Thousands Greet Summer With Sun Salutations In Times Square

The summer solstice was greeted with thousands of sun salutations in New York's Times Square on Friday. The square was the scene of mass yoga classes in honor of the first day of summer.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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In New York's Times Square, thousands of people are greeting the solstice with sun salutations. The Square is the scene today of mass yoga classes to honor the first day of summer. NPR's Margot Adler has this story about finding your center in the center of Manhattan.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Everybody, please inhale, the arms up, parallel to the floor, all five fingers together. Now, really reach your fingertips forward.

MARGOT ADLER, BYLINE: Now, I confess, it would never have occurred to me to do yoga on the summer solstice. I'm more of a summer is coming in singing kind of person to welcome summer, and it would never occur to me to do yoga in the middle of Times Square. But I learned something today. It actually makes sense. It's easy to get calm on top of a mountain. The trick is doing it here.

LIANA DAMICA: It's weird because you're laying on the floor of New York City, but then you look up and you see all the buildings. And she said to, like, embrace it and it was a part of the whole experience of today.

ADLER: Liana Damica was standing on a street corner after having gone to the morning yoga class. Some two to 3,000 are taking each class.

DAMICA: It was great. It was really refreshing and relaxing.

ADLER: Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, says the event is called Mind Over Madness.

TIM TOMPKINS: We love being in the city. We love the energy and the madness and the chaos of urban life. But how do you ground yourself? This event itself is a metaphor for that struggle of how we stay real in, you know, an ever crazier world.

ADLER: The Bikram Yoga class took place at 1 p.m. But by 10:30 in the morning, hundreds of people had come and put their mats down on the street to get a good spot. There, they were waiting, lying in the hot sun for a couple of hours. But hey, they do hot yoga. They're used to it. Bardia Askari, Louise Maresca and Dorca Vasquez were sitting on their mats, one of them in a full lotus position.

BARDIA ASKARI: You know, most of the time we are enclosed in a room, very quiet. Now you got the hustle and bustle and the open sky. It's a nice little change.

LOUISE MARESCA: It's like a high. I don't have to use drugs at all. It's like a high to me. I look forward to it every year.

DORCA VASQUEZ: No matter where I am, how old I am, I'm always going to make it, the first day of summer, Times Square because it's just a feeling that is irreplaceable. It's wonderful.

ADLER: And everybody was clearly having a great time. As for me, I'll stick with singing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUMER IS ICUMEN IN")

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) Summer is icumen in, summer is icumen in, summer is icumen in.

ADLER: Happy Solstice. Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.

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