A few months back, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture and class with Toa Porchon-Lynch, a 97 (now 98) year old yoga instructor. She is nothing what like you would judge a 97 year-old as. Toa’s quality of life is probably higher than most of the people you know, including ones half or more than half her age. She completely radiates light and joy from the moment she steps into a room and in every second she is not. Toa doesn’t just seem impressive on the Wikipedia or Social Media Platforms, or what have you, but her energy, magnetism, and infectious spirit is best described by walking-the-walk and talking-the-talk. Toa is the real deal. She is completely herself in every single aspect of her being, whether she is around a crowd or with a single person- she has a way of making everyone feel completely seen.

During my experience of hearing her lecture and taking her yoga class, I asked myself- how exactly did she get to be this BIG-not big in size, because she is tiny, and not big like famous, big like infectious-so life filled and inspiring?

Toa has quite the life story. A story which is not mine to tell, but what I have come to realize through her sharing, is that in every step of her life; adversity, conflict, down right rough times including war, she was completely fearless, and in her fearlessness she was committed to being herself and letting her uniqueness brighten any situation, anywhere she went.

There is no shift in the way she addresses a yogi, and non-yogi, someone who is trying to escape persecution, someone who is righteous or humble, her complete attitude of “no one person is better than another,” is to me what makes her completely fearless. It is pure un-bridled compassion for mankind. It takes a person who is bold and knows their own power to look another in the eye and share unfiltered and unscripted. There is a lot of room for error there… It might not be received well or at all, but she holds so much space for that person that even if they don’t understand her words they understand her soul. Imagine what we could do if our lives looked like this? It can.

I often think as a yoga student/practitioner that people outside the yoga community or the yoga bubble won’t understand me, or how can I share fully with others especially those that don’t have the same experiences or a similar mindset to my own? In reality no one has the same experiences. What would happen if you didn’t share your story or your self fully? You would be restraining yourself and your light.

The world needs to know what you have to say and what you have learned because it could change someone’s life. Toa has changed lives (too many to count probably.) But, I don’t think she necessarily set out to. I believe she just dropped fear and got real, and said what she had to say, and did what she felt to be true in her (very large) heart.

All in all, I think dropping fear and being in a place of our bigness all the time that is the key- not only to unlocking doors, helping others, and changing the world, but the key to living a long fulfilling life.

Drop fear and live big my friends.

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