Media only: Allison Peck, 202.633.0447; Amanda Williams, 202.633.0271;
Public only: 202.633.1000
Online:, @FreerSackler

Dec. 16, 2013

The Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art will present a variety of new public programs related to its popular “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” exhibition—the world’s first on the art of yoga—before it closes Jan. 26, 2014.

Events include a symposium on modern medical yoga hosted at the Freer Gallery Jan. 11, a groundbreaking collaboration between art museums and integrative medicine that features sessions on emerging topics in modern yoga practice. With a keynote by Dr. Dean Ornish of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute, speakers represent the worlds of yoga therapy, research and teaching.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Debra Diamond, exhibition curator and curator of South and Southeast Asian art, will lead a lunchtime drop-in tour exploring the sacred and natural places where yogis practiced before yoga studios, part of the museums’ “Point of View” lecture series.

In celebration of the exhibition’s final weekend, Jan. 25–26, the galleries will come alive with expert yoga demonstrations, curator- and docent-led tours, a book signing of the “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” catalog, and art-making workshops for kids and families.  Visitors will also be able to enter to win gift baskets hand-curated by luminaries in the yoga community provided by exhibition sponsor Whole Foods Market.

“The energy in the exhibition has been astounding,” said Diamond. “I’ve loved meeting our visitors as they make personal connections and are moved by the works of art, and their observations help me see the artworks in a new way.”

Visitors and yoga fans are also encouraged to take a photo of themselves demonstrating their favorite yoga poses in front of the Sackler—or any place they feel “transformed”—and post it on social media with the hashtag #artofyoga. The museums will compile the photos in a Facebook album to capture the widespread appreciation of “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” before it closes.

Following its Washington, D.C., showing, the exhibition will travel to the San Francisco Asian Art Museum (Feb. 21–May 25, 2014) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (June 22–Sep. 7, 2014).

A full event list follows:

Title: Medical and Modern Yoga Symposium
Type: Symposium
Date: Saturday, January 11
Location: Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art
In conjunction with “Yoga: The Art of Transformation,” the Freer and Sackler host a symposium on modern yoga practice, therapy, and research—a groundbreaking collaboration between art museums and the emerging field of integrative medicine. The symposium continues Jan. 12 at George Washington University. This event is organized by Therapeutic Yoga of Greater Washington; cost is $180/person or $100/students; advance registration is required. More information: event website.

Title: “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” Closing Weekend Events
Type: Special event
Date: Saturday, Jan. 25 and Sunday, Jan. 26
Location: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Before “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” closes, see the landmark exhibition and participate in yoga-related events. On Saturday, master yogis demonstrate sequences in the galleries (1–3 pm). Curator Debra Diamond offers a focused look at “Asanas in Image and History” (1:30–2:30 pm) and signs copies of the exhibition catalogue (3–4 pm). Tours (12:15–1:15 pm) and ImaginAsia family activities (2–4 pm) are offered both Saturday and Sunday. More information: event website.

Title: The Places of Practice: Yoga Before Yoga Studios
Type: Curator-led Tour
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, 12 p.m.
Location: Sublevel 1, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Description: Where did yogis practice before there were yoga studios? Debra Diamond, curator of “Yoga: The Art of Transformation,” presents sculptures and paintings that help answer this question. The works define the importance of sacred landscapes and designated architectural settings for Indian yogic practice from the tenth to the twentieth century. More information: event website.

Title: Art in Context: Practicing Yoga in the Galleries
Type: Workshop
Date: Wednesdays through Jan. 22, 2014, 12:30–2 p.m.; Sundays through Jan. 22, 2014, 10:30 a.m.–noon and 3:30–5 p.m.
Location: Sublevel 1, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Description: Take a break to open your mind and energize your spirit. Look at art and practice yoga in conjunction with the exhibitions Yoga: The Art of Transformation and Strange and Wondrous: Prints of India from the Robert J. Del Bontà Collection. Join a teaching team of museum docents and guest yoga teachers for a 90-minute workshop designed for adults, with special sessions for ages 50-plus, teens and children. Advance registration and a $15 non-refundable materials fee are required; no experience necessary. More information: event listing.

Title: ImaginAsia: Yoga
Type: Family Programming
Dates: Saturday, Jan. 25, 2 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 26, 2 p.m.
Location: Sublevel 2, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Description:  In Yoga: The Art of Transformation, learn how a person became a yogi, what was gained and lost in the process, and yogis’ influence on Indian rulers and villagers. Then return to the ImaginAsia classroom to paint yantras used to focus the mind. For kids ages 8–14 and their adult companions.  More information: event listing.

Title: Exhibition tours of “Yoga: The Art of Transformation”
Type: Drop-in tour
Date: Daily except Wednesdays, 12:15 p.m.
Location: Sublevel 1, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Description: Expert docents leads tours of “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” most days except Wednesdays; check for a full schedule.

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25), and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information about the Freer and Sackler galleries and their exhibitions, programs and other public events, visit For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000.