About Us

Virya Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization striving to empower and heal individuals across the world through Indian classical dance, Kathak, as a Dance Movement Therapy. Interventions such as Dance Movement Therapy potentially offer interesting and acceptable treatment options for people dealing with a variety of health issues. Dance therapy is based on the idea that mind and body are co-relational, and for Kathak to be an effective tool for Dance Movement Therapy, it must work as creative therapy that strengthens this connection. 


Virya is the Sanskrit word translated into "energy," "diligence," "enthusiasm," or "effort." It can be defined as an attitude of gladly engaging in wholesome activities, and it functions to cause one to accomplish wholesome or virtuous actions. To help mitigate health-related psychological and physiological issues, Virya Foundation’s goal is to guide individuals to mentally, physically, and emotionally heal through Dance Movement Therapy in order to lead more peaceful and powerful lives. 

My Story

Hi! My name is Riya and I am the founder of Virya Foundation. In the Spring of 2019, Virya Foundation had the opportunity to go to India and teach Kathak to more than 35 underprivileged girls as a form of Dance Movement Therapy. This was a way for the girls to heal from the traumatic experiences they have suffered through. We learned how to express our emotions through dance and how to let go of negative thoughts through storytelling dances. We also practiced daily meditation and mindfulness in order to find peace within ourselves and our surroundings. The workshop was a success as it increased confidence and overall happiness among the girls. After my insightful experience, I knew that I had to continue to spread this therapeutic form of dance to my community.


I have been learning Indian Classical dance, Kathak, for the past 11 years. As a professional company performer for the past 6 years, I have performed at numerous prestigious places including the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco Opera House, and Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. Through my organization, I aspire to help individuals improve their overall wellbeing through dance. The fast footwork of Kathak helps to release anger and tension, while the delicate hand movements help to find beauty within oneself. My goal is to spread my knowledge of Kathak as a Dance Movement Therapy to establish a strong connection of the mind, body, and soul. I strongly believe that when these three parts of your body work synergistically together, the body will be able to naturally heal and balance itself. Aside from dancing, I love singing, hiking, exploring new places, and petting dogs!