Ojai Yoga Crib Love Notes, Uma Krishnamurthy Goswami

Uma Krishnamurthy Goswami.

Her session married total bhakti with serious scholarship. No kidding. She was a total task-master, asking questions (I answered! And correctly!), telling us to take notes, to sing louder, to smile! And she was also completely motivated by love. You could see her devotion to Krishna in her eyes as she danced.

Okay, more background is necessary, I think.

Uma Krishnamurthy Goswami, M.D.  is a child psychiatrist, scholar of yogic psychology AND a master of classical Indian dance. Her talk was about how each and every one of us is joy, plus mantra, mudras and dance. It sounds incongruous, but trust me when I write that it worked and if you ever have the chance to work with UKG, you absolutely must take it.

A significant part of what made this session so spectacular were the other students. There were about 12 of us! Yes 12! Teeny tiny group! I would estimate that half of the room was composed of teachers or longtime practitioners with at least a basic grasp of yogic philosophy. The other half were admittedly new to yoga in any form. A few of these women (all women!) were openly nervous about the session, because it included no asana. To see recognition of the greater story of yoga in these eyes, to see barriers coming down and light switches being turned on, to see the LOVE in UKG’s eyes was absolutely breathtaking.

We talked about the Kleshas (afflictions or barriers to bliss as described by the yoga sutras) and their antidotes according to the Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. We practiced various mantras. We practiced mudras (UKG says to “do that mudra 100% or not at all”). Then we danced. While we did all of these things, UKG called out for us to sing louder, to smile bigger and in so doing, to abandon our stories about our small -selves, our egos in favor of the bigger story: the connection, the devotion, the love. Then our teacher dropped the real love-bomb: she danced a classical Indian dance. First, she explained the story that the dance tells (one of Krishna’s lovers transforming jealousy into pure devotion), then she danced. And I cannot convey to you what I saw in her eyes other than it was complete devotion to infinity.

If you hear the name Uma Krishnamurthy Goswami, find a way to get yourself to her.

JAI!

{photo credit: Theosophical Society Newsletter}

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