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Vamping to Nirvana

Seattle Met, Published Feb 1, 2014, 5:00am

By: Laura Cassidy
Image: Dennis Wise

A conversation with enlightenment seeker and performance artist

Natasha Lady Krishna

NATASHA SHULMAN’S WARRIOR POSE is a little different than most people’s. Sure, because of those six-inch heels, but also because she learned it in the ’80s on New York’s Lower East Side as one of the first students of Jivamukti yoga—now the practice of choice for celeb yogis like Madonna, Sting, and Betsey Johnson. Natasha Lady Krishna, as she is much more commonly known, doesn’t always wear vinyl bondage boots when leading free Thursday-night meditations at 8 Limbs on Capitol Hill, but if the native-born portraitist and singer is off for, say, a gig with her band the Peppermint Lounge after class, well, those on the spiritual path often prefer to travel light.

WHAT ARE YOU WEARING I’ve had this leather jacket since 1985. Well, not really. I had one just like it but I gave it away, and then this one came back to me. I like tight clothes. Tight, tight, tight. I feel vulnerable in loose clothes. And yes, this is all my hair. When I hang out with the burlesque girls, they always want to know.

YOUR LOOK I used to perform with Steve Buscemi in New York, and he described me as Marlene Dietrich on acid, but I’ve been wearing a variation of this outfit for as long as I can remember. I probably would have just been a cheerleader, but my family was too left wing.

YOUR NAME My roommates in New York gave it to me ages ago. I was always coming in from the clubs when they were getting up to do yoga. It was a joke about noble devotees—a joke that I didn’t really need to get up to meditate. But of course I did. I just kept different hours.

STYLE AS LOVING KINDESS I came back to the Northwest to love people in down jackets. I mean, the Dalai Lama wears some pretty square-looking shoes, right? The real gurus, they see through all that. I hope we all can.

AGE-APPROPRIATE ATTIRE In India your age is related to how flexible your spine is, and I’ve been doing yoga since 1986. I’m older than all of you, but I’m younger too.

IN LIVING COLOR My band and I are performing at Everyday Music on 10th Avenue on Valentine’s Day. It’s like a holy day.

BIO

While she was smoking a cigarette and drinking a martini at Life Café in New York City, David Life (co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga) double-dared Natasha to come practice at their studio on Ave. B. In 1986, she became one of their first five students and studied with David and Sharon for a decade. Here she met Krishna Dass who introduced her to her love of Kirtan. Lady Krishna is a “Bhakti Baby”—an avid devotee of the Mother. She is said to have three mothers: her own (Dada), Amritanandamayi and Karunamayi Ma. In 1995, Gurunam read her palm in a NYC coffee shop and gave her permission to teach Kundalini Yoga. Then she changed coasts. Among the first students at the then newly opened 8 Limbs Yoga Center on Capitol Hill, Natasha started a Kundalini yoga class which evolved into her current meditation group on Thursday nights. She was initiated into meditation in 2001 by instruction through the lineage of Shri Shivabalayogi and was initiated to give initiations by Shivabalananda in 2004. Natasha is an artist and front woman for the band Lady Krishna’s Peppermint Lounge as well as a Reiki practitioner and certified Yoga instructor. Email theladykrishna@gmail.com for additional information on setting up private meditation, healing, or yoga classes.
She hopes everyone will begin their meditation practice NOW.