One of the greatest things about living and working in New York City is seeing real life happenings that look like staged events. Janna and I are currently teaching together in Manhattan, and all Summer we have had the pleasure to watch — from our classroom perch on West 40th Street — weekly group Yoga sessions in Bryant Park. Last night after the final class, I flung open the window and took this image. You can see the Bryant Park carousel in the foreground and at least 300 yoga students congregating and sprawling on yoga mats on the green. The students change poses in unison. It’s like watching a beautiful, magical, dance from afar between the trees.
Here’s a slightly closer, but blurrier, shot of the Yoga students in action.
Bryant Park is one of the most lively public spaces in Manhattan. Sometimes people just sleep in the sun. Other times, there are fashion shows and concerts. Last week, there was some sort of major NFL event in Bryant Park, and the entire lawn was made into an NFL field — including a painted End Zone and field markers! It was fantastical watching the space change, get used for a sporting event, and then, after a few days, slowly fade back into a green, public, space without any advertising or signage.
The lessons in the Bryant Park Yoga sessions are important. We come together to commune in a shared experience that benefits us all on a single, human, cosmic level: We are bound by understanding. We share an interest. We conjugate thought. We divine in what makes us holy.
Then we retreat back into the ordinariness of our daily lives and take those lessons with us to enhance the lonely moments and to predict dismay — and we then become protected from the depths and from the ravages of lowly despair because we know — for a few moments only, that we were not alone, and that we are part of something bigger than the smaller of us, and that it is our right and moral duty to live up to the community of expectation, because that is what helps us take flight together, right there in the bright light of the public square, where learning leads us into the everlasting greatness of our expanding, but limited, promise.