Even the scorching heat was not enough to stop 14,000 determined yogis from participating in the Yoga in Times Square event: Mind over madness, sponsored by Athleta on the summer solstice this year.
People came together from near and far for the 10th annual event held on the streets of New York City. Each yoga class was made up of more than 1500 students that were wedged between the iconic Times Square building (site of the annual New Years Eve ball drop), past the familiar red stepped roof of the TKTS discount theater tickets booth, all the way to 48th street.
Tourists stopped in their tracks at the site of so many (at times) barely clad yogi’s as maximum temperatures almost reached triple digits during the midday Bikram yoga session. Each class was directed by one instructor and heard over a sound system. There were many assistants dressed in matching blue yogi uniforms spotting and giving adjustments to the crowd.
Although attendees were presented with the challenge of finding tranquility and transcendence in the midst of the normal chaos that is Times Square, many seemed to find it quite easily. Yogi’s perspired in unison through familiar poses and rested as a unit in savasana, all while in the city that is known as the crossroads of the world. Obtaining Zen amongst the hustle and bustle of New York City seems like an impossible task but while riding the collective energy wave of the crowd anything was possible.
Throughout the day’s four classes, students and instructors were vocal in their surprise that it was so easy to relax in such a busy place. Dana Flynn who lead the last and largest class of the day (5000 people) shared with the yogi’s that she clearly felt “moments of silence in New York City during the last class, where it was just quiet, and that was because we were present in the moment.”
Drisana Carey welcomed the summer solstice as she opened the days events by leading the first class at 7:30 A.M. and reminded those in atendance to give gratitude and love in all of their actions.
Rajashree Choudhury lead the next class just 30 minutes past noon. The 90 minute class was in true Bikram fashion as it was the hottest time of the day with natural high humidity.
Douglass Stewart lead the third class of the day helping attendees celebrate the longest day of the year.
The event was completely free for attendees who received complementary yoga mats, snacks and an Athleta goodie bag. Other than yoga classes the day included music from Prasanna and an Athleta Fashion show.
It was surly a memorable event for not only the yogi’s that participated but also for the observers looking on.