Why? Yoga: The Art of Transformation!

You all know I love me my yoga (and I’m anxiously awaiting my 6-week postpartum clearance from the doctor so I can start practicing again). So, I was really excited to check out the newest special exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of ArtYoga: The Art of Transformation.

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This is the world’s first exhibition about yoga’s visual history and the collection spans from the first century to the early twentieth century. There are images from ancient texts depicting and describing yoga poses, as well as the history of yogis.

Battle at Thaneshwar, bifolio from the Akbarnama,  1590–95. Composed by Basawan; painted by Asi. India, Mughal dynasty. Opaque watercolor, gold, and  ink on paper; 38.1 x 22.4 cm. Victoria and Albert  Museum, London IS.2:62-1896.
Battle at Thaneshwar, bifolio from the Akbarnama, 1590–95. Composed by Basawan; painted by Asi. India, Mughal dynasty. Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on paper; 38.1 x 22.4 cm. Victoria and Albert Museum, London IS.2:62-1896.

One of the most intriguing pieces in the exhibition is the display of three life-sized female yogini sculptures from the tenth century, reunited in this exhibition for the first time.

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The exhibition also delves into yoga’s history in early twentieth-century America, when yogis were mainly part of circus acts.

“Mystery girl: why can’t she be killed?” Look,  September 28, 1937. Des Moines, Iowa, United States. Magazine; 34.1 × 26.6 cm. Private Collection.
“Mystery girl: why can’t she be killed?” Look, September 28, 1937. Des Moines, Iowa, United States. Magazine; 34.1 × 26.6 cm. Private Collection.

The exhibition focuses on yoga’s long and storied history, far beyond the asana practice that many of us associate with yoga today, but still contains elements of the familiar, such as chakras.

The Chakras of the Subtle Body, folio 4 from the Siddha  Siddhanta Paddhati, 1824 (Samvat 1881). Bulaki. India,  Rajasthan, Jodhpur. Opaque watercolor and gold on  paper; 122 x 46 cm. Mehrangarh Museum Trust RJS  2376.
The Chakras of the Subtle Body, folio 4 from the Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati, 1824 (Samvat 1881). Bulaki. India,
Rajasthan, Jodhpur. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper; 122 x 46 cm. Mehrangarh Museum Trust RJS 2376.

Yoga: The Art of Transformation is open now through September 7. Admission to the exhibition is $15 (free for Museum members). Click here for more information on the exhibition, as well as available tours and gallery talks.

The Cleveland Museum of Art will also be incorporating asana with art in a lovely practice space that is part of the exhibition.

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On Sundays at 11am and 2:30pm from June 29 through August 31, yoga teachers from various Cleveland studios such as Cleveland Yoga and Inner Bliss will offer classes in different yoga styles. Admission to the exhibition and class is $19, admission to the class only is $12 (class-only is $8 for Museum members).

The exhibition is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for yoga, which will certainly enhance your practice. Namaste!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media preview of Yoga: The Art of Transformation. Some images in this post courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

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