“Yoga and Classical” in Dresden’s Kulturpalads

Last weekend in Dresden’s Kulturpalast: A woman dressed in white entered the stage. She carries a Ukrainian flag around her shoulders. The audience hesitates, only after a few moments does anyone dare to clap. Anastasia Shevchenko carefully removes the flag, puts it under the grand piano and goes to her yoga mat.

Meditation in motion

The concerto by Anastasia Shevchenko and pianist Ohad Ben-Ari begins with Johann Sebastian Bach. The yoga teacher moves concentrated in time with the music, she bends and stretches, makes complicated turns and lets one exercise flow into the next. The movements radiate calm and yet appear powerful, appropriate to Bach’s music. Anastasia Shevchenko calls this type of choreography “Moving Meditation”.

I actually have a hard time just sitting and finding myself in silence when I meditate. Then I get a lot of different emotions. But if I practice with classical music, I can concentrate and find myself. Then I do not feel so overwhelmed by all that is happening in the world right now.

Anastasia Shevchenko, yoga teacher

To set an example through consciousness

Anastasia Shevchenko has lived in Berlin for many years, but she was born in Ukraine, where her parents and brothers still live today. At the concert in Dresden’s Kulturpalast, Anastasia Shevchenko and her husband, Ohad Ben-Ari, wanted to set an example without giving big speeches: “I just want to be there with the flag. And I think that’s enough. It’s a concert “And we did not want it to be a political issue. But still: Being aware means being aware of everything,” says Shevchenko. Ohad Ben-Ari adds his wife:

Practicing yoga or meditating does not mean “escapism”. It means the opposite: to be here, to perceive what is now. And that is unfortunately it now.

Ohad Ben Ari, musician

Own compositions for mindfulness

Ohad Ben-Ari is a pianist and composer. He has been practicing yoga and meditation for many years. He combined both worlds in his piano work “Five Meditations”. There are five piano pieces, each with a mindfulness exercise. “There are five improvisations, with a certain character. I first think about what could fit well with the meditation. Then I record the pieces, listen to them and try to meditate. Then I notice if it works well or not. Then “recompose or adapt or recompose or omit. That’s the process,” Ben-Ari explains.

An enriching concert experience

6 min




05:30 min

Link to the sound




In the concert, the audience can participate in the rehearsals – guided by Anastasia Shevchenko. She is sitting cross-legged on a small pedestal. The audience sits on the normal armchairs in the stalls. It is not so comfortable, especially the armrests are a bit annoying when it comes to “Mudras”, the hand movements that you have to perform. Still, the mood is highly concentrated: Everyone present participates willingly, whether it is young yogis or seniors in sweaters. Following the instructions, the first musical meditation begins.

“Find yourself” is the name of the first sentence. Although the sounds radiate great calm, they do not have much in common with typical meditation music. Ohad Ben-Ari’s pieces are very varied and sometimes wild.

At the end of the concert there is a long silence. Even after the applause, many people stay seated for a while. It felt good to listen to music in this attentive way. Not forcing your own body to rest, but consciously feeling yourself, enriches the concert experience. And this morning showed one more thing: that you can remain true to yourself without forgetting the world outside.

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