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Earth's ultimate yogis – in pictures

Worried that fitness obsessives were making yoga too commercial, photographer Andy Richter went in search of the true spiritual path – from mass retreats in America to caves in India

New Mexico, USA, June 2012

Following two and a half days of White Tantric Yoga, yogis in New Mexico take a blind walk through the arid landscape. Andy Richter practised yoga for several years, but became worried that its huge growth in popularity – focusing on celebrity yogis and body-beautiful promises – had overcommercialised it. So he went to find its true meaning and document both its past and living present. Along the way, he met saints and yogis

Punjab, India, March 2013

Students at Miri Piri Academy, in Amritsar, practise Kundalini yoga
kriyas (postures) in the reflection of Yogi Bhajan. Based on the teachings of the great yogi and founder, Siri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan, the boarding school’s curriculum combines academic study with mastery of Kundalini yoga and meditation

Uttarakhand, India, May 2016

Radha and Krishna on the television at Mauni Baba ashram near Neelkanth

Colorado, USA, August 2015

Thousands of yogis practise
asana (seated exercise) during a early morning class at Red Rocks Amphitheater near Morrison, Colorado. Approximately 3,000 attended the sold-out Yoga on the Rocks event

Beijing, China, December 2013

A yogini lies in
savasana (or ‘corpse pose’), at Yogi Yoga in Beijing. The Chinese have engaged in mind-body practices for centuries, yet the state, suspicious of activity that could undermine the collective order, has been slow to embrace yoga as a method of personal realisation

Uttar Pradesh, India, March 2012

A young devotee blesses pilgrims along the Govardhan Parikrama (circular pilgrimage path), where Krishna is believed to have spent much of his youth

Uttar Pradesh, India, March 2012

Krishna devotees prostrate during the
parikrama around Govardhan. Moving one stone her body’s length with each prostration (of 108 stones), the devotee in the foreground will take 12 years to complete her walk around Govardhan’s sacred hill. Her
bhakti (devotion to Krishna) keeps her moving forward

California, USA, January 2015

Morning invocation during a retreat at the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) hermitage in Encinitas, California

Madhya Pradesh, India, April 2016

A sadhu practises Plavini pranayama (a breathing exercise) while floating on the Shipra river during the Kumbh Mela in Ujjain

Uttar Pradesh, India, April 2016

Meditation on the Yamuna river at Keshi Ghat, in Vrindavan. Andy Richter is crowdfunding the publication of a book of his yoga images,
Serpent in the Wilderness, in collaboration with Kehrer Verlag

Source: The Guardian

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