WATCH: Debra Diamond Explains Yoga: The Art of Transformation

Sometimes, the discovery of something beautiful — something that evokes a sensation in your soul — leads you down a path that becomes your life’s calling. For Debra Diamond, that moment happened as a young girl, seeing a Mark Rothko painting at MoMA for the first time. The instant sensation of knowing we are all connected stayed with her, and led to her pursuit of a career in the study and appreciation of South Asian Art.

She traveled to India, in search of a topic for dissertation, and entered a palace where she convinced the powers that be to allowing her into their storeroom. She stumbled upon about 500 paintings — all four feet wide. Her research about these paintings led to dead ends, and the only book in which she found them referenced in a 1934 publication called “Obscure and Religious Cults of India.” Thus, Debra set out on a quest to understand these images that depicted concepts that had never before entered the realm of South Asian art.

Her findings are revealed in this Speakeasy, which acts like a workbook for “Yoga: The Art of Transformation,” the exhibit she curated at the Smithsonian Institute.

Watch the video to learn:

  • how the process of Hatha yoga helps you traverse from the gross body back to the subtle body until you reunite with higher powers
  • how artwork in this collection represent ancient notion of the yogic body and yogic potential, including pivotal moments in the Bhagavad Gita,
  • and why the Bhagavad Gita becomes a very important moment in yogic history to understanding the transformative potential of yoga.