Monday, June 22, 2015

Celebrations | International Yoga Day and the June Solstice in NYC

Gāyatrī  Mantra
ॐ भूर्भुवः॒ स्वः ।तत्स॑वितुर्वरे॑ण्यंभ॒र्गो॑ दे॒वस्य॑ धीमहि ।धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त् ॥
Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ
bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
dhíyo yó naḥ pracodáyāt

June 21 has been designated International Yoga Day by the United Nation General Assembly in 2014. In the northern hemisphere June 21 is also the date of the summer solstice, marking the longest day and shortest night of the year.

Several celebrations took place in NYC, in private studios as well as in public places.
I began my celebratory practice at Pure Yoga, in the Upper West Side. The practice lasted two hours and consisted of 108 sun salutations, introduced by a beautiful chanting of the Gāyatrī  Mantra.

The main celebration took place in Times Square, where the yoga practice spanedv twelve hours, from 7am to7:30pm, led led by yoga celebreties. I attended only the 6:30 practice, led by Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee. Honestly, I was not impressed by the teachings of the Yees who are among the yoga celebrities. There was no guided flow, or transition, from one asana (pose) to the following; modifications should have been offered, considering the broad range of bodies and yoga practice level amount the hundreds of practitioners. The main experience was for me to be able to isolate my self,from the crowds in one of the densest urban places in the world, sitting in a lotus pose with closed eyes. And of course being able to view from a laying down pose the towering buildings wrapped by ten-floor tall lit billboards was a quite unique, almost surreal experience.