Yoga Master Tao Porchon-Lynch Dies at 101; Honored In Tribute Video
On February 21, 2020, yoga master and historical icon Tao Porchon-Lynch died peacefully at the age of 101 on the Hindu Festival of Maha Shivaratri, the “Great Night of Shiva.” Power Living Media produced a tribute video in her honor including inspiring footage of her speaking and dancing.
In her various talks and media appearances, Tao loved to share this story:
A little girl six years old said to me, “Tao, what are you going to do when you retire?”
I said, “I’m not going to retire.”
She said, “Oh, goodie, but what are you going to do?”
I said, “I’m going to dance my way to the next planet.”
Half Indian, half French, Tao discovered yoga at eight years old on the beaches of Pondicherry when girls didn’t do yoga, and dance has always been her passion. So, it’s fitting that Tao would choose this day to transition when Shiva dances in heaven. It’s said to be “the brightest night of the soul where the yogi attains Nirvana.”
Tao was living history. She marched with family friend Mahatma Gandhi in the 1930 Salt March and was a French Resistance fighter in World War II helping people escape the Nazis. She became a couture model for famous design houses including Jean Dessès, Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Marcel Rochas, Jean Patou and Elsa Schiaparelli. She was also voted “Longest Legs in Europe” and was an actress under contract with MGM in Hollywood. She was one of the founders of the American Wine Society in 1967 and published a wine newspaper, the Beverage Communicator, for thirty years in forty-nine countries. Tao started competitive ballroom dancing at the age of 87 and even performed on America’s Got Talent. Inspirational images and footage showcase Tao’s ballroom dancing footwork with Hayk Balasanyan, Alex Vasendin, Vard Margaryan, Anton Bilozonov and Sandip Soparrkar.
Her yoga teachers were a Who’s Who of the spiritual world including Sri Aurobindo, Indra Devi, K. Pattabhi Jois, BKS Iyengar, Dr. Roman Ostoja, Swami Prabhavananda and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In 2012, Guinness Book of World Records named her the Oldest Yoga Teacher. She taught at all the major yoga studios and festivals, from Integral Yoga Institute and Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health to Sivananda Bahamas and Pure Yoga Hong Kong. Athleta featured her in their 2017 Power of She campaign. She became an award-winning author at the age of 96, and in the last decade, a global historical icon with other notables delighting in her presence. Her tribute video features her with Tony Robbins, Kate Winslet, Louise Hay, Julianne Moore, Arun Gandhi, Marianne Williamson, Ryan Seacrest, Kelly Ripa, Anna Hazare and Shwaasa Guru.
Tao did events with people like the Dalai Lama, Dr. Deepak Chopra and Sadhguru. She even shared insights in a TEDx talk at Columbia University, spoke at the World Government Summit in Dubai and was honored at the United Nations for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. Tao received many accolades, including the Yoga Ratna Award and the prestigious Padma Shri Award–one of the highest civilian honors from the Government of India. Her indomitable spirit and positive message inspired millions.
“When you wake up in the morning, do like dawn. Dawn doesn’t just come up in the sky. It wakes up first of all Nature. Then, it rises and it spreads out throughout the world and it spreads out throughout our own bodies. If you can feel that energy as soon as you wake up in the morning and look for the beauty of life, then there’s nothing you can’t do.”
She lived her philosophy. At the end of her tribute video, there is a series of pictures of Tao with various notables, as well as her friends around the world. It is an impressive Who’s Who of the yoga, Bollywood, media and influencer communities.
In the yoga community, pictures range from (the then) 110-year-old Shivakumara Swami blessing Tao in Bangalore to her (at 99) doing yoga with the youngest yoga teacher Tabay Atkins (who was 12 at the time) in Aspen. It also includes David Swenson, Doug Swenson, Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee, Gurmukah Kaur Khalsa, Dr. Madan Bali, Swami Ramananda, Rod Stryker, Jagasananda Das, Swami Bramananda, Swami Hridyananda, Pilot Baba, Yogmata Keiko Aikawa, Dr. Vijayendra Pratap, Amma V. Nanammal, Ruth Hartung, Ginny Beal, Pierre Raven, Suneel Singh, Dashama Konah, MC Yogi, Amanda Giacomini, Sheela Bringi, Dave Stringer, Robert Carris, Doña Leova, Jesse Kalu, Joann Burnham and Heather Titus.
The media and influencer pictures include Jane Fonda, Steve Harvey, Frances Fisher, Eloise Dejoira, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Deborah Roberts, Rosanna Scotto, Steve Lacy, Mary Calvi, Michael Gelman, Laila Ali, Klaus Schwab, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Deputy Prime Minister Boris Koprivnikar, Mayor David Dinkins, Mayor Thomas Roach, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, Agapi Stassinopoulos, Loida Lewis, George Shapiro, Aimee Hyatt, Leon Isaac Kennedy, Suzanne Roberts, Ari Seth Cohen, Nina Osenar, Sensei John P. Mirrione, Tara Stiles, and Georgie Bernadete.
In the Bollywood community, pictures include First Lady Amruta Fadnavis, Jackie Shroff, Madhoo Shah, Sushmita Sen, Kamini Kaushal, Kumkum Somani, Hema Malini, Zeenat Aman, Hasleen Kaur, Shiv Darshan, Salome Roy Kapur, Sharbani Mukherji, Jesse Randhawa, Amy Billimoria, Alyque Padamsee and many more.
Tao shows us all what is possible with an intentional, fully expressed life. Her light will shine bright for generations to come. The tribute video was produced by Tao’s biographer, student and collaborator, Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, who knew Tao for thirteen years. They did 66 events together spanning 10 countries. She and her mother, journalist Janie Sykes-Kennedy, co-wrote two award-winning books with Tao, expanded her brand beyond yoga and amplified her media reach globally.
Learn more about Tao’s incredible life in her autobiography, Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being Through the Eyes of a Modern Yoga Master, and be inspired by her image/quote book, Shining Bright: Quotes and Images to Inspire Optimism, Gratitude & Belief In Your Limitless Potential.
Share the video link and comment directly on YouTube:
For more, go to www.TheTaoExperience.com.