Free opera yoga for TU students

Tulsa Opera’s creative yoga program builds community through meditation and music.
Beginning last fall , Aria Yoga along with Tulsa Opera has partnered with The University of Tulsa’s Oklahoma Center for the Humanities to offer free yoga sessions, providing the community with the unique opportunity to enjoy opera music while engaging in mindful movement.
Aria Yoga is a program started by the engagement department of the Tulsa Opera during the pandemic not only as a way to stay in touch with patrons and opera lovers, but also to reach a new audience.
The initial idea for the creative program was developed during the pandemic regarding how to stay relevant and connected according to Dani Keil, the chief operating officer at Tulsa Opera.
Keil, who has been practicing yoga for over 20 years, said she came up with the idea to combine the two things she loves: classical music and yoga. She thought others might be interested as well.
“We first did Aria Yoga outdoors at the riverfront because it was a place where people felt safe gathering,” Keil said. “We set an all levels Aria Yoga class to opera music.”
Aria Yoga has become a popular riverfront activity. Typically, attendance runs between a dozen to 50 plus participants, especially during sunny days with a slight breeze.
“It’s really amazing to get to see the diversity of people who are practicing yoga at different levels and different experiences with that, as well as listening to opera music,” Keil said. “It’s a crowd I don’t think you would quite find anywhere else.”
The program partnered with TU’s Oklahoma Center for Humanities to continue the program during the winter months. The concept of Aria Yoga connects with the building’s theme of movement.
The program has engaged with several different yoga teachers in the community over the years.
Sue Webb has been teaching Aria Yoga for two seasons. The main goal for the classes is to make them as accessible and comfortable for participants as possible according to Webb. On warmer days, the classes are more relaxed, while on cooler days the classes are more energizing.
Practicing yoga alongside opera music can be exciting and dramatic at times, Webb explains
“It’s really great when we’re flowing and the music’s playing and I’m just doing my thing and then it matches up with the music and it seems like it was planned, and of course it’s not, and so it’s just really great. We’re in this pose and the opera’s hitting this amazing note.”
Webb encourages TU students to start practicing as yoga and meditation helped her have a better relationship with her thinking mind.
Aria Yoga has made a positive impact on the community by providing a space to practice health and wellness while enjoying opera music, Keil said.
The last day to attend a free Aria Yoga class in the Oklahoma Center for Humanities building at 101 E. Archer St. will be March 12. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with class beginning at 6 p.m., all that is required is a yoga mat. Beginning April 9, the program will start back up again on the riverfront.

Post Author: Sarah-Kate Synar