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Breathe Deeply: Asian Art Museum Centers on Yoga

 Asian Art Museum S.F.

 The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco is most definitely a destination to put on your list when visiting the Golden Gate City jam-packed with stuff to do.

The largest Asian Art Museum in  our country is both a fascinating building and the repository of a vast array of Asian art and cultural artifacts.

My taxi driver told me I couldn’t begin to see and absorb it all in one visit…..and he was right.

But let’s start with the building.  Once the public library in S.F. it was given to the Asian Art Museum, converted to its present form by Gae Aulenti, known for her work as the architect who transformed the old train station into the wildly popular Musee d’ Orsay in Paris.

The fabulous beaux-arts structure in S.F. reopened in 2003 as the Asian Art Museum.

I loved seeing elements of the historic building combined with new an contemporary forms and lots of light.  Apparently giving the building light was a goal.  The architect is quoted in the museum’s brochure as saying, “We’re preserving the building but giving it a new heart.  Now there will be an explosion of light.”






 What drew me to the Museum was the notice of an exhibit on Yoga, spanning time from the 2nd to the 20th century..  While I couldn’t take photos in the exhibit, here are a few from the entry and also an interactive component.

I learned a lot about the origins of yoga and its practice around the world.  Yoga is regarded around the world as a path to health and spiritual insight.  More than 20 million Americans practice yoga.




I also liked this museum for its many educational components.  A Mandela exhibit fascinated me.   What is a Stupa?  A replica of a tea room. The question “ What is Asia?” stopped me for a bit.







The museum contained textiles, sculpture, painting, furniture and ceramics as you might expect.  The  reference to the temples in Khajuraho, India were  interesting. Click here if you want to know what I’m talking about.  You’ll “get it” when you read this blog post.








I particularly enjoyed some contemporary Asian Art and also the Meditation room. And as always, kimonos are a fav.  I’ve enjoyed a couple of exhibits at the Chicago Institute of Art and always love seeing these beautiful garments on display.







 For more things to do and see in San Francisco, click here.   Or click here for Union Street post.  Have you seen Muir Woods?  If not, click here for Guest Bloggers impressions. Do Add your favorite things to do in S.F. to the comment section.

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

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