
Somewhere around the halfway mark, the CNN announcer makes the requisite comment that the Guinness World Record holder "won't give out her magic secret." Soon after, Porchon-Lynch says that her doctor called her a "miracle woman" after her quick recovery from hip surgery.
Porchon-Lynch in the peacock pose. Photo courtesy of themarysue.com
What magic secret? What miracle?
Why are we so quick to demand the magic secret that will make us slimmer, stronger, faster, younger or smarter (preferably with no work involved)? And if there's no magic secret to be found, why is the next step to declare an achievement "miraculous"—meaning it's out of the achiever's hands and has nothing to do with them?
Why can't someone just be remarkable, all on their own?
No doubt Porchon-Lynch is drinking a secret elixir she keeps buried in a lockbox out back; never mind that she has "no particular diet" and has been practicing yoga since she was eight years old.
As Porchon-Lynch herself says in the video, "It isn't a miracle. A miracle only means to see that which is already inside of you."