Archive for Yoga in Times Square

July’s Chair Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi Classes/Trainings and Finding Balance at Summer Solstice Times Square Yoga

Hi friends and family,

Hope you are keeping your cool and comfort in the midst of this Northeast heat wave!  Please stay hydrated!

Speaking of heat, once again I attended the uniquely NYC “Summer Solstice Yoga” in Times Square.  This year, over 12,000 participants attended yoga classes throughout the day as Times Square was shut down to vehicles, and turned into one large outdoor yoga studio. Attendees were generously given yoga mats by Aerie and the Times Square Alliance, and we literally placed our mats in the center of the city (or the world, depending on your NY-centric perspective!).  Participants braved the high temperature, curious onlookers, photographers, and different styles of yoga to join with New Yorkers of all ages, sizes, colors, and backgrounds to create a beautiful mosaic of humanity.

Times Square Solstice Yoga is always one of my favorite events of the year as I find it uplifting being with so many others practicing yoga in such a large communal way. Even in the midst of chaos and busy urban activity, the practice of yoga prepares us to go inward no matter the external environment.  What better way to test that precept during a packed mid-day yoga class in Times Square! If we can literally balance and focus in dancer pose and other challenging asanas in the middle of 42nd Street, we know that with practice and intent, we can stay steady outside of yoga class no matter the circumstances. During these chaotic and anxiety-provoking times.our daily connection to that deep inner core within each one of us is so necessary for maintaining balance and finding inner peace.  Yoga, meditation, qigong, tai chi, dance, nature walks, creating art, gardening, shamanic journeying, writing, playing music, jogging are some ways during which we can go deeply inward. What do you find works best for you in this moment? Has that changed throughout your life, or has it remained a consistent path?  Enjoy the process and the journey!

This month, my yoga-qigong-tai chi fusion class (“Chair Chi & Prana“) will be held on July 16th at the beautiful Integral Yoga in the heart of the West Village. Much of the qigong and simplified tai chi that I incorporate into my yoga classes I learned from my first tai chi teacher – Dr. Roger Jahnke   If you would like to meet him in person, there will be a free intro evening at NYC’s Open Center on Thursday, July 5th  I hope you can attend that event this holiday week!

Dr. Jahnke created  “Tai Chi Easy”TM – the system of tai chi, qigong, self-massage that I studied at the Omega Institute in 2007.   It was a fantastic training, and to this day, it is the style that I primarily teach and practice. It is very accessible to all ages and levels of experience, and as you can see from our facilitator graduation photo, we had a fun and diverse group.

In July, Dr. Jahnke will be at The Open Center in NYC, and in August at Kripalu in the Berkshires.  Please go to his website to see the exact dates and for more information:  I highly recommend doing one or more of his trainings!

Class Descriptions:

Chair Chi and Prana is hosted by the beautiful yoga center – Integral Yoga. This fusion class increases our vitality, and improves balance and coordination by combining Chair Yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi Easy™ walking. Seated and standing Yoga poses strengthen and stretch the body, gentle and flowing Qigong movements enhance our life force energy (chi or prana), and Tai Chi walking increases balance and helps with fall prevention.  Additionally, these practices are a moving meditation that calm the nervous system, increase immune support, focus the mind, and are accessible to all bodies and ages.  We end class with a long savasana and yoga nidra (deep relaxation) to fully relax and absorb the benefits of our practices.  All levels are welcome! No prior experience is necessary.

July 2017; Summer Solstice Yoga in Times Square Impressions

Happy July!  I hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend!  I am teaching Monday July 3 and Tuesday July 4th, so if you are in NYC, please come to class!

On the Summer Solstice this June 21, I participated in a free outdoor yoga class in Times Square sponsored by the Times Square Alliance – “Solstice in Times Square”.  Yoga in Times Square is now an annual event and has grown from three people in 2003 doing yoga in this hectic “center of the world” to now more than 12,000 people taking classes throughout the day.  Pretty remarkable!  It is always a fun and interesting experience to practice yoga In Times Square.  Because there are so many external distractions from passersby, traffic, photographers, videographers, smokers, feathers and other wind-born items flying about, it actually creates a unique setting in which to practice going inward rather than if practicing in the perfectly serene yoga studio setting. Even though most yoga classes tend to focus on the yoga poses (“asanas“), the central concept of yoga is stilling the mind from the inner chatter, judgments, and external diversions; withdrawing from the senses; and connecting to that eternal inner center.  See the ancient yoga text: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (I.2; 1.3; 1.15; 1.16; 1.17; 1.18; 1.43; etc.)

So it is slightly ironic that in the noisy, busy, crowded and hectic metropolis, one can truly find and cultivate a deep, inner calm and one-pointed focus.  We often think we need the ideal conditions in which to find peace and serenity, yet this Yoga in Times Square experience reminds us that the most important conditions are our internal reactions and inner steadiness no matter the external circumstances.  It is important to be reminded of that, especially for those of us who live in urban settings that are often the epitome of the “rat race” – fast, loud, dirty, competitive, and stressful. To maintain that inner steadiness found during one’s yoga and other meditative practices is the ongoing, daily practice. There is a reason the organizers entitled this year’s event Mind Over Madness Yoga!  It our mastery of our minds that will bring us the greatest peace during these these often maddening times.  Given that the ancient yogis who crafted the Yoga Sutras thousands of years ago were writing about these concepts they practiced, we know that humankind has always struggled with finding internal peace when the external world is filled with so many different and difficult challenges.

Another special aspect of the event is the feeling of solidarity and community with fellow yoga practitioners one feels, even though in the midst of thousands of New Yorkers. During this longest day of the year, a central NYC street transforms into a yoga studio floor, the NYC skyline becomes the ceiling, the surrounding buildings our studio walls, and strangers on the mats our classmates. We don’t know what emotions or insights will surface during the class, or what connections will be made.  It is all about being open to the process and experience – as we are in every yoga class, as well as off the mat, in our daily lives.  After the 3:30 p.m yoga class, I met a fellow yoga teacher, Bill, who is the founder of Llamaste.  He creates beautiful and practical yoga bags, as well as yoga t-shirts. I was very taken by his generosity of spirit when he gave me this lovely yoga bag in the photo below.  Bill’s yoga company is based in Brooklyn – check out his great website and his mission:

To read more about this annual solstice yoga event, and to see a beautiful video montage of the day with music of one of my favorite yoga chanters, Donna De Lory, click on this link: