On June 21, I boarded Train No. 650 at 30th Street Station for a first-day-of-summer yoga escape. Destined for a pristine beach oozing tranquillity? An isolated mountaintop exuding transcendence? More like an island - the one immortalized as the city that never sleeps. I was Manhattan-bound; though not to a hip yoga studio, but to the hubbub of Times Square.
An estimated 15,000 other yogis and yoginis and I were participating in Mind Over Madness, all-day outdoor yoga sessions at the "Crossroads of the World" - and a fund-raiser for the yoga-inspired charities Bent on Learning and Urban Zen.
I arrived in the Big Apple in the afternoon, made my way to Times Square Pedestrian Plaza, checked in with a T-shirted event attendant, squeezed into a tight spot, unrolled my mat, and got ready to Zen out during NYC's Friday-evening rush hour amid wailing sirens, honking horns, accents familiar and not, crystal-clear images flashing frenetically from mammoth video screens, vendors hawking $20 "Rolexes," stilt-walking Lady Libertys, a man in a wheelchair holding a cardboard sign scribbled with his honest plea for "spare change for beer and pizza," and a frenzy of more sights and sounds.