I showed up at Pier 36 in New York with bloody hands and a negative attitude.
The night before, I had too much advice on craft beer and chocolate crusts for a wedding tasting, and, already five minutes late for my destination – an 8 AM yoga class in the Van Gogh Immersive Exhibition – I left my malfunctioning Citibike after I stumbled on a rope, cutting my knees and hands and destroying what was left of my dignity.
In theory, if anyone needed a yoga class to reset, it was me. In fact, all I wanted was a Gatorade and a pool – my favorite method to get my life back on track.
But entering the show was like leaving the universe – a blessing for a sweaty, cheeky New Yorker. The yoga class that passed by her was just an excuse to stay around. I ran to a carpet to join them.
Immersive Van Gogh is a traveling interactive art exhibition.
The exhibition features more than 500,000 cubic feet of Van Gogh art exhibited through animated projections and choreographed with music.
The print materials say it aims to reflect “highly emotional and chaotic inner consciousness through art, light, music, movement and imagination.”
Entering feels like taking an edible: it opens the openings of your senses.
I’m a fairly inexperienced cannabis user, but the feeling of expansion reminded me of the handful of times I’ve been high.
Describing how IMAX meets the art gallery meeting live theater doesn’t do it justice.
The yoga class took place under moving images such as the Starry Night and the Terrace of the Night Cafe.
The 35-minute stream, led by Dasha Alekseyeva, founder of Sputnik Yoga, was pretty basic.
There were a lot of descending dogs, chaturangas (low tables), lunges, and warrior poses, or where your feet are rooted and your hands stretched out over some sort of power pose.
It was hard to look at which knee to touch that elbow or keep a straight eye on.
With the sunflowers falling on the walls and floor one minute and the self-portrait of Van Gogh floating around you the next, I sometimes forgot that I should do yoga.
I was glad that the poses were familiar to me too, someone who does about one yoga class a year, so I could do it all.
I lost my balance several times in the pose of the tree and refused to close my eyes during the savasana.
The attractions and sounds have made a particularly challenging assessment. And, if I had properly performed the final pose – where you were sitting still with my eyes closed to calm my senses – I would have been sorry to miss it.
A guy at the bottom couldn’t be bothered with yoga: He just lay on his mat all the time, taking in visions and music. I didn’t accuse him.
Yoga in Immersive Van Gogh began in Toronto after a local instructor approached the exhibitors with the idea.
Leslie-Ann Dominy of Lighthouse Immersive, the company behind the show, told me that the sessions were selling out quickly.
So the team decided to host yoga in all the cities of the show, in partnership with local yoga instructors along the way.
The experience was a welcome blow to the senses after a year and a half largely sailing into my flat-walled, stunted Brooklyn apartment.
Dominy agreed that the timing of the show made it even more special.
“We all really felt the lack of connection with people,” he said. “So just having this mind, the spirit of the body, the art, the piece of music all together, I think it’s an amazing thing to do after what we’ve just experienced.”
If you enjoy yoga, I highly recommend this new event.
The event I attended was a preview of the press.
“Gogh with Lifeway Kefir Immersive Yoga“will be held Saturday and Thursday beginning July 24. They cost $ 54.99 for a 35-minute class and 25 minutes of post-class shows.
If you don’t like yoga, I highly recommend the show.
Without yoga, prices range from $ 40 to $ 70 depending on the time of day and time of stay, so supporting yoga for an hour at the show can be worth it.
I let myself feel calmer, more energized and happy living in a spectacular city.
My knees and palms were still aching, but my dignity had returned. And the Citibike I left improperly anchored was still there. (Once I found a proper dock, it cost me $ 9.)
For a new lease my day, it was worth it. Maybe next time I do yoga in an old regular studio, I’ll take a real snack first.