(Copyright 2016, Simona Z.)
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I recently visited Denmark. As any tourist would do these days, I carried out extensive Google searches on places of interest and the local culture before my departure... I googled anything: from best castles to recommended restaurants and how to greet people in Danish.
I left to Copenhagen thinking I knew all I needed to know to spend three pleasant and relaxing days away from Ireland. Little I knew that Denmark with its tranquil natural landscapes, gorgeous buildings and romantic canals would reveal an interesting perspective on life..
But let's start from the beginning. The very first place I visited was the absolutely stunning Glyptoteket (=museum of statues) in Copenhagen. Being from Sicily, I am accustomed to the sight of ancient marble statues from the Greek and Roman civilization. We have hundreds of them on display in our museums.
But this place was simply unique in the way the statues were arranged in each room and also the carefully designed lighting that almost brought each statue to life (see photos below). It was late in the evening. Apart from the spotlights pointing at each statue, the room was otherwise in darkness, so much so that it was actually hard to read the labels that described each item.
The concept applied by the museum designers was very simple: instead of eliminating darkness using cold flood lights to light the rooms, they had used the contrast light-dark to create depth and highlight shapes and nuances.
The following days, walking around Copenhagen after sunset, I noticed the same concept had been adopted to light up most buildings in the city (see image below).
In a country where winter days are very short and sunlight is limited to few hours a day, could this be a trick to turn darkness into a tool to see things under a new light? This would imply that light and darkness can actually co-exist and even enrich each other. Darkness on its own or light on its own could not create the same deep image generated by the light-dark contrast. It is by carefully balancing both that we add extra dimension and depth.
The practice of Yoga teaches us to look into both darkness and light and achieve the poise required to balance both into our life, thus highlighting nuances and dimensions that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.