Battle of the Yogis: Times Square and Central Park Duke It Out for Most Major Yoga Event


Monday and Tuesday, the first official days of summer, inspired two major public (free!) yoga events in the city: The Solstice in Times Square and Yoga at the Great Lawn. One boasted its cred as one of the longest-running yoga-thons ever; the other prided itself on being the largest. But which one was just plain better? Here’s our comprehensive rating system on the summer’s biggest yoga extravaganzas, with your resident Voice yogi statisticians adhering to a highly scientific, not-very-zen point scale (the higher, the better).

The Solstice in Times Square

Hosted by the Times Square Alliance and yogis around the city, Solstice in Times Square held nine different classes throughout the day on Monday, from 7:30 p.m. to the end of the 6 p.m. class at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue.

Attendance: For the 10:30 a.m. class, there were approximately 550 participants. Times that by nine? +8
Security: The sidewalk island was gated on all sides; police were present for the event as were Solstice staff security. No one was allowed to stand and watch at the east or south sides of the class. +6
Camera Phone Invasion: Code Red. -7
General Spectators: Lining the sidewalk, generally non-disruptive. +4
PA System: Very clear amid the Times Square traffic. +7
Sweat Factor: Sunlight. Concrete. Car fumes. -10
Heavy Breathing: Drowned out by traffic noise. +3
Instructor Hotness: Varied. -1
Mat space: About 6 inches between. +2
Amenities: Solstice gift bags and water bottles were provided (+9) while supplies lasted (-6). Yoga mats were given to the first 100 pre-registered attendees to each class (+5). The 10:30 a.m. class with Yoga Organix provided live music as well. (+5)

Total Yoga Domination: 19 points.

Yoga at the Great Lawn

Hosted by Flavorpill and JetBlue, yogis took over Central Park’s Great Lawn on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Attendence: Approximately 10,000 people. All at once. +10
Camera Phone Invasion: Based on the number of YouTube videos, -3.
Instructor Hotness: Elena Brower. +10
Mat Space: It’s the Great Lawn. +5
Amenities: Reggie Watts and Buddy Wakefield provided live music. +5
But: It was rained out by a sudden downpour. -15.

Total Yoga Domination: 12 points.

You got in this time, Times Square, but the Great Lawn will announce a rain-check date soon. Once they clean the mud off their mats, that is.