Yoga is an art. As art belongs in a gallery, so does Yoga!
I wrote the above candid caption as part of a promotion for the exciting new yoga classes I’d been invited to teach at the Manning Regional Art Gallery in Taree. I love this special gallery, a community resource for countless people, and I adore yoga. What could be better than putting the two together?
Over these last two years, the classes proved to be popular. In the photo below which my off-sider Julie Spicer (Wallabi Yoga) took when I was away, you can see students working on their balancing poses against a background of a local surf culture exhibition.
My long fascination with yoga presented as art
Twenty five years ago I had the bright idea of doing a yoga demonstration at the Art Gallery of NSW.
I believed then and still do that yoga is a beautiful art form that deserves to be presented for the public, as well as done in personal practice.
I was too shy to invade the space of the Art Gallery on my own, so I talked Annie Cocksedge of Centennial Yoga into joining me. Off we trundled on a sunny but chilly spring day with our yoga mats.
I wish I had a photo of us from back then, way before mobile phone cameras, but here’s an image of the Art Gallery.
Picture Annie and me, like bookends on either of the wide staircase, doing our synchronised practice of standing poses, backbends, inversions, forward bends and twists. Our demonstration did stop traffic, as yoga wasn’t as widespread as it is now. Annie and I managed to maintain an air of mystery, without banners or signs, just us and our mats and joyful practice.
A precedent from the Art Gallery of NSW
My colleague Danny May from Yoga Synergy conducted a Sunday morning yoga session (pictured above) while Edmund Capon was still director of the Gallery. I felt honoured to be part of this enthusiastic group of yogis, sharing the space with painting and sculpture masterpieces. The atmosphere we created was quiet and reverential.
So, now I’m sad to say….
Last night was my last class at the Taree gallery. I’ve been instructed by the director of the gallery that for a variety of reasons the evening yoga sessions can no longer be conducted at the gallery.
Truthfully, I was devastated by the news that I needed to finish up. Decades of yoga practice haven’t made me impervious to emotional upsets.
I have a lovely yoga studio at home and, from next week, I will move the Wednesday evening class to The Yoga Shed. But what I will miss is the Taree community connection. Yoga has a magic luminosity that brightens the areas in which it shines.
I felt that I’d turned this intangible light off as the students and I left the gallery last night.
Nevertheless this is a truth:
All endings equal new beginnings
Perhaps I will see some of you at the Yoga Shed on Mitchells Island next Wednesday at 5pm. Let me know if you want to attend, and also if this time suits you: 6553 2056.
What a magic space to have taught in, Eve!
I know, I know. All of us were in gratitude at the end of each session….
Being a Friend of the Gallery and very much involved in creating new audiences/participation in our Regional Gallery it was disturbing to hear that Yoga classes amongst other community group activities have ceased at the gallery. Hopefully with better communication, a balance in management can be sort so the vibrant activity of the Gallery is not lost for ever!
I’m with you, Dusty. I would be happy to re-instate the Weds. evening yoga class in the main gallery at any time. But, it would seem that now there is a general cancelling of activities that formerly were quite welcome in the space. I wonder how the Manning Valley community will feel invited to participate in the Gallery in the future?