Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In loving memory of Vincent Tam

When someone touches your life, however briefly, and inspires you to become a better version of yourself, to just say that I'm grateful doesn't feel like enough. 


I first met Vincent Tam while living in Kuala Lumpur. I was teaching prenatal yoga classes at the time and friend recommended Vincent's inspiring classes. I had an opportunity to go to Chang Mai, Thailand on a yoga retreat with his students. New in my yoga practice, I felt so out of place, having just had a baby, weaning and feeling completely exhausted. I was so grateful for the respite of the challenging instruction. I recall Vincent guiding us through an inversion that just seemed to me at the time to be impossible. He turned to me and said, "Why are you trying so hard? Let the pose come to you." And, soon, with grace and patience, it did.


On Vincent's Facebook page, there is a growing tribute to a great man. One of his students posted a loving testimony:


"... during Vincent's master classes, I learned something I'll remember for the rest of my life as a yogi. He told us that "the quality of an asana is defined not just by the pose itself, but how in control you are in getting in & out of it." With his passing, which I believe is truly a graceful exit, I realized the quality of his life is not defined on how long he’s lived, but how many lives he’s touched, inspired & changed through his teachings & examples. Thank you, Vincent for sharing your gift of wisdom, producing some of my first & most wonderful teachers to date. May your light continue to guide us in our practice. Rest in peace. Namaste."


During the Chang Mai yoga retreat, the festival of lights (Yi Peng) where hot-air paper balloons are launched into the sky was underway. My children took such delight in the lantern and puff flames as it floated away. Watching the sky, seemingly thousands of sparkling dots glittered above. I imagine Vincent's spirit in one of those beautiful lights splashed across the Asian sky. May his love and light shine through those he taught and whose lessons I continue to remember in my own practice. Gratitude overwhelms me as I grieve the loss of a master.


Namaste.
son, nathan lighting a lantern
to release to the sky


2 comments:

  1. Mel:
    I didn't know Vincent - but I wish I did. I love the words of wisdom he gave to you and others. Thanks for stopping by The Daily Downward Dog and for the advice you gave me today :)

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  2. Maria, thank you for the sweet comment. He was a beautiful soul and dearly loved by all who knew him. I only wish I had more time with him- my stay in KL was all to brief.
    Joy and blessings to you and your blog! it's great!

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