Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Dance Workshop Feedback

Shiva – Nataraja Workshop (12-14 February 2018)

Sofia Foteina:

Dear Prakritiji,

How can one touch beauty without diminishing it? Yes, this is what you did with your dance and the dance of your children, as you called your students. This is what you invoked to happen when you asked all of us to dance with you. You brought heavenly beauty on earth, without blemish, without making it less. You touched our hearts and made us cry of beauty. Beauty and rhythm, beauty and discipline, beauty in seva.

In the occasion of celebrating Shivaratri you gave us the opportunity to contemplate on uniting the female and the male principle by recognizing the imprint of Ardhanarishwara in us. And Shiva Nataraya with his serene face and his cosmic dance was so inviting to make us try to overcome desires and all worldly difficulties with a serene heart.

Allow me to [go into] silence. My words are not enough to describe what you are, what you offer to humanity, ETHOS in love with LIFE.

I am grateful for your offering,

Sofia Foteina

P.S. I would also like to let you know what my student Poly said. It might be interesting coming from someone who gets in touch with our tradition for the first time. She said: The girls were very good, but she (you) was like a noble queen who conducted her children’s life with calm wisdom and certainty.

Jeanne Adams:

Thank you for such a gift ! The PowerPoint program, the beautiful and talented dancers, the history – wow!

The handouts, organization of program and to learn and practice what you know and who you are (your essence).

You are a wonderful guru and I will take back much learning with me to USA. My life has been enriched because of you – Namaste.

Katharina - Austria:

Hari om,

I want to thank you for this wonderful workshop! I didn’t know what we would learn. Do we learn to dance? Do we learn how to dance? And yes we all learnt it! The essence of dance … the story behind and that’s the most important thing to understand. Before it was dance I have not learnt that way. Now it’s art which improves my art as well. It was beautiful.

Thank you for sharing.

Zia Rawji - London:

It is quite widely known that Bharatanatyam as all the other classical dance forms in the Indian tradition were originally rituals of worship offered to deities in the temples.

But your beautiful workshop, both theoretical and with some actual practice made me realise what a complete sadhana the dance form could be – undertaken sincerely and under the guidance of a spiritual guru.

What an amazingly joyful path towards realization, so full of rasa facilitating the 8 stages of ashtanga yoga to occur seemingly effortlessly- if the dancer chooses to become a sadhaka rather than to remain just a superb performer.

Thank you Prakritiji both for the absorbing workshops and the exquisite evening performances by the 2 dedicated and charming students accompanying you .

Om Namah Shivaya!

Sunaina Arha - New Delhi:

It was an absolute joy to attend the workshop. If that’s one of the rasa which was felt throughout. The workshop was very well weaved with both theory and practical experiences.

Your passion for the art-from, reverence towards the gurus, love for the subject, your humility, grace and sheer devotion was inspiring and very moving.

This experience would always stay with me. And, of course, the beautiful students who dance and moved us.

Thank you once again to the entire team of Dr. Prakriti Bhaskar.

Martine, Brigitte, Raymond – Canada:

The workshop made us understand more deeply the Indian culture and the symbolism. Inspiring workshop and very interesting.

The teacher (you) are passionate. You know your art and you are a very good communicator.

Good to ask a lot of questions; it keeps the audience awake and present!

To have the dancer show their art is very powerful .We appreciate to have at first the theory aspects before practicing. The workshop made us discover and demystify the art of India and the symbolism of the different gestures.

It was great and challenging to try and practice all the signs, postures and gestures. We can be more aware of the level of difficulties.

The parallel between dance and the teachings of Swami Rama was wise and really important.

It was very inspiring to see those excellent dancers perform with grace and agility.


I’m truly grateful to have been able to attend this dance intensive workshop on movement and meditation again.

It was a delight to, as Prakriti had put it herself so nicely, participate in her own learning and understanding of dance.

The workshop with its focus on Siva Nataraja, beautifully illustrated the significant relationship between yoga and classical Indian dance.

During these two and a half days, Prakriti and her devoted team have taken us on a journey and enabled us to experience the essence, rasa of this most refined art form.

The carefully selected aspects of theory, practical application, demonstration and stage performances made it possible to dive into the world of dance in such a short period of time.

I would like to thank Prakriti, Bhaskar and her students for this most inspiring and enriching experience.

I couldn’t imagine a better way to approach the great night of awakening, Shivaratri.

With gratitude and pranaams, Lea.

Caralie – France:

I visited India for the first time 2 years ago (South India, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka). I attended a dance performance for the very first time without knowing anything about it. I found it very beautiful. I was amazed by the emotions of the face and technical agility. I couldn’t see at the same time feet, fingers, eyes, because every detail is wonderful.

Now thanks to you, I can better appreciate the talent of dancers, the hard work it is, the histories f Shiva, Parvati etc. and the Hindu philosophy. Thank you very much because it is a wonderful gift.

The teaching is very good:

  • Theory to understand
  • Interactive with questions / answer
  • Practical to try and experience how hard it is and also how peaceful it can be.

If there is Indian dance performance in France,   I would recommend it to my friends. It’s an art to discover in the West.

Catherine Laugee:

Dear Dr. Prakriti Bhaskar,

This is a letter of thanks for the introductory workshop to the Shiva Tandava topic and experience.

Thanks for the pedagogy of it:

  • To show the demonstration first before the actual dancing.
  • To have the 2 young dancers, at different stages of their dance practice, to make it easier to see the progression from 8 to 12 years or more of learning and apprenticeship.
  • To speak beautiful and poetic English and with a microphone.
  • To offer us insight into Indianness, the Sanskrit words, the shlokas and mantras and to take the time to explain word by word before teaching to the symbolism of it.

Thanks for your own personal feedback:

  • The guru of the person I am learning from for many years now was a mauni for 40 years, so they never communicated by speech, only through Telugu written on a slate, then translated into English by someone. And thus it has been an everlasting flow of teachings on every possible yoga topic that has been transmitted to my dear yoga master. So when you told us about your own dance master speaking not your language and you not his as was the case for my Italian master, it was deeply moving. Also that he taught to a handful of students which indicates how deep the teaching must have been.

Thanks for the content of your presentations:

  • Source of it I had already been taught about or read in different ways through yoga practice, lectures or reading of my own and it put a different light on it.
  • I learnt a lot about dance, like no mirrors in Indian classrooms, no movement of the pelvic area so as not to arouse kundalini (some links with Buddhism there?).
  • It is a way to consider Indian dancing and Western classical, for instance the canons of occidental bodies compared to  the diversity of the Indian dances (maybe not different now with modern dance in the West )

Thanks for the experiential part of the workshop:

  • It was excellent to give us the opportunity to practice the mudras, to sing the mantras and to try the steps and hand movements.
  • It would have been nice that this part be longer, 1 hour talk, 1 hour or 2 hour of practice.

Thanks for the insight on the mirror effect between dance and yoga when approached from the spiritual point of view.

  • Question: We always hear about Maya, illusion, delusion of the Self. Could we not consider instead of the half empty glass of maya, the half full glass of Life as the play of the gods with our life?

As Shakespeare has put it “for we are mere puppets in the stream of manifestation” (not the exact words but the meaning …) and once we realize it, whatever is happening takes on a different colour.

Thanks for the evening dance.

The music was elevating. I would like to be able to hear it again, where can I find it ?

  • The dancers were involved in their art.
  • When you danced the last piece, you were in complete union with the Lord of the dance, you – the lady of the dance.
  • No need for the complex approach of clothing and jewelry, a simple change of expression or light movement of finger or body was expressive enough of what is beyond the mirror of appearances.

Thanks for this demonstration of the universality of the art of dance along with its specifics.

Photos by Jay Prakash Bahuguna.

Editor’s Note:

More pictures of the workshop can be seen at http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1802/10.html



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