During college, I took yoga as my gym credit. The practice transformed me, as it does, deepening my ability to be present. Ultimately, that awareness rippled off the mat, making me better at ferreting out the subtler aspects of composition, technique, and story in my art historical studies. Back then, I spent a lot of time meditating in galleries at the local museum, using objects as my point of focus.
Both Yoga and art, as practices, require: discipline, introspection, contemplation, and focus so deep that it becomes a meditation. In Yoga, each breath builds on the next; in art, each artist builds on the ones who came before them. There is a flow to both; an unfolding is intrinsic to each.
I wonder, the last time you went to a museum, did you actually see the art? Are you sure? Seems strange but most museum visitors will spend less than three seconds looking at an object. Which begs the actual question: “were you even present for that bit of time?”
Recently I shared with my yoga students at The Baltimore Museum of Art how I came to design a public program where art history and yoga are interwoven. Although there are many reasons (including that it is the coolest thing ever to do yoga next to a Rembrandt), I realized as I said it: “my true goal with this class is to teach you to not just look, I want you to actually see.”