The Boston Public Library is stretching its boundaries, and moving away from merely offering readers a quiet place to bury their noses in books.
Next month, visitors will be able to take a series of free yoga classes at the library’s main branch in Copley Square. The classes will be held in the historic Abbey Room of the McKim Building.
It marks the first time ever that the library will turn the room — it’s typically reserved for special events like book readings — into a place to lay out yoga mats so people can perfect their downward dogs and sun salutations.
“It’s a beautiful, tranquil room. We think it’s going to be the perfect atmosphere for this type of event,” said Michael Colford, director of library services.
The walls of the Abbey Room are lined with murals painted by artist Edwin Austin Abbey. The artwork, titled “The Quest and Achievement of the Holy Grail,” includes 150 figures derived from stories about the legend of King Arthur. The 15 panels of artwork were first installed in 1895.
Accompanying the paintings is a fireplace made from antique marble, and a beamed ceiling that was inspired by the architecture inside the Doge’s Palace in Venice, according to the library’s website.
“It’s very serene,” Colford said. “There were a couple of rooms available, but we felt this room was a really great space for yoga.”
The free, one-hour classes will be held each Tuesday from Jan. 12 to Feb. 16, at 12 p.m. They will be taught by Rebecca Pacheco, known for her blog OmGal.com, and cater to all levels of yoga practitioners.
Colford said he expects the Abbey Room can accommodate roughly 50 people for each class. Spots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
If the series proves popular, the library will consider extending the program beyond a month, and offer the experience again to the public at a later date.Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.