Grab your mat and Van Gogh for this immersive yoga experience

Everyone on social media seems to have the Immersive Van Gogh exhibition on their must-see list, but did you know that it also hosts yoga classes? I was asked to take a press only yoga class to try out the 35-minute wall-to-wall cinematic experience.

While I was taking the yoga class in New York, the immersive Van Gogh exhibit holds yoga classes at 20 locations in 20 cities across the United States and Canada. To find course details in your city, be sure to click on the “choose your city” drop-down menu located at the top of the web page, then search for “yoga class” before purchasing your tickets in order to secure tickets for the correct location. The ticket price includes the 35-minute yoga class and a 25-minute pass to explore the exhibit after the class is over.

The entire yoga program is sponsored by Lifestyle foods (a wellness food brand), which works with local studios in each city – in New York, the course is taught by the NoMad-based studio, Yoga Sputnik – provide yoga for the immersive Van Gogh exhibit and anyone who takes the yoga class will receive a Lifeway snack at home. Read on for an overview of this unique yoga experience.

Van Gogh Yoga Class Experience in New York

As I entered the classroom, I noticed that the walls and the floor were carpeted with Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”. Honestly, I expected to see a slideshow of each of Gogh’s plays during the course, however, once the course started I quickly realized that I was going to have a cinematic experience. We started in a seat with our eyes open. Our instructor and founder of Yoga Sputnik, Dasha, told us that we keep our eyes open to perceive the visual elements of space – usually at the start of a yoga class we start with a soft visual focus or with our eyes closed. With my eyes open, I saw how the walls went from “Sunflowers” to black, then to a black, white and gray pixel pattern as the cinematic music faded.

Going through the 35 minute class, I would say it was interesting to do intrapersonal asana practice with an abundance of external stimuli. Going from pose to pose with orchestral and classical music playing in the background, it was like trying to see each of Van Gogh’s pieces from every possible angle. Don’t worry, we haven’t watched Gogh’s plays of a pear tree; poses during our class allow us to view art with at least one foot on the ground (think: Tree Pose).

At the end of the class we still ended up in a Savasana (as you would normally in a vinyasa class), only our eyes were open. Since we were asked to keep our eyes open, I chose to turn my head slightly to the left so that I could take a final look at the art on the walls. Upon completion of the course, each participant received a free Lifeway Kefir snack who, after watching the Immersive Van Gogh exhibition website, is something that all yoga class participants can try – I have a functional photo. After having my snack, I wandered around the exhibit for a bit until it was time to go back to work.

Overall, this art and yoga experience was a great way to start the day. Even though we were practicing in the morning, I was convinced that we were in fact practicing on a “starry night”.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Angelica Wilson

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