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Urban Yoga takes on the streets of New York, Paris and Madrid

Curators’ corner

Urban Yoga takes on the streets of New York, Paris and Madrid

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The next time you spot an agile woman performing downward dog on a crowded Subway platform, try not to think the worst. Chances are she’s recently seen Anja Humljan’s Urban Yoga series and wants nothing more than to become one with her chaotic environment.

Urban Yoga was born out of architect and yogi Anja Humljan’s frustration at city dwellers’ physical disconnect with their surroundings. After noticing the lack of harmony between cities and their residents, Humljan decided to ditch the mat and “change the way we feel, breathe and think about urban environment.”

Humljan collaborated with four photographers in four cities: Jaka Vinšek in New York, Emilio P. Doiztua in Madrid, Antoine Le Grand in Paris, and Primož Lukežic in her hometown, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Using complex body poses and contortions, Humljan established a sensory relationship with her environment, mimicking the vectors, shapes and connectors in every photograph’s metropolitan background.

The difference by city is striking. Humljan perfectly emulates the condensed and claustrophobic feeling of the Big Apple by pushing her body to the limit. Impressive photographs of Humljan dangling off subway columns and planking on hand rails highlight the New York series. In Ljubljana, her poses took on a more relaxed feel, reflecting the more open, classical atmosphere of an ancient European city.

“As far as the poses are concerned, my aim was to connect, intertwine and mimic the urban space,” Humljan wrote on her website. “As an architect and yogi, I believe cities should not be regarded as something which disturbs our harmony, but rather as a vital element that contributes to it.”

Urban Yoga debuted in the public eye with a special magazine edition during Paris Fashion Week late last year. The project received positive feedback, prompting Humljan to launch a Kickstarter campaign for a hardcover book. The campaign reached its $10,000 goal on January 6 and a PDF version of the book is slated for released in March.

Kickstarter campaign aside, Humjlan hopes Urban Yoga changes the way people view their relationships with cities.

“Next time when you are strolling down the street, take a moment and smell, touch, taste, hear ~ surrender, how does your city feel?”

To view more photos from this project, visit the Urban Yoga website.

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Madrid. Photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

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New York. Photo: Jaka Vinšek

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Paris. Photo: Antoine Le Grand

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Ljubljana. Photo:Primož Lukežic

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Madrid. Photo: Emilio P. Doiztua

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New York. Photo: Jaka Vinšek

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