June 20 marked the first day of summer, the longest day of the year and the world’s biggest Bikram Yoga class. Solstice temperatures of 92 F (33 C) couldn’t keep more than 14,000 practitioners away from the Mind Over Madness event in New York – especially not the Bikram Yogis, who are used to performing their asanas in 40 C heat.

The challenge from event sponsor Athleta: Anyone can find tranquility on top of a mountain. Can you find it in the middle of Times Square? To that end, four yoga classes were offered free of charge throughout the day, including a 12:30 p.m. Bikram session led by Rajashree Choudhury, five-time winner of the All-India Yoga Championship and founder of the USA Yoga Federation.

“I first practised yoga in a children’s park on the grass, in the sun, with people passing by,” said Rajashree, who is, of course, married to Bikram Yoga creator Bikram Choudhury. “‘Hatha’ is often translated as the union of sun and the moon, similar to the concepts of yang and yin in Asian and Chinese philosophy. The summer solstice is a wonderful time to celebrate the physical and spiritual health benefits of yoga.”
“You’re in the middle of one of the busiest places in the U.S., trying to do a yoga class,” said one Mind Over Madness participant. “I think it fits perfectly well with the theme of the event.”
“It was exhilarating, exciting … and really hot!” according to another.
“The way they bend – we don’t do that in Oklahoma,” tourist Ted Patrickson told DNAinfo.com after a few minutes of watching the outdoor Bikram Yoga class. (Actually Ted, thanks to Yoga Quest in Tulsa, you can!)
The Solstice in Times Square: Mind Over Madness Yoga event is held annually in New York City – will you plan on being there next year?

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