Thursday, June 25, 2015

International Day of Yoga

June 21st, 2003, Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, Douglas Stewart, a yogi and friend of Tompkins', and one other friend decided to do a few hours of yoga in Times Square to celebrate the summer solstice. 13 years later the UN declared June 21st international day of yoga.
This solstice just past, June 21st, 2015, was celebrated with yoga all around the world, with important dignitaries and world leaders speaking about the importance of centering one's self in our crazy world and the strength in coming together to practice yoga as one all around the world.

This was my second Solstice Yoga in Times Square, but was the first Yoga in Times Square as part of International Yoga Day. At 5am I once again headed out on my way to Times Square excited because I knew today was bigger than usual. It wasn't just Yoga in Times Square that I was documenting, I was there to witness the first ever international day of yoga

As you might expect, the day was full of yoga classes, but also there were conversations, speeches, hip-hop dance shows, and more. Also, the weather kept us on our toes. What started out as a rainy day soon changed to deep blue sky and warm sun beating down on the crowds, only to be chased away by more clouds and a sudden squall that had people hiding under their yoga mats, the sound-techs franticly covering their equipment, while the photographers and tv crews dashed for cover in the nearest store or tent. Luckily the rain didn't last long and the clouds parted to make the last class one under a beautiful sunset! Regardless of this weather, the energy there was amazing all day. At the Cross Roads of the World, in one of the most chaotic places in the world, peace and calm spread throughout the crowds as they slowly sat and meditated or practiced a sun salutation.

My job at events like these are either photographing or editing the photos. For this event I did both. I spent most of my time downloading the cards and editing the photos so that the social media team from the Times Square Alliance could quickly post them on the internet. When I did get to shoot however, I got the best vantage points in the whole area. Early on durning the day I got to photograph the world pose from the top of the Hard Rock Cafe. Later on in the afternoon I got to photograph some ariel shoots from the roof of the Renaissance Hotel and One Times Square where the New Years Eve ball is mounted. All of these provided amazing views and what I hope are capturing images.

I love working at these types of events. The location is always exciting. The people always friendly and new. And the energy always bubbling to the brim. It was a great privilege to be a part of the first ever International Yoga Day, and be a part of the team that capture the images to preserve the memory of this day for the future.

To see all of the photos from this event visit:

Photos ©Amy Hart for Times Square Alliance


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