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For the past 20 years, yoga enthusiasts have gathered in midtown Manhattan for the annual Solstice in Times Square event. The occasion attracts thousands of people celebrating the summer solstice and International Day of Yoga. The 2022 event was aptly themed Mind Over Madness. A day-long series of yoga and wellness sessions drew crowds looking for a dose of well-being.
Healing anxiety, one story at a time
One of the midday sessions began with anxiety and mindfulness coach Amanda Huggins. A “retired” yoga instructor, podcast host, and author, Huggins works with people to find holistic techniques to heal anxious thinking.
She encouraged people to start by acknowledging their anxiety. “When we can start to…welcome in and befriend what’s underneath the anxiety, that’s when we can begin to heal,” she said. “Rather than keeping something in the shadows, let’s start to embrace it, look at it, and work through it.”
She led the audience through an exercise that helps distinguish between truth and story—helping them recognize the difference between facts and the narratives we create based on our experiences, insecurities, and emotions. “When we’re looking to shift or navigate more meaningfully through anxiety, what we want to do is start to become more aware of where we tell ourselves stories,” she says.
Check out the video below for her steps to recognize and navigate our anxiety-producing thoughts.
Yoga with the power of the sun
Huggins’ wellness session was followed by an asana practice with New York-based yoga instructor Maria Margolies, the founder of Holixtic, a yoga and wellness app. The app offers a “holistic universe” where people can come for yoga classes, breathwork, food guidance, and other healthy advice.
Margolies’ yoga session offered a blend of traditional Ashtanga yoga with creative movement. She opened with an active Child’s Pose—arms extended and palms lifted off the ground by coming onto the fingertips. Her Cat-Cow includes arms reaching toward the sun and circling, before reaching under the body for Thread the Needle. She flowed evenly from Downward-Facing Dog to Three-Legged Dog to Pigeon, and from there to Dandasana.
As many people do on the Solstice, Maria led the group in Surya Namaskar–a sequence of poses that enable us to honor the energy of the sun. Her full flow married traditional poses with subtle and energetic movement and challenging postures for a lively asana practice.
“Everything is possible if we align with the flow of nature…If we walk with grace and we invite the light and love into our lives,” she says. “I think that’s what we’re here to do: to honor the light within us.”
Join her in practice in the video below. Her session begins at the 13:00 mark.
Solstice In Times Square: Mind Over Madness
Check here for more Solstice in Times Square videos
- Practice With Us: Solstice in Times Square Yoga with Neeti Narula
- Ruchika Lal Leads a Yoga Class With Deep Indian Roots
- Practice ISHTA Yoga with senior teacher Douglass Stewart, co-founder of Yoga in Times Square
- Want to Ease Anxiety? Change Your Inner Story and Invite in the Light
- This Soulful Yoga Practice from Chelsea Jackson Roberts Is the Self-Care You Need Right Now
- A 60-Minute Class for Those Who Like it Fierce and With Some Grace
- Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee