The Buzz of the Beehive: The Art of Yoga

Image courtesy of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (India, Rajasthan, probably vicinity of Mount Abu, dated 1160; Marble, 59.69 x 48.26 x 21.59 cm Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams fund)

Emma Flood, Arts and Entertainment Writer

For East and West High yoga and French teacher, Alisan Mills, “Art is a form of self expression for the artist, a way to express emotion, and usually the observer is able to find some sense of appreciation for it – in yoga, we use the yoga poses as the medium, to find a way not to just express ourselves, but to allow our body to express itself. The body becomes the artist – and the mind the observer of what’s coming up.”

“The mind can observe the sensation/emotion created by the pose and place meaning on it. Yoga is called a healing art, as is meditation – although they are also both looked at as sciences as well… sometimes yoga is used as therapy, just like ‘art therapy,’ because it’s a form of expression, and recognizing the emotions that are locked in the body, and giving them a form of release.”

Art therapy is an expressive form of therapy where making art is used to improve the mental, physical, and emotional heart of an individual. Art therapy techniques include, but aren’t limited to, phototherapy, digital art, and sculptures. Art therapists use their client’s art to give them insight so their client throughout a variety of techniques that include active imagination, gestalt method, and “third-hand” approach.

From October 19th, 2013 through January 26th, 2014, the Smithsonian Museum opened the world’s first yoga art exhibit in the Sackler Gallery before it traveled to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” included 10 folios from the Bahr al-Hayat (which was the first known to illustrate yoga poses systematically), temple sculptures, devotional icons, illustrated manuscripts, court paintings, photographs, books and films from museums and private collections in India, Europe, and the United states from over 2,000 years ago. Below are some images of art from the exhibit.


Art from “Yoga: The Art of Transformation”


Ms. Mills continues, “Social media and other forms of modern media for some people turns yoga into an art, because they are using it as a way to create a picture, a sculpture using the body as the clay, but in this sense, the sculpture doesn’t get “fired” into something hardened, but becomes more pliable – the body as an art supply gets to change – some people use their practice in creating visual art with photography, and even videography, and I’ve even seen yoga flash mobs.”

Alisan Mills using her social media to turn yoga into art.


In the above images, Ms. Mills is doing yoga poses in nature at various locations that include a railing at the top of a staircase, Zion National Park, and a creek in Utah. The yoga poses she did include wide-stance forward bend, one legged wheel, and bakasana (also known as crane or crow pose).  By doing this, she is creating visual art using photography.

“We also see yoga in the circus arts – I’ve seen it in dance at the ballet – and other performing arts – it seems different methods are combining, for example – contortionism and acrobatics are drawing upon yoga in practices like acro yoga and there’s also aerial yoga with the prop of the aerial silks – the true question is whether the practitioner is really ‘practicing yoga’ or just going through the motions – Anything can be yoga, if done with mindfulness, and breath… usually contortion and acrobatics take a lot of focus in the present moment, and complete awareness in the body, which makes it a perfect practice to be ‘yoga like.’” Below is Ms. Mills teaching a class at East High School.


One of Ms. Mills’s yoga classes at East High School


If you would like to try yoga, below are some free yoga trials:



Salt Lake City Location: 602 E 500 S, P101



Location: 1470 S 400 W



Location: 4689 S Holladay Blvd.


  • Mountain Yoga offers a free week for first time Utah locals and students who have not attended a class within the last 6 months!


Location: 9343 S 1300





-“Yoga: The Art of Transformation” Images:

  1. Image courtesy of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (India, Rajasthan, probably vicinity of Mount Abu, dated 1160; Marble, 59.69 x 48.26 x 21.59 cm Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams fund)
  2. Image courtesy of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Swami Hamsvarupa; Trikutvilas Press, Muzaffarpur, Bihar, India, 1903 Book 26.2 x 34.5 x 0.4 cm Wellcome Library, London, Asia Collections)
  3. Image courtesy of Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (India, Rajasthan, Jaipur, ca. 1800-20; Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 38.5 x 28cm Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Given by Mrs. Gerald Clark)

-Ms. Mills Instagram: @butterflyogini