people lying flat on their backs on yoga mats

Relax with Yoga Nidra in The Light Show

December 20, 2019, 4 pm

Note: This event is included with general admission, which is free for members. Wear clothing that is comfortable for lying on a yoga mat, and bring an additional layer in case you get chilly. Bring your yoga mat, or borrow one from the museum (limited number).

On December 20, the Denver Art Museum invites you to relax with us with Yoga Nidra in The Light Show. Sometimes called “yogic sleep,” it is one of the most restful, restorative forms of yoga out there. Museum staff recently had the chance to sample the program, which will be led by yoga teacher Marin McCallum and yogi artist Mark Reeves. Reflecting on the connections between yoga and art and seeing the galleries from the perspective of a yoga mat was a new experience for many, and a most welcome break from the workday.

I asked Mark and Marin a few questions to get to know them better, learn more about the practice of Yoga Nidra, and get a sneak peek of the program they’ve cooked up.

Molly Medakovich: Tell us a little bit about yourselves and your practices.

Marin McCallum: I’m a Colorado native who's lived all over the world and happily found her way back home to the mountains. I've been teaching yoga for about seven years and consistently learning more throughout that time as well. I currently teach classes, workshops, teacher trainings, and retreats, locally and internationally. Almost everything I do incorporates my favorite practice: Yoga Nidra. From the first time I experienced it I had the strongest urge to share that experience with others. It's such a blessing to be able to do so.

[Yoga Nidra] is essentially a guided meditation that incoprorates different techniques that lead to deeper and deeper relaxation.

– Marin McCallum
Marin McCallum doing yoga on a mountain
Photo courtesy of Marin McCallum.

Mark Reeves: I’m an artist and yoga teacher who grew up on the East Coast and transplanted to Colorado 11 years ago. I believe everyone has an inner artist that is waiting to be discovered, and so I’ve been teaching yoga and workshops on unlocking our creativity for four years now. I didn’t discover my own unique artist until I got serious about yoga and meditation practice, and hope that my work inspires others to work through their own blocks to their creative nature. My practice informs my art and my art informs my practice, and the two can no longer be considered mutually exclusive. My intention is to help others do the same.

Molly: How did you meet, and what inspired this idea to bring Yoga Nidra to the museum?

Marin: We both taught at the same studio for many years and are part of that community. I've always thought that Mark would be a great Yoga Nidra teacher and was proven correct when he took my Nidra training a few years ago. I was so honored that he thought of me to be a part of this experience.

Mark: During meditation one morning, I had the thought of doing Yoga Nidra in the museum’s Asian art galleries and incorporate the form of the art with the formless experience of yoga and meditation and teach people how the symbolism in myth connects with yoga and meditation practice. At the same time, I read an article about the Museum of Modern Art in New York offering overnight slumber parties in the gallery, and I thought, I wonder if they would let us do a “naptime Yoga Nidra” in the galleries. I reached out to Marin and the museum, and well, here we are….

I believe everyone has an inner artist that is waiting to be discovered, and so I’ve been teaching yoga and workshops on unlocking our creativity for four years now.

– Mark Reeves
Mark Reeves sitting with his legs crossed in lotus position
Photo courtesy of Mark Reeves.

Molly: Have you collaborated before?

Marin: This is our first professional and creative collaboration. Besides yoga and meditation, we also share a love of art, so this feels like a perfect project.

Molly: Yoga Nidra may be new to some folks. What will the program be like? What can visitors expect?

Marin: Well, first of all, you cannot do it wrong! It's a highly accessible practice. It is essentially a guided meditation that incorporates different techniques that lead to deeper and deeper relaxation. The whole time you are lying down and simply listening to my voice and my directions. As the session continues, the mind becomes less active and the body becomes more relaxed. It is a practice that initiates the body’s natural rest and restore functions and it's incredibly beneficial for every major system. The experience may be different for everyone, but almost everyone finds it incredibly relaxing and soothing.

Molly: What are you most excited about in regards to bringing your practice to the Denver Art Museum? What do you hope visitors experience or walk away with?

Marin: I love sharing this practice in the museum; the space is lovely and filled with beauty and art. I hope people leave feeling grounded and appreciative of the beauty around them, in the museum and everyday life.

Mark: I also want people to experience the museum in a way that they may have never seen it before. By taking the journey inwards and exploring the rich and vibrant inner landscape, my hope is that people can bring that same exploration into their journey through the exhibits and maybe see them in a whole different light.

Molly Medakovich is a teaching specialist for adult programs in the learning and engagement department at the Denver Art Museum. Molly has been at the DAM since 2012, and her favorite painting in the collection is Gustave Doré’s The Family of Street Acrobats: the Injured Child.