While most people on campus are scurrying to and from the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center for lunch, a handful of students, faculty, staff, and community members gather in Faulconer Gallery. In the midst of a typically busy Thursday, these Grinnellians meet for Yoga in the Gallery. Instructor Jenn Mavin, who leads the weekly midday sessions, describes them as an opportunity to re-energize and prepare for the afternoon.
Holding the sessions in the gallery provides an opportunity to stretch body and mind. Mavin says the Faulconer is a “warm, inviting space. It’s somewhat quiet, while there are a lot of things here that are stimulating. It’s a different stimulation than we get in our normal day.” Taking the time to get in touch with movement in such a creative environment helps people of all ages let go of their morning tensions, she explains.
Just as the artwork infuses physical activity with an imaginative spark, many people have noticed a change in their relationship to the gallery as well. “Yoga in the Gallery provides a great opportunity to interact with faculty, students, staff, and community members while experiencing the exhibits in a new and interesting way,” says Amy Roberson, an assistant professor in the library. “It provides me with a convenient and fulfilling way to relax during the day.”
In addition to making the Faulconer more accessible to wider audiences, Yoga in the Gallery also encourages attendees to open their minds to new ways of viewing art, Mavin says. She believes that “yoga and art are both practices of observance,” and that increased awareness of the physical body goes hand in hand with deeper, more visceral artistic experiences. Yoga brings people into the gallery and takes them to a place where they’re ready to contemplate instead of just look, Mavin says.
When an exhibition is on view, yoga in the Gallery is offered every Thursday at 12:15 p.m. in Faulconer Gallery in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Classes typically last about 35 minutes. All ages and all members of the Grinnell community are welcome to attend. No experience is necessary, and mats are provided. For more information, contact instructor Jenn Mavin or Tilly Woodward, Faulconer’s curator of academic and community outreach. Yoga in the Gallery is co-sponsored by Grinnell Wellness Program.—Amanda Underwood ’10