Type A Negative

Yoga, an ancient practice that's one of the hottest exercise trends of the past decade, has become popular in part because you need no special equipment (except, perhaps, the ubiquitous blue mat), and you can do it anytime, anywhere. But in an art museum?

Bending over into downward-facing dog might get you funny looks in some museums, but at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art on Thursday nights through mid-August, you'll find a lot of like-minded company.

At One Yoga @ SMoCA, the museum's new event series, proves that the unlikely combination of yoga and visual art makes perfect sense.

"It was a convergence of a lot of wonderful circumstances," says museum director Susan Krane.

A guided Zen meditation held in conjunction with last year's Wolfgang Laib exhibition got an excellent public response. "People were very interested in this whole idea of how, if you get yourself out of your Type A mode of rushing around all the time . . . you can see things freshly and anew and really take great pleasure in the beauty of details and subtlety," she says.

That event's success, along with Krane's participation in Awake, a national consortium that looks at how contemporary arts converge with Buddhism, naturally led to the museum's search for a way to reach a new audience.

Yoga was the answer, attracting young professionals interested in personal growth and creativity. "It's the difference in the way you see a work of art before and after doing yoga — your senses are just so much sharper," says Krane.

Each event starts with a gallery talk, followed by an open and relaxed yoga session, with guidance for first-timers. The night winds down with music from DJ Ian Lopitan and a variety of holistic consultations, such as massage, tarot readings and Feng Shui. And did we mention a sushi buffet from Kona Grill? Talk about motivation.

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Michele Laudig
Contact: Michele Laudig

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