Ryon Lane wanted to run to yoga class, but a rolled-up mat flopping around for three miles wasn’t what he pictured, so he used crowdfunding to help
Ryon Lane wanted to run to yoga class, but a rolled-up mat flopping around for three miles wasn't what he pictured, so he used crowdfunding to help develop the YogoMat, which folds up to fit in a backpack. (Washington Post/Bonnie Jo Mount)

"Yoga: The Art of Transformation," which opens at the Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery on Oct. 19, is billed as "the world's first exhibition of yogic art." The large-scale show promises to bring in thousand-year-old sculptures, regal illustrations, rare books and other artifacts from 25 museums and collections around the world. It also needs to bring in $125,000.

That's where you come in: Last month, Smithsonian launched its first major crowdfunding campaign.

If the plan flops, the show will still go on, albeit with scaled-back programming. But the hope is that the effort (on Razoo.com) will raise even more than expected with the help of the 20 million people in the United States who practice yoga.

As a test for the crowdfunding concept, it's hard to think of a better topic than yoga, the Sanskrit word for "union." And local yoga instructors are eager to support an exhibit that strives to provide a deeper understanding of the history, philosophy and spirituality behind the practice.

"A picture is worth a thousand words," says Avneet Baid, the director and co-founder of YogaLife USA.

Hopefully, it's worth $1,000 as well.



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