How do you go about understanding an artwork? You might start with the basics by exploring the composition—its alignment, balance, perspective, lines, shapes, contrast, movement, patterns, and rhythm. As we yearn to understand the world around us, challenging yourself to understand your own composition of body and mind will hopefully prepare you for your journey of exploration! Recently, many museums have begun to redefine the use of their magnificent spaces by offering innovative learning opportunities such as mass yoga sessions in the galleries—juxtaposing the alignment, balance, and movement of the body with the composition of the surrounding artworks.
In 2013, Crystal Bridges started a new program in collaboration with Bentonville’s Yoga Story to explore the Museum’s serene outdoor spaces and sculptures through yoga. Afterwards, guests found that from stretching their body and focusing their mind they had found a perfect “chi” moment to go visit the galleries! Yoga Story instructors prepared each session according to the space and the artwork; for example, when the group met near George Rickey’s One Fixed Four Jointed Lines Biased, the class focused on the lines and joints of the body. On the North Lawn, the yoga class stretched near Mark di Suvero’s monumental sculpture Lowell’s Ocean, and focused on the strength of gravity and upward mobility and spontaneity. Finally, we gathered at the South Lawn for a mass yoga session during the Summer Solstice near Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture, where participants focused on the positive energy of love: for ourselves, our community, our world. The meditative sounds of Craig Colorusso’s Sun Boxes helped enhance the mood.
“The yoga/ art experience at Crystal Bridges was the perfect combination to enjoy the beauty of art and nature and open our bodies as well,” said Cindee Joslin, owner of Yoga Story. “It was truly a breathtaking journey and everyone who participated noted an exhilaration of body, mind and spirit.”
To kick off the hot summer season of 2014, we’d like to explore the serenity and solitude of the Museum’s cool indoor spaces with yoga, in hopes that guests might continue their journey through the galleries refreshed and open for creative thinking. Yoga Story will offer our first “mass” yoga in the Great Hall on May 3 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. On June 21, we hope the whole community will join us for the Summer Solstice celebration at the South Lawn and Skyspace, which includes yoga sessions led by Soul Yoga Lounge at 7, 9, and 11 a.m. on the South Lawn.