Yoga Your Own Way
Finding Peace in the Middle of a MetropolisTranquility in Times Square
The city that never sleeps celebrates the New Year with champagne and tons of confetti. So how does it celebrate the beginning of summer? With sun salutations and tree poses.
Co-founder and president of the Times Square Alliance Tim Tompkins thought yoga in Times Square was a fitting way to celebrate the summer solstice. "After learning what the summer solstice represented, fertility and creativity," Tompkins says, "yoga seemed the perfect way to show the difference between the summer solstice and the winter solstice"
So on the first day of summer every year since 2003, thousands of people have attended free yoga classes in the middle of Times Square, concentrating on their poses and breathing and ignoring the noise from traffic, fire trucks, and tourists.
It's hard to believe that what started out as a yoga session with three people in 2003 has developed into a full-day event with more than 1,000 participants in 2008. "Our lives have gotten more and more frenetic," Tompkins explains. The need to get off the treadmill and take care of our mind, body, and spirit has gotten bigger as a result, he adds.
Can one really achieve peace of mind in an area filled by people, flashing lights, and noise? Personally, walking through Times Square makes me want to push a panic button, but Tompkins says that's the challenge.
"Anyone can find peace of mind at the top of a mountain," he says. "The challenge is to stay engaged with the rest of the world in the midst of all the craziness."
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