Kathak Yoga is an innovation created by Pandit Das – a unique and virtuosic practice with a contemporary edge yet reverting deeper into the traditional and fundamental foundation of Indian classical music and dance. In this practice, the dancer performs complex rhythmic compositions through footwork and movements while continuously reciting the underlying rhythmic structure (taal) and singing the corresponding melody (lehera). The dancer also simultaneously plays an instrument – tabla, harmonium or manjira (finger cymbals).
Inspired by the sadhus (spiritual hermits) of India in which they would push physical, mental and spiritual boundaries to attain moksha (ultimate liberation), the purpose of Kathak Yoga is to empower the dancer to become one’s own musician and to fully integrate the mind, body, and spirit. This practice exemplifies that one does not have to go outside of one’s own tradition to innovate. Kathak Yoga was featured in Dr. Sarah Morelli’s dissertation at Harvard University and has received international critical acclaim.
Rachna Nivas is a pioneer in playing harmonium while practicing the technique of Kathak Yoga. She is most known for her exhilarating performances in a complex 9.5 beat rhythmic cycle while singing, dancing, playing, and improvising. She has performed Kathak Yoga in over 20 prestigious venues and multi-disciplinary conferences across the U.S. and India – including Zellerbach Hall Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, International Kriya Yoga Congress in California, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Yale University, National Center for Kathak Dance in Delhi, National Center for Performing Arts in Mumbai, Shaniwar Wada Festival in Pune, and many others.