American yoga master Tao Porchon-Lynch receives Padma Shri in New York

Tai Porchon-Lynch
Tai Porchon-Lynch with the Padma Shri. Photo credit: Consulate-General of India

Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty hands over the citation and medal to the 100-year-old yogini, who couldn’t travel for investiture.

American yoga master and author Tao Porchon-Lynch received Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, from Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravorty on Monday.

The 100-year-old yogini was unable to travel to India for the investiture ceremony and, therefore, she was awarded the citation and medal at a special ceremony at the Indian consulate in New York.

Porchon-Lynch received the award for her extraordinary work in promoting yoga. She was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as world’s oldest yoga teacher when she was 93.

After handing over the citation, Chakravorty tweeted: “At 100 Tao Porchon Lynch is a bundle of serenity, energy & joy. It was an honour to meet her & hand over the Padma Shri medal & citation to her. She started practicing Yoga in1926 & has twice marched with Gandhiji. She agreed to attend the International Day of Yoga celebrations.”

The consulate also tweeted: “We are honoured to hand over the Padma Shri citation & medal to Ms. Tao Porchon-Lynch. Awarded Padma Shri for her contribution to Yoga, 100 years old Tao Porchon-Lynch was unable to travel to India for the investiture ceremony.”

Practicing yoga since she was eight-year-old, Porchon-Lynch has studied with some of the maestros of yoga, including BKS Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo and Maharishi Mahesh Joshi.

She continues to take yoga classes in New York City and conducts yoga events across the globe. She has also authored two books. Her autobiography. Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being Through the Eyes of a Modern Yoga Master, won an IPPY award. An agile dancer, she also participated in reality show America’s Got Talent.

Porchon-Lynch was born to a French father and an Indian mother, who hailed from Manipur. An extremely versatile personality, Porchon-Lynch has also been a fashion model, actor, producer, publisher and a wine aficionado.

During her younger days, Porchon-Lynch was also inspired by the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and participated in marches with him. She had also been a part of Martin Luther King’s civil rights marches.

She took to Yoga full time during the late 1960s. She founded Yoga Teachers Alliance. Later in the ’80s set up Westchester Institute of Yoga in New York, where she continues to live and work.

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