At the 11th Solstice at Times Square event Friday, thousands upon thousands of yoga enthusiasts are descending upon one of the world's busiest commercial intersections to celebrate the first day of summer with a peace-seeking dose of yoga.
Aptly dubbed "Mind Over Madness" yoga, the organizers of this year's Solstice at Times Square event say the juxtaposition of the flashy location with the soothing practice of yoga is meant to remind attendees that peace can be found anywhere -- even in the hustle and bustle of New York City.
"It's a metaphor for calming the mind amidst the madness of modern life," said Tim Tompkins, president of Times Square Alliance and co-founder of the annual event, in a media release.
More than 15,000 people are expected to attend one of the five outdoor sessions of yoga organized throughout the day Friday in cordoned-off pedestrian islands on Broadway between 43rd and 48th streets. As roads haven't been blocked off and businesses are open as usual, vehicles and pedestrians will be swarming around the area as usual all day.
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"Times Square in my experience is the most wildly amazing, distracting, entertaining place on earth," yoga instructor Drisana Carey, who led the 7.30 a.m. session, told the The Huffington Post on Friday morning. "When we practice yoga, the whole practice is to tune in inside and find that sense of equanimity, of calmness, of centeredness and oftentimes distractions pull us away from that."
"Anytime you come to practice, even if it's in a very quiet studio, our mind is constantly jumping around to different places. It's really important to draw yourself inside," she continued, as taxi cab drivers blared their horns and digital billboards flashed behind her. "So, if you can find that sense of calmness and centeredness here in Times Square, you can find it anywhere."
If you want to follow along at home, a webcast of the Solstice in Times Square event has been provided by Athleta, one of the sponsors of the event, in partnership with Livestream and the event's organizers. Watch it here: