Check Your Chakra: Smithsonian’s Blockbuster Yoga Exhibition Opens at the Sackler Gallery


On Saturday the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery opened its exhibition, “Yoga: The Art of Transformation,” which boasts a collection of Indian art and artifacts that offers new perspectives on the history of the practice, according to ABC News. “It examines for the first time a spectacular, but until now largely ignored, archive,” Sackler director Julian Raby told ABC News. “That archive is India’s visual culture of extraordinary yoga-related artworks created, as you will see, over some two millennia.”

To cover the more than 2,000 years of yoga’s history, curators have brought together sculptures, paintings, manuscripts, illustrations, photos and films — many of which have never been seen before, including the first reunion of three stone yogini goddesses removed from a 10th century temple. Later examples include early 20th century American posters and a 1902 film by Thomas Edison.

Since a yoga exhibition isn’t quite complete without a little stretching, guest teachers are leading classes in the galleries on Wednesdays and Sundays, and a lineup of symposiums, tours, and performances are scheduled around the show as well.

The exhibition will be at the Sackler until January 26, 2014, after which it will travel to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (February 21-May 25, 2014) before continuing on its way to the Cleveland Museum of Art (June 22-September 7, 2014).

— Meredith Caraher

(Image: Detail of “Vishnu Vishvarupa,” India, Rajasthan, Jaipur, circa 1800-1820. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Given by Mrs. Gerald Clark IS.33-2006.)