SAWK Photography

Documentary: At the Ashram

Uma Lescault and her peers live, work, and pray at the Shiva-worshipping Hridaya Hermitage in Industry, Maine. The 25+ members of the ashram live off the grid in the beautiful Maine woods, practicing the yogic lifestyle and following their two gurus, Bhagavan and Mirabai.

At 18, Uma - then Hridayani - took vows within the community, shaved her head, and changed her name. She devoted herself to the gurus and to work at the ashram, and is the resident teacher of the community's children. Recently, Uma was married to the guru's son.

For more information on the Hridaya Hermitage, visit the ashram's website or Facebook page.

Photos courtesy of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, Fall 2007.

Uma on the path to the Siddha Loka.
Uma in her home.
Uma before she was Uma - Hridayani - twirling the braid that was shaved when she devoted herself to the gurus.
Uma holds baby Aja while lunch is prepared in the Siddha Loka.
At school.
Uma, as Hridayani, with Sati, the daughter of the two gurus.
Uma with her gurus, Bhagavan and Mirabai.
Sug shaves his son Adi's head while other children wait to play.
Uma and Aja.
Radha prepares lunch while Baby Bhu, her daughter, looks on.
Baby Bhu, Kaya, and Sati play in the windowsill.
Adi rides his bike up the path to the Siddha Loka.
Savasana - corpse pose.