A few months ago, I joined a group of my girlfriends at the Blanton Museum of Art for one of the museum’s monthly “Third Thursday” programs. We enjoyed the opening of a new exhibit, a stroll through the museum’s permanent collection, and live music in the foyer, but the main draw for us was the opportunity to take a yoga class in one of the galleries, surrounded by beautiful paintings. The refined ambiance lent a whole new energy to our poses, and we were able to view the works from a new perspective. I mean this quite literally, as we were standing on our heads at least once during the class.
I’m intrigued by the many special activities museums are hosting to attract new audiences: Happy hours with live music, film screenings, book discussions, hands-on art lessons, and now, yoga and other exercise classes.
So my interest was piqued when I got word of a yoga class (Feb. 21 and Mar. 14) in conjunction with the controversial touring exhibition BODIES, currently at the West End Marketplace in Dallas (866/312-3931; www.bodiesdallas.com). In case you haven’t heard of it, BODIES showcases real human bodies, preserved by a process called “plastination,” so that you can study human anatomy in detail—muscles, organs, blood vessels—the whole kit and kaboodle. I saw a similar (competing, I think) show (BodyWorlds) at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, a few years ago, and I found it simultaneously fascinating and macabre; it certainly made me mindful of how complicated the human body is. I’m not a squeamish sort. But doing yoga amidst it all? That could be too real even for me.