In the woods of rural Maine, Uma Lescault and her peers live, work, and pray at the Shiva-worshipping Hridaya Hermitage. Located outside of the town of Farmington, the 25+ members of the ashram live off the grid in seemingly transplanted Hindu temples, 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, to work at the ashram, and to achieve the goal of the diamond body - where one's consciousness exists outside the body, intact in a spiritual plane. Married to the guru's son, Bhole, she is the teacher of the community's children at their school, the Hridaya Gurukul.
For more information on the Hridaya Hermitage, visit the ashram's website or Facebook page.
Images are courtesy of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.
Images are scans from originals shot on Fujifilm in the fall/winter of 2007.