History of Yoga Exhibit in D.C.

yogaheadThe history of yoga is complex and somewhat murky in patches. Even bloody. The exhibit: "Yoga: The Art of Transformation",  currently on view at the Sackler Gallery  (part of the Smithsonian Institute), illuminates yoga's history through a collection of more than 125 artifacts, many of which have never been on public display.

One highlight of the exhibit: three monumental stone yogini goddesses from a 10th century Chola temple. This trio was broken up a long time ago and are now reunited for the first time in centuries. Why am I thinking about the Supremes and the Andrews Sisters?

Also on display:  the first illustrated asana manual dating back to 1602!

Did I mention bloody? Well, according to exhibit advisor and Sanskrit expert Sir James Mallinson: "By the 18th Century the yogi sects are so powerful and so big that we have reports of huge pitched battles at these festivals where thousands and thousands of these yogis get killed."

And we think hot yoga is fierce. Watch and read a BBC piece on the exhibit here.

This exhibit runs through the 26th of January in Washington D.C.

Tip of the Hat: Alane Koki