The Woman You Should Know in this gravity defying yoga pose is Tao Porchon-Lynch. At age 94, she is an active yoga master, a competitive ballroom dancer with 543 first place awards, and a 2013 Athleta Sponsored Athlete and blogger. She is also a founding member of the American Wine Society, a former MGM Studios starlet and former model for top Parisian designers like Coco Chanel. Her mantra: “There is nothing you cannot do”. If seeing is believing, then we are completely smashed on the Master Tao Kool-Aid.
We came to know of Master Tao by way of the above portrait taken of her by artist, photographer and WoMAN You Should Know Robert Sturman. On May 13, 2012, at the age of 93, Master Tao was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living yoga teacher. To celebrate and capture her history making moment, Robert met with Master Tao in New York City’s Central Park for a photo shoot. Her timeless grace and strength combined with Robert’s artistry resulted in a series of stunning portraits that are nothing short of inspirational.
During his afternoon with this “very cool lady”, a poignant moment occurred. Robert recalls, “She thanked me. This light filled 93-year-old, beautiful, intelligent, sharp woman, thanked me (three times) for being patient with her while she got into her poses and we made art together. Where do I have to be? What do I have to do? Who am I not to be patient?”
We are grateful to Robert for graciously allowing us to share some of his portraits of Master Tao from their May 2012 Red Shoot in Central Park. After turning 94 in August 2012, she did a second shoot – the Blue Shoot – with Robert in the Connecticut countryside. The resulting photos are equally as beautiful and certainly worth a look.
About Robert Sturman
A dedicated yoga practitioner himself, Robert’s work has increasingly focused on capturing the beauty and poetry of asana, the various postures in yoga. His portraits, whether set in the lively streets of Manhattan, the expansiveness of Malibu’s beaches and canyons, the timeless elegance of Walden’s New England, or the bleakness of San Quentin Prison, remind us that there is beauty everywhere. In Robert’s own words he explains, “I often think of Rumi: ‘I can’t stop pointing to the beauty.’ That feels right to me.”