ALBANY ─ The Albany Museum of Art and Albany Yoga Project are bringing meditation and yoga sessions to the public through a pair of Facebook Live events on the museum’s Facebook page.

A meditation session led by Patrick O’Connell, a Tier 1 Baptiste Yoga Certified Leader, is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Sunday. At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Sylvia Maxwell, executive director and founder of Albany Yoga Project, will host a family-friendly yoga session.

Both remote events will be streamed live on the AMA Facebook page. There are no registration requirements. To participate, simply go online to www.facebook.com/AlbanyMuseumOfArt.

This is a continuation of a partnership between the Albany Yoga Project and the museum. On March 5, a monthly yoga workshop at the AMA, Yoga in the Gallery, was launched. The museum has been temporarily closed to the public since March 18 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, AMA officials have been bringing programs to the public through online means.

The Facebook Live events on Sunday and Wednesday allow the AMA and AYP “to adapt to changes in our world” and reach out to the public through a “community partnership that bridges both art and yoga as forms of expression,” Maxwell noted.

“This meditation is a great way to cultivate a well-being practice for yourself,” Maxwell said. “Well-being practices are vital to getting present, which helps keep feelings of anxiousness in check. This practice is accessible for anyone who wants to join, whether you have meditated before or not.”

Annie Vanoteghem, director of education and public programming for the AMA, said the online session can help people cope with uncertain times and sheltering at home by keeping them connected to others.

“It is extremely important that we all try to retain some kind of normality in our lives,” Vanoteghem said. “Just because our doors are temporarily closed, we are not going to be stopped from bringing the community the best virtual programming that we can offer. We are motivated now more than ever to provide an escape to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained, or even just bored.”

Maxwell has said the Baptiste Yoga methodology allows AYP to provide tools that empower individuals to see possibility in their bodies and in their lives.

In addition to his being a Tier 1 Baptiste Yoga Certified Leader, Maxwell said that O’Connell is a 650-hour Registered Yoga Teacher who is “highly skilled in the practices of Ayurveda, pranayama (breathing techniques), yoga and meditation. His profound experiences with daily meditation and practices over the past 10 years have led him to numerous retreats and workshops to help him deepen his practice.”

Vanoteghem said she is happy to be able to continue the AMA’s partnership with AYP in an innovative format that is easy for people to access.

“Yoga in the Gallery has been a wonderful program, and we believe that art and wellness — both physical and spiritual — go hand in hand,” she said. “We want the community to know we are always here for them, and we are striving to offer as much peacefulness as possible during this time.”

She said plans are for the AYP Yoga in the Gallery workshops to return to the AMA when the museum reopens to the public and health authorities deem such activities are safe.

Contact Vanoteghem at annie.vanoteghem@albanymuseum.com with any questions.

The Albany Museum of Art is located at 311 Meadowlark Drive, adjacent to Albany State University'S West Campus just off Gillionville Road. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Museum is currently closed to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about the AMA, visit the www.albanymuseum.com website or call (229) 439-8400. Follow @AlbanyArtMuseum on Twitter, AlbanyMuseum on Instagram and AlbanyMuseumOfArt on Facebook.

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