Last weekend Eleanor Criswell, former president and current member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) and I went to the “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” exhibit currently being held at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. We also attended the panel discussion “The Ancient Science of Yoga” co-sponsored by IAYT, Asia Society and the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.
Eleanor and I both serve on the IAYT Accreditation Committee and it was a delight to spend this time with her in a more casual setting. I asked her to share what she most enjoyed and what she thinks that students of Yoga might find most interesting or surprising about the exhibit. I have to say I felt much the same as Eleanor did:“My favorite part of the exhibition was the opportunity to see displayed a book by Shri Yogendra (Founder of the Yoga Institute (1918), Santacruz (East), Mumbai, India), titled Yoga—Personal Hygiene. Yogendra brought yoga classes to “householders”, which are the forerunners to yoga classes as we now know them. I also loved being surrounded by all the many yoga images, the opportunity to see things that I have only been able to see in books. The panel discussion brought greater meaning to the yoga images. My thanks to everyone who helped make this exhibit possible. What I think that students of Yoga might find most surprising or interesting about the exhibit is that this is not just art: It is spiritual art. Therefore, to be in the exhibit is to be surrounded by very powerful yoga images. The effect of being in that environment continues to inspire even after you leave it. Also, that meditative yoga was much more emphasized in early yogic history than hatha yoga, which is relatively recent.”
Another well-known Yogi with a mission to bring Yoga to householders, – in this case to those in the United States – Paramhansa Yogananda, was prominently pictured in the display outside the exhibit shown above.
The show continues until May 25, 2014. I plan to return to view the art again and listen to the next two lectures co-sponsored by IAYT, Asia Society and the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine on April 12 and 17.
Let me know if YOU will be attending. I would love to say “hi”.