Like most New Yorkers, I usually avoid Times Square like the plague. I value my sanity, and fighting my way through the crowds there erodes that sense of sanity, or whatever is left of it. But last night, I steeled myself and headed up there after work for a little yoga.
For the 10th year, The Times Square Alliance was hosting its free Solstice in Times Square event. They had four different classes throughout the day, and weeks ago, I reserved a ticket for the 7pm class.
Last week, NatureMade contacted me and asked if I’d like to go as a VIP. I told them if
they didn’t mind me embarrassing them with my lack of ability to hold crow pose I would do it. In all seriousness, I take NatureMade B Complex every morning with my probiotics. They don’t smell, which is apparently a tall order for B vitamins. The VIP hook-up meant I got to be near the front and I got a gift bag (and one for you!)
Ashley went, too (oh hey, thanks for your pic!), and it was kinda like the first time we met, minus that whole getting rained-out thing.
I’m not one of those people who needs to OMG GET A REALLY GOOD WORKOUT in from yoga. More important to me is to stretch out and relax. I really wondered how the hell I’d do that in the middle of Times Square with thousands of other people and tourists gawking at us.
Oh, and this giant screen that panned the crowd and showed everyone practicing. For the first few minutes, I couldn’t stop looking to see if I was up there looking like an ass, but I got over that pretty quickly, since, what was I going to do? Hide?
The instructor was Dana Flynn, founder of Laughing Lotus Yoga. She started off the practice with a few remarks.
“You are here because you have chosen to engage with the world, rather than watch it.”
Her passionate, direct way of speaking was a little uncomfortable to me at first, but then I got over myself. She was right. We all could have gone home from work and sat on our couches and let the world pass us by, but we chose to go participate in this awesome thing.
It was cool to be doing yoga around all these landmarks I usually just rush by, and it was crazy to think that thousands of other people were doing the same exact thing at the same exact time.
And by cool, I mean it was something like 90 degrees outside at the time. My friend Shannon did the noon class, and texted me a picture from it where you could basically see the steam rising from the street. I’m glad the sun was slowly setting as we downward-dogged and sun-saluted. We must have sun-saluted approximately a million times, but given we were celebrating the Summer Solstice, I guess it made sense.
As for letting go and relaxing? The instructor didn’t take herself too seriously (one of my favorite qualities in both yoga instructors, and just people in general), and the class was really light-spirited. From playing lots of music throughout the class to having us join palms with the person next to us in tree pose, we had lots of fun, and I must have grinned like an idiot for much of the class. Smiling’s my favorite.
I did pop up a few times to take pictures because I thought it was such a unique experience.
We also did a massive human wave, which was fun.
This is what the city looks like when you’re attempting backbend. (I really miss when I used to do gymnastics and go into a backbend like it was nothing!
The Paramount Building. I love the old-school architecture against all the modern skyscrapers.
After 90 minutes of yoga-ing, I was blissfully happy. Which might also have to do with the sponsor tents set up at the sides where I ate hummus and lentil chips.
It was amazing.
If you’ve made it this far, there is something in it for you!
NatureMade gave me a goodie bag with the following stuff in it, and wants to share it with you:
v Vitamin D w/portable key chain and bottle
v Flip flops
v Beach Towel
v Beach bag
v iPod speakers
v Nature Made Water
v Nature Made Hat
v Yoga Mat
v Athleta Gift Card ($50)
To enter, leave a comment answering one of the following questions. Each comment will count as a separate entry:
- Which vitamins do you take?
- What’s the most unusual place you’ve ever exercised?
- What are your summer beach plans?