For the second year running, East Lansing cultural staple the Broad Art Museum presents a unique alternative to standard yoga practice with free classes in its sculpture garden.
Classes are held on the fourth Saturday of every month, and the next class is this Saturday, June 27th. I spoke with Michelle Word, the Director of Education at the Broad Art Museum, to learn more about this popular program.
The classes began in the spirit of community engagement. Word explained that “It all got started because we are interested in bringing the community into the museum. We are always looking to do free, community-oriented activities.” The program has certainly been successful in its goal of attracting people, with the average number of participants ranging from 50 to 100 per class.
People of all ages with all levels of experience are invited to the events, making it an easily accessible way for local residents to interact with yoga and with the museum itself. The work of the instructors themselves reflects this collective spirit. They are all affiliated with “Just B Yoga,” which is a donation-only studio in REO Town that offers yoga, tai chi and meditation for the Lansing community. Rather than being driven by profit, these instructors are inspired by meaningful interaction with the community.
Although most yogis are accustomed to attending yoga studios, the setting of the sculpture garden underscores the very nature of the practice. Word described the harmony of these kindred energies in the following manner, “Yoga is, in my mind, something that's kind of meditative and contemplative but that can also be very communal, which is a nice vibe for art as well, which can be contemplative but also encourages a kind of communal experiences.”
The response from community members has been overwhelmingly positive. Some have told Word that they wished classes were held more often, or that the museum could expand into offering similar exercises such as tai chi.
Neither of these possibilities can be confirmed at the moment, but Word spoke to me about a few of the program's plans, “We definitely know we'll continue doing yoga. We might consider moving it into fall, but you know how it is with the weather here, so stopping at August right now is our main focus. We are considering maybe doing some programming of yoga within the gallery spaces too.”
To register for yoga at The Broad Museum, click here.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Museum in located at 547 East Circle Drive.
Photo: Seattle Yoga News