The yoga and classical dance traditions of India have been inextricably entwined for millennia. The exacting hand gestures, postures and movements of Indian classical dance can only be achieved through yogic concentration. Conversely, the esthetics, symmetry, and dynamism of dance enhance the practice of yoga. These two traditions, so complementary and essential to one another, are united and explicated for the first time in A Yoga of Indian Classical Dance. Twenty-five years ago Roxanne Kamayani Gupta embarked on a journey of dance and yoga, yearning to unlock their mysteries and discover their common origins. As a twenty-year-old student from America she was miraculously and mysteriously absorbed into Indian culture, became a Hindu, and began an odyssey so unusual and unique that the reader will be enchanted by its telling. Choosing the path of the dancer, Roxanne Gupta accomplished what no Western woman had done before: being accepted and trained by Indian masters and then performing in the Indian classical traditions--from the palaces of maharajas to the arts festivals of Europe and America--while at the same time achieving a doctorate in the anthropology of religion and being initiated into a number of yogic traditions. Having mastered the classical form of Kuchipudi dance and studied with teachers of the hatha and kriya yoga traditions, she brings together these two great streams of consciousness and practice.
In this tantric approach to yoga and dance, expressed through the body and through a yoga of emotions, we see the traditions embodied in a manner that embraces the totality of the human experience. The result is the dance of the yogini, the sacred feminine initiatress who dances with one foot in nature and the other in the realm of the gods. With extensive photographs of innovative yoga routines, Roxanne Kamayani Gupta distills her experience into techniques for yogic study certain to assist students of all levels to achieve a dynamic, beautiful, and graceful practice.
Roxanne Kamayani Gupta is a scholar of Indian culture and comparative religion, a teacher of hatha and kriya yoga, and an initiate of the Sri Vidya tantric tradition of goddess worship. She holds a doctorate in Anthropology of Religion from Syracuse University and is currently Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania.
"A captivating personal narrative. This unique story is a blend of autobiography, philosophical reflection, and firsthand insight. [Gupta's] explanations of Indian dramatic theory and discussions of yoga and dance in historical and religions terms are clear-cut and informative."
– Library Journal, April 15, 2000
"Fascinating work. One of the outcomes of her creative tantric synthesis of dance and yoga is a series of 64 innovative yoga exercises that are photgraphed and presented in detail in this book."
"An exquisitely presented, magnificently related story. Gupta evinces a fascinating appreciation of the many great dancers with whom she trained in the practice, drama, and philosophy of Indian classical dance. Glorious, original and inspirational book."