A few months ago, I joined a group of my girlfriends at the Blanton Museum of Art for one of the museumâ€™s monthly â€œThird Thursdayâ€ programs. We enjoyed the opening of a new exhibit, a stroll through the museumâ€™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.
Iâ€™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 havenâ€™t heard of it, BODIES showcases real human bodies, preserved by a process called â€œplastination,â€ so that you can study human anatomy in detailâ€”muscles, organs, blood vesselsâ€”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. Iâ€™m not a squeamish sort. But doing yoga amidst it all? That could be too real even for me. Â