Updated: Feb 7
Most people head on over to the art museum on the weekends to catch a wave of inspiration while being surrounded by eclectic pieces of art, or to have deep conversations about the origins of a sculpture, but this isn’t any ordinary weekend. Today, it’s a special event called Yoga at the Museum. Occurring only several times a year, yoga at the Milwaukee Art Museum draws an array of enthusiasts from beginner to advanced, ages 7 to 67, and they all have something in common: the desire for self-care.
The atmosphere here is breath-taking and instantly evokes all the senses. Upon walking in, the pure white architecture of the museum’s iconic Windhover Hall sets the stage for a one of a kind experience with its 90-foot-high glass ceiling and panoramic views of Lake Michigan. Next, Kirtan style music starts to fill the air, as live performance artist Scott Hestekin lightly strums the acoustic guitar, while layering in violin, and topping it off with chanting meditative vocals. The energy creates a zen-like experience as the deep breathing exercises and warm-up stretches begin.
Lead by Ryan Hader of Yama Yoga True North, the crowd is ready for an awakening experience. Ryan raises the energy, all while keeping the internal vibrations at peace. During some of the strenuous poses, he easily leads the mind into a tranquil place, making you feel comfortable on the inside, while being in an uncomfortable physical position on the outside. Balance is the key with yoga, and it is the mind-body balance that creates that resonating harmony. At every movement, the breath is being guided, as well as the thoughts in one’s own mind. No one was still for very long, yet their minds were crystal clear; the focus was on discovering your greatness. Each person was there for a reason, and while everyone’s reason may have been different, in the end, everyone walked out feeling the same sense of greatness.
It is well known that yoga has an array of health-benefits. According to the America Osteopathic Association, some of the benefits of yoga are: Increased flexibility, muscle strength, improved respiration, increased energy, vitality and stress relief. While those are all very good reasons to practice yoga, the most important, and I can’t stress it enough, is stress relief. With all the demands we face each day, having a good source for stress relief is extremely important.
So, the next time you find yourself feeling uptight, anxious, or stressed-out, give yoga a try. If you’re lucky enough to live in a major city that hosts special event classes, such as at a museum, it will also be an experience you will never forget. If doing yoga in a group setting isn't our thing, there are numerous videos available online that you can choose from. Either way, you mind and body will thank you.