Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bryant Park: Stop By For a Moment's Peace, If You're Flexible

By Mitch Broder

At Bryant Park everybody packs into the outdoor cafés to drink, then everybody stumbles onto the lawn to pass out.

Well, it’s plausible. But not true. The people above are at least semiconscious, for they have come to the park to raise their consciousness. They are practicing yoga for an hour, which can be very relaxing, especially when you’re watching them from a chair.

There is outdoor yoga all over the city, but these sessions could be the most challenging. Bryant is not the most tranquil of parks. It’s a lovely park, and it has lots of chairs. But it’s frenetic. It has a buzz. Maybe it’s all that information seeping out of the New York Public Library.

The yoga is free. It’s sponsored by Lululemon Athletica, a company that manufactures “technical yoga and run clothes.” The company has a manifesto. It includes “Do one thing a day that scares you.” I’m all caught up for today. I read the manifesto.

There is yoga at 10 a.m. Tuesdays and at 6 p.m. Thursdays, through September. I like to watch the evening sessions to get in touch with my inner sloth. The yoga doesn’t look easy. The people twist themselves up a lot. I think of joining them. Then I think of ThermaCare Heat Wraps.

But I like the leaders. There’s a different one each week, and they are all soothing, even though they are heavily miked. One was Chrissy Carter, who believes that yoga is a gift, which I would accept, since regular lessons can be pretty steep. One was Yogi Charu, who believes in karmic reaction, which suggests that I will suffer for writing this post.

The most entertaining part of the session, though, comes after the session, when some of the participants indulge in moves of their own. After Yogi Charu, I saw some women engaging in acrobatic power yoga.

They offered to lift me up with their feet.

I was tempted. But I feared karmic reaction.


Bend a little at Bryant Park, Sixth Avenue at 42nd Street, in Manhattan.


  1. This is too great! I'm sorry you didn't get a picture of yourself getting lifted up by these folks karmic reaction or not....

  2. I wouldn't mess with "karmic reaction" -- especially if it involves someone else's feet!
    This is a great post. I think you were experiencing "comic reaction." I particularly love the part about the manifesto. Thanks for the laughs!

  3. Jared likes the layout of this blog page. Especially the masthead at the top of the page. He particularly likes how the city is blurred outside the magnifying glass, and sharp inside it. Just thought you might like to hear the compliments.

  4. Looks like fun! Pat -- you game?

    My favorite line..."One was Yogi Charu, who believes in karmic reaction, which suggests that I will suffer for writing this post." by my favorite author.
    I am ready for the next article now. :)