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From Our Community

Yoga in a Space of Music and Light

People practice yoga in the Orchestra Hall lobby

There was love at the beginning, there will be love at the end—what will you do in between?”

As part of our Wellness series, we offer this special opportunity to practice yoga at Orchestra Hall. Led by a local yoga instructor and accompanied by one or several musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra, this is a unique opportunity to cultivate your practice in a light-filled, musical space under the tutelage of a caring instructor. Guest blogger Sarah Youngner, who recently attended our Winter Yoga session, recounts her experience. 

by guest blogger Sarah Youngner

“There was love at the beginning, there will be love at the end—what will you do in between?”

The February Winter Yoga event opened and closed the same way—with love. With over 100 people in attendance and yoga mats spread out in the Orchestra Hall lobby, it would be easy to assume the event would be a little loud, unfocused or lacking in some way. But those are adjectives that never crossed my mind while participating in this Sunday morning yoga flow. 

Phong Cao (he/him) was the instructor for the event, heralding from Greenway Yoga Studio in Minneapolis, and he did a masterful job of commanding the room with a gentle and soft approach. We started the day by lying on our sides, focusing on our breath. Phong walked between the mats, speaking to everyone in attendance about what we would be doing that day. He encouraged us to take breaks as needed, get water, adjust the poses to be the most comfortable for us.

“All are welcome,” he rang out, and he meant it. Throughout the morning, he continued encouraging us all to rest, take a break, and join back into the class when we felt ready. As someone who has not practiced yoga regularly for a few years now, I felt welcomed, accepted, and comfortable. Phong had also brought a handful of instructors from his studio and spaced them out evenly in front of everyone, so we always had a clear visual example in front of us. 

The yoga was incredible, inclusive, and grounded me in a way I was not expecting. But the morning was not just about the yoga, it was also about the music that was paired with it. Newly appointed Principal Harp Katherine Siochi enhanced the class with musical offerings from composers like Ólafur Arnalds, Ludovico Einaudi, Philip Glass, Nils Frahm and Max Richter. She sat at the front of the class with her harp, ready to partner with Phong to create the right atmosphere for the sunny, Sunday-morning yoga class. 

The yoga was enhanced by the music, and the music was enhanced by the yoga.”

Phong opened the class with simply his voice; the rest of the class was as if Phong and Katherine were playing a gentle duet together. The music became more intense as the movements of our yoga increased and slowed down with us as we moved into positions of rest. 

The event really was for all: all ages, all abilities, all states of mind. The simplest explanation of the morning is that we were all invited into a communal space to experience yoga and music together. But I would be willing to bet that others felt that the event impacted them in the same way I did: the yoga was enhanced by the music, and the music was enhanced by the yoga. They worked together in a beautiful way to offer us all a place of grounding, acceptance, and love.

Join us for our next yoga session, Spring Yoga, on May 14.

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