Portrait of a Yogi

An increasing number of artists are using yoga to boost their creativity. But Nancy Van Kanegan, a yoga teacher and multimedia artist in Chicago, is one of the few making art about yoga. Her whimsical pastel-toned drawings of asanas are both inspiring and instructive. If you’re struggling in Trikonasana, for example, you might consider hanging her blue-bodied yogi in Triangle Pose on your wall. Against a soft purple background spackled with wisps of yellow branches and leaves, the piece is both tranquil and invigorating. And, as in all her drawings, Van Kanegan’s yogis are rendered in ways that reveal the deeper energetic structure of each pose.

Van Kanegan realized the postures were perfect art material not long after she began studying yoga in 1980. “I find beautiful and challenging parallels between the practice of yoga and art,” she says. “Both are concerned with accessing inner intelligences that are not often recognized by our modern world.” Now a seasoned artist and a teacher of art and yoga, she says drawing the poses helps her discover their nuances so she can teach and practice better. Teaching yoga inspires her art, and art inspires her practice.

To view and purchase Van Kanegan’s drawings, check out