Whenever I meditate consistently, my life always seems to be in balance. But just like my eating habits, whenever I travel I seem to get off my routine. However on a recent visit to my hometown of Baltimore, my friend Anne Mannix, invited me to take a yoga class where she works, at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Yoga at a museum? Who knew?
Yoga is offered at the Baltimore Museum of Art each season. Classes are usually held in various galleries that include Contemporary, American Modernism, and African. The teacher is Brianna Bedigian, a certified yoga instructor with a BA in art history. She said yoga is an art, so it was a perfect blend to offer classes at the museum. The summer sessions are held in the beautiful Sculpture Garden. The entire experience was a feast for my senses as I marveled at the sculptures, inhaled the scent of flowers, listened to the birds sing, and felt the cool grass beneath my feet. Though the museum is in the midst of a bustling community, the trees help buffer the sound of traffic. (Photo credit: Kalin Thomas)
The class began with a moment of meditation, and I could feel the stress from my day start to melt away. As we started into our yoga poses, I could see how the art sculptures enhance the experience. Looking at something beautiful put me in a serene state of mind, and made me feel beautiful, too. I started to get back in touch with my body and give thanks for all that it has given me – even when I don’t treat it well. Half-way through the class Brianna read a little about the huge, red sculpture we were moving around, and read a quote from its artist, Alexander Calder – most famous for inventing the mobile. The class ended with another moment of meditation, but I hated to leave this oasis in the city.
I enjoyed the class so much that I’ve decided to drop-in whenever I visit Baltimore. And you can do that , too. Though full season sessions are $95 for museum members and $110 for non-members, visitors are welcomed to drop in on a class – just call in advance for cost and to be sure the class isn’t full. Classes are on Tuesday evenings, and the first summer session goes through July 6th. The second session goes from July 27th through August 31st. After dropping in on a class, treat yourself to a nice dinner at the museum’s restaurant, Gertrude’s. All entrees are reduced to $12 on Tuesday nights.
Other unique places offering yoga/meditation classes are zoos and aquariums. Can you imagine the calming effect of fish floating by as you meditate? Ask the concierge at your hotel for the nearest yoga/meditation class. You’ll be surprised at how just one class can relieve travel-related stress and boost your mind, body, and spirit. For more information go to the museum’s site at www.artbma.org, or Brianna’s site at www.quietwindsofchange.com. And remember: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness” – Mark Twain.
Kalin Thomas is Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. She is also Senior Writer/Photographer for SoulOfAmerica. Before starting her own multimedia company, Kalin spent 17 years at CNN where she won several awards for her work as producer/correspondent for CNN’s weekly travel program, CNN TravelNow. She is currently writing a book about her travels. For more information on Kalin, visit www.seetheworldproductions.com.