Now You Can Go to Yoga Class at the Smithsonian

This meditating Jina is one of more than 130 works of art on view in "Yoga: The Art of Transformation," the world's first exhibition on the art of yoga. More than 2,000 years of yoga's mysteries and meanings are revealed, starting October 19 at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. (Jina; India, Rajasthan, probably vicinity of Mount Abu, dated 1160; Marble; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund, 2000.98) The world's first exhibition on the art of yoga arrives at the Smithsonian 10/19. (PRNewsFoto/Smithsonian Institution) Photo: PRNewsFoto/Smithsonian Institution

Undeterred by the government shutdown, the first-ever yoga art exhibit is now on view at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian. A tribute to the practice’s visual history, the exhibition showcases the Eastern roots of the $5 billion U.S. industry. The display includes items like sculptures of yogi goddesses from a tenth-century south Indian temple, folios from the first illustrated set of asanas (yogic postures), and Thomas Edison’s Hindoo Fakir (1906), the first movie produced about India. The exhibition is interactive, too: Visitors can attempt intricate rice powder drawings, make “yoga-inspired art,” and attend a hybrid museum-tour-yoga class, co-led by docents and guest yoga instructors. With workshops titled “Art in Context” and funded in part by Hilaria Baldwin, the exhibition sounds like a very earnest effort to respond to complaints about the cultural appropriation of the practice — which is something we can all raise our glasses of coconut water to, right? 

Shop: The Cut's Best Bets