Shakti Arts Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering authentic self-expression in diverse communities through dance, voice, yoga, and interpersonal communication.
The word "Shakti" denotes the feminine force which gives birth to the diversity of the world – it is in this diversity we see that all is one. And it is through connection with one another and with ourselves that we discover the binding force between all that is seemingly “different.”
Shakti celebrates expression of this diversity through many modalities and strives to bring Eastern values of community and non-duality to the West. Shakti recognizes that every body and mind is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to self-expression. Our goal is to empower all students with their natural potential for creative expression and encourage innovative approaches to traditional styles.
Our regional and international event partners have included: ASHA for Women, Covenant House, Sanlaap India, Swayam for Women, Missionaries of Charity, and more.
Among our offerings are workshops in:
- Shakti Yoga for Self ExpressionTM. Shakti Yoga for Self ExpressionTM is yoga for YOU - This transformative practice helps unlock creativity and self-reliance through exploration and honoring of our individual bodies and minds. It is yoga of self-expression and improvisation, through which we learn to rely on our body and instincts to guide us through the practice, rather than rigidly set sequences presented by instructors. In the beginning of the class, a combination of asana and vinyasa drived from Tantra Hatha Yoga, as well as God and Goddess dance poses are presented, which will help us feel and tune in to the places of tension in our bodies. From there, we take the reins to move in ways that feel right and natural to the body in the moment. These may not always be the poses that are seen on magazine covers, but they can be the most effective poses for dissolving tension.
- Chakra Sound Healing and Indian Music/Ragas. Music is a method to restore the body to its original state of harmony. The ragas of classical Indian music are derived from Sama Veda and, like Ayurveda, they also have their source in the Vedic tradition, which disappeared around three to five thousand years ago. The musician catches the mood of nature, the surroundings and the audience and presents it with voice or instrument. Raga music has a concept of time and quality that assigns the various ragas to particular times, seasons or emotions.
- Indian Classical Dance(Odissi). Odissi Indian Classical Dance is an ancient devotional temple dance from northeast India, originating from the Devadasi tradition of India, which was later abolished by British colonialism. In this practice, we focus on embodying the divine and depicting the attributes of Indian spiritual Gods and Goddesses, like Lakshmi, Shiva, Durga, and many more through dance. These gods and goddesses each represent a doorway into a new level of ourselves and guide us to the deepest regions of our own true nature.
- Authentic Communication Group and Private Sessions. This challenging, yet transformative practice can best be described as "interpersonal meditation," in which participants are guided into deeper awareness of oneself in connection with others. The practice teaches us to acknowledge and give space to all of our sensations, emotions, and judgments without rejecting anything, and brings us to a plae of greater compassion, openness, and understanding of ourselves and others.
- Belly Dance and Freeing the Body. Belly dance is a mostly improvisational dance emphasizing the torso, articulations of the hips, and movement of the arms. In this dance form we focus on relaxation and freeing of the muscles in order to gain new ranges and types of movement. Through relaxation we gain greater kinesthetic awareness of the fluidity of our bodies, which teaches us to unlock new ways of movement of which we were previously unaware.
Rimi has trained in Indian classical dance and music for 16 years under various teachers, including Dr. Chitra Krishnamurti in Washington DC and Pandits Ajay Chakroborty and Sanjay Chakroborty in India. After completing her graduate dance certification from Nrityalaya Dance Academy in Potomac, MD in 2002, she has performed at numerous venues around the world, fusing her love for Indian classical arts with her own modern style and creative touch, and often infusing live singing of mantras and shlokas into her dance performances. To this end, she has also developed trademark multidisciplinary styles for her classes, fusing Indian classical dance with yoga and the voice in Shakti Yoga. She has performed and offered workshops around the world, in India, Singapore, France, South America, and the United States.
Her goal is to preserve world cultures and languages, with a particular interest in South Asia and the Middle East, through fusing with modern forms of dance and music to keep them fresh and relevant for the contemporary world. To that end, she has worked with numerous artists and companies to expand the scope of her work and offer new and innovative presentations of ancient dance and music forms.
Maryamma’s passion for Yoga (the Union of Body, Mind, & Spirit = Self-Realization) have taken her to 500+ hours of deep studying into roots of Yoga, Tantra, Ayurveda, Flow Art (free-form movement meditation called Yoga Trance Dance™) lineage of Prana Vinyasa Flow by Shiva Rea Devi. Maryamma's intense desire for Sound has taken her to Vocal Yoga (Indian Raga) studies with Visvambhar Sheth and Sudeshna Basu. The journey to Mother India and Yoga first started with Bhakti Yoga with her first yoga teacher Gopi Kinnicutt. "The more we unfold the magic of self-realization we learn there are so much more layers of magic is left to unfold. With gratitude and deep love, life dedicated to Shakti Devi Sadhana and sharing the lessons of the Great Goddess. Passionate, PlayFul “heart-core” Yogini. Agni (Fire) keeper, transmitter of the teachings, forever Student, born a Dancer, Rebel, Fire Eagle. Ever amazed by the infinite Universes inside and outside.
Jaya Prakash / John Paul Patterson
JP has taught Yoga and Meditation for over 15 years and was trained and certified in India by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait of the Himalayan Institute in Allahabad U.P. and Honesdale, Pennsylvania. His academic background is in Indian Philosophy, on which he frequently lectures locally in high schools and colleges. He currently studies Vedanta Philosophy and Sanskrit with Swamini Svatmavidyananda, a nun of the Shankaracharya order and speaker on The Vatican's panel of world religions. He is also a certified Physical Therapist with a Sports Medicine Certification from American College of Sports Medicine, and a Registered Yoga Teacher with Meditation Instruction Specialty.
His teaching style for Yoga is restorative and appropriate for any beginner or continuing students seeking a relaxing therapeutic class which includes gentle restorative asana, pranayama, pratyahara and meditation emphasizing the inner practices of traditional Yoga.