NEW YORK: Over 15,000 yoga lovers descended on Times Square on Friday to celebrate the year’s longest day – June 21 – by practising the ancient Indian tradition under the watchful eyes of instructors, including the famous guru Rodney Yee and his partner Colleen Saidman Yee.
The chants of Om mingled with police sirens and taxi horns as the participants joined in what the organizers called the `Mind over Madness Yoga’ event.
Indeed, it was New Yorkers’ quest for tranquility in the midst of madness in one the busiest places in the world that brought thousands out to join in the annual yoga event.
“Find tranquility and transcendence in the midst of the world’s most commercial, frenetic and urban place, Times Square,’’ the organizers had said in their invite to New Yorker.
They had also offered to give free mats for first 1,200 participants in each of the five yoga sessions during the day. But the response was overwhelming.
Yoga guru Rodney Yee and his partner Colleen Saidman Yee were among the instructors at the open-air yoga classes in the Big Apple.
Thanks to its popularity among the celebrities and the rich, yoga has become a multi-billion-dollar industry in the US, with people like Bikram Choudhury raising multi-million yoga empires.
Even the White House also now holds the annual Yoga Garden event.
But the popularity of the `Mind Over Madness Yoga’ event from a few people a decade ago shows how ordinary Americans are becoming aware of the importance of this ancient Indian tradition for the body and the mind in the modern world.