YoGA at MoMA – The Beauty of Unexpected Juxtapositions

photo by Wayne Price


Two hundred people kicking off their shoes and squishing their bulky winter coats into their bags in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art. Suspended over us as people roll out their yoga mats is artist Gabriel Orozco’s giant whale skeleton, marked with spiraling graphite concentric circles. Sharon and I warm up for assisting Elena Brower in her 3rd YoGA at MoMA session with a celebratory foot-to-foot Hanumanasana, our arms reaching exuberantly up into the space, loving the absolutely surreal experience of being barefoot and in yoga clothes at the MoMA. Elena, accompanied by Garth Stevenson on cello, proceeds to offer a beautiful class connecting the spaciousness of the atrium and the wild creativity of the work above us to the openness and spaciousness of our own hearts.
The class concludes with an echoing OM that rises up to engulf Orozco’s whale in sound. Namaste. Release my hands, open my eyes, pull on my sweater, socks and shoes, loop my MoMA ID over my head. I have a tour group waiting for me in the education wing of the museum. I lead my group through a discussion of body language – Giacometti, DuBuffet, Warhol, Lichtenstein – each work a window or door into a new way of thinking about bodies and communication, about innovation and style. Each work an opportunity to become more spacious simply because it is a new perspective offered to us.
There is always more. Shri. Our bodies in space. The space inside our hearts. The spaciousness of opportunity and of new modes of thought. What triggers our urge toward innovation and self-expression? Why take a yoga class out of the studio and into the streets? Into a museum? And how do we feed our self-expression by drawing the outside world more richly into our individual sensibilities? Welcome the beauty and wild creativity surrounding us into our own experience so that we become larger, more expansive?
 When we seek out and embrace unexpected juxtapositions, we activate our creativity. This reintroduces us to our rich inner resources, which, when touched upon, extend out once again. More creativity. More beauty. Shri.
Susanna Harwood Rubin

Author Susanna Harwood Rubin

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