Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 14, 2013

Yoga teachers mark solstice with free session in Rinconada Park

Inspired by Times Square yoga, teacher hopes to create local tradition

by Chris Kenrick

Taking a page from the Summer Solstice yoga fest in New York's Times Square, five local yoga teachers will hold a free, public, outdoor yoga session Friday, June 21.

Palo Alto yoga teacher Manjiri Subhash, who "grew up around yoga" in India, urges yoga practitioners of all levels to unroll their mats in Rinconada Park from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the solstice for Palo Alto Yoga Day.

"We hope to make a tradition of it," said Subhash, who drew 65 practitioners when she tried it for the first time last year after being inspired by the Times Square event.

Participants spread their mats in and around the cement bowl at Rinconada Park, where the local event will be held again this year.

New York's "Mind Over Madness" started small in 2003 and now attracts thousands to the space on Broadway between 43rd and 48th streets and has corporate sponsors.

Subhash has created a sequence of poses for the Palo Alto event that she said are suitable for beginners or adaptable for advanced practitioners.

"It's very inclusive, and the goal is not to intimidate anybody," she said. "It's more about creating awareness and just bringing the community together in this open-air, healthy activity."

Subhash, who teaches yoga at Xerox PARC and the HN Ayurveda Wellness Center in Mountain View, learned yoga as a child in Mumbai, India, where she went to classes with her mother and "yoga was everywhere in the culture."

She studied economics and worked in educational technology but returned to yoga after moving to Palo Alto in 1987, when she wanted to expose her children to the practice.

"They dropped out in 18 months, but I loved it so much I stayed," she said.

"I found it so fulfilling, I went ahead and got a credential. I used to work in educational technology, but now everything is yoga."

Co-teaching with Subhash on the 21st will be yoga teachers Ben Dineen, Keith Erickson, Jenn Gaskin and Britta Jamila Henkenjohann.

Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at ckenrick@paweekly.com.

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