Pop-up yoga classes bring another dimension to Vibhu Krishna’s Open Studio


Avery Muir, Life Editor

Vibhu Krishna, winner of Vanderbilt’s 2016 Margaret Wooldridge Stonewall Hamblet Award, will be giving pop-up yoga classes as a part of her art installation, Open Studio, from Jan. 12-15 in Space 204 in the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Art Center. Krishna is a yogi and current Columbia University medical student. Her creative and professional goals have slowly merged healing spaces and design thought to solve modern health issues.

This comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to her medical studies was born from an epiphany during her semester abroad at the Sydney College of the Arts. Krishna had finished her finals and discovered that the University of Sydney has one of the largest libraries in the Southern Hemisphere. Deciding to take advantage of the library while she had the chance, Krishna perused the stacks and found a book called Change by Design. She took it to the beach to read and found herself considering the possibility of using a creative perspective to tackle life problems.

“I ended up deciding that I still wanted to pursue an MD but approach it from an artistic lens, so I’ve been exploring integrative modalities, and how art and creative thinking and design thinking and those kinds of skills that are shaped from doing art can actually inform healthcare decisions and make really impactful solutions in patient lives,” Krishna said.

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Krishna’s interest in holistic approaches to medicine also influenced her art. The Hamblet award comes with a $25,000 grant to travel and study art before putting on a solo show on campus. Krishna spent her year touring Southeast Asia, visiting monasteries, Ashras and becoming a yogi.

Krishna appreciated the importance of self-study in yoga and likens the energy to the creativity and illuminating power of art; it’s part of her rationale in holding yoga classes in the art gallery.

“Yoga itself means to yoke, or to form a union. It’s meant for you to commune with the universe,” Krishna said, “to yoke with this primordial energy, which I also see in the practice of art.”

The combination of creative thought, internal study and healing energy all play a part in her Open Studio installation. While all of the pieces are based off a circle, some of the pieces themselves were created in a fashion that pulled from all of these disciplines. Krishna would trace a Petri dish, go into a yoga pose, stay in the pose as long as it takes to feel the essence of the pose (a subjective criteria determined by her) and then go back to draw within the traced circle with the finest point pen she could find.

Why a Petri dish?

“The Petri dish is kind of like a microcosm, it’s a small little environment where there’s thriving growth. If you trace back throughout art history, there’s the idea of the circle representing self,” Krishna said. “The Petri dish just seemed like it had all of these great things tucked into one object that it made sense for me to use it as a tool so there’s a microcosm, there’s a cell, there’s tons of study, so it becomes a really great symbol.”

To find and sign up for the pop-up yoga classes, see the gallery or meet the artist, click here. While pop-up classes are only from Jan. 12-15, the gallery will be open in Studio 204 from Jan. 11 to Feb. 1.