Celebrating the [Downward] Dog Days of Summer – Summer Solstice Yoga in Times Square

The 12th annual Summer Solstice in Times Square event was held on June 21, 2014. This has been on my NYC bucket list and every year, I miss out because like every good free event in NYC, it sells out quickly. I was happy to recruit my best friend from college and her mother who ended up making a weekend NYC trip around the yoga event. We got a prime spot in the second row (and yes, we dorked out and wore matching tops).

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Starting at 5:30 am through 9:15 pm, thousands of yogis flocked to Times Square to find some peace of ‘mind over madness.’ Being the longest day of the year, I wanted to enjoy every minute of it. We registered for the 7:30 am class with Heather Lilleston of Yoga for Bad People.

At the end of the yoga class we were in our final pose, Savasana. Heather told us to close our eyes and hold hands (which we all did). She says, “I was only kidding about the holding hands part but you all did it so keep it up.”

Athleta sponsors the event and while the yoga classes are free, participants are encouraged to donate to Urban Zen and Bent On Learning—two local nonprofits focused on yoga and healthcare.

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After the session, we went to the yoga village for some great freebies and more photo-ops (of course!)

To close out this perfect summer day, my friend Julia and I did the Sunset Flow session with Ali Cramer of Laughing Lotus. At 7:30 pm, Time Square was bustling, but that didn’t stop 1,000 yogis from getting their zen on. You sort of feel like an animal at the zoo with all the tourists standing by the barricades snapping photos of you as you are doing your downward-facing dog (not my most flattering side, BTW).

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As the sun goes down and the golden sunshine reflecting off the skyscrapers gives way to a dark sky and neon lights, I was lying on the pavement looking up and just taking it all in. It’s a perspective you don’t get very often. Most days, New Yorkers are so busy getting from point A to point B, we forget to look up and really appreciate the beauty of this magnificent city.

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I loved hearing the sound of “Om” resonating through Times Square—it is certainly a must do experience and a fabulous way to end the longest day of the year. Namaste!

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