Dancing Bears and Downward Dogs

4 Feb

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Many of the visitors who have taken advantage of our docent-run museum tours, may have witnessed an impressive physical feat captured in stone.  The Dancing Bears we have on display in our collection are excellent examples of Pauta Saila’s artistic talent because these large, heavy bears balance themselves ON ONE FOOT!

I don’t know if you have ever tried to stand on one leg for any length of time, but personally I can easily tip over from the faintest breeze. And anytime I take a school tour past these sculptures I try to strengthen whatever muscles I have and beat my balance time (my record is 40 seconds and the kids always beat it FYI).

This little activity has spawned a few other games and fun facts, like our SCVNGR challenge where you take a picture of your best dancing bear pose for some online points, or “Did you know” polar bear trivia about how they walk with their toes pointed outwards and slightly to the side.

As of this past Sunday, we took it one step further and actually introduced a brand new public program in partnership with Moksha Yoga Danforth. Under the instruction of Megan Hoskins, MIA staff and volunteers piloted a yoga class inside the museum and right next to the famous dancing bears. Being surrounded by art, seeing the sun rise over the water outside our windows, and gently moving into the different stances was so incredibly relaxing I started to wonder why I hadn’t gone to yoga classes earlier.

While I won’t go so far as to call myself a yogi quite yet, that quite meditation time and learning more about muscles I’ve left unnoticed is something I am definitely interested in continuing. And with the successful pilot, the museum is going to repeat this invigorating experience!

For the remainder of February, Instructor Elenanor Berenson will lead an addition session from 8:30-9:30am in the MIA Pedestal Gallery. Admission is $10, or $8 for students and members.

Anyone who is interesting in participating can register here and is reminded to bring their own mat (and blocks if you prefer to use them for certain poses).

I’m confident that Megan’s helpful hints have already helped my balance issue, but just to be safe, I won’t be offended if we’re not mat buddies haha!

– Posted by Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Moksha yoga instructor in front of the contemporary inuit art case.

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