Town Square

Yoga teachers mark solstice with free park session for all

Original post made on Jun 20, 2013

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.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, June 16, 2013, 1:00 PM


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2013 at 10:24 am

Nice concept, but tonight is the solstice, not tomorrow evening. " )

Posted by William, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2013 at 11:31 am

Right you are! The solstice occurs on June 21 at 05:04 UTC, which is THIS evening, June 20, at 22:04 PDT, or 10:04 PM local time. Most calendars are printed with East coast time zones, which often causes those of us on this side of the country to see this sort of thing.

William Phelps
Peninsula Astronomical Society

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm

UTC doesn't make much sense to most US residents as it corresponds to GMT which is British winter time. Calendars in Britain will have the correct date printed so it is only American calendars which are printed in East Coast time zones.

Additionally, most other countries consider this midsummer's day rather than the first day of summer. The summer solstice is definitely the accurate description.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Sorry, that comment sounded a lot more stern that it was meant. I was just mulling and absent mindedly commenting. Interesting discussion point.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Resident - I think you made a similar comment on a similar thread, no?

The reason it's called Midsummer is that summer, as a general season, was said to start in early May & therefore, midsummer is around the summer solstice. This was the case for many decades in many European countries. Some of them counted only three seasons - spring, summer, winter. Some of them counted only 2 seasons - summer & winter. By either reckoning, they placed midsummer around the time of the solstice, the longest day, as they knew the days shortened thereafter. These countries, not being the US, have traditions still intact from pagandom & early Christendom, such as St. John's Eve & St. John's Day & they will celebrate all of them, as a multiday festival.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Yes, I think I have mentioned that before here.

As a student, I remember studying midsummer day as a description of the fact that it is the longest day, having the longest number of daylight hours and that the amount of daylight will start decreasing straight afterwards hence it being called the middle of summer. This may be accurate as far as astronomical definitions, but not necessarily about climate definitions. Likewise midwinter's day is the shortest number of hours of daylight and therefore astronomical not climatic definition.

As to the pagan significance, I have looked into the history from wiki and it is interesting to see how other cultures have looked on the festival. As far as native Americans' celebration of the solstice, it seems to have not been important to their culture.

Stonehenge and other ancient sites such as Newgrange in Ireland, are proof that the summer and winter solstices was important to them, possibly for pagan religious reasons but also quite possibly because it gave them a time to start counting their calendar or to give a fixed number of days until they had to plant their crops. Since there was a great deal of science needed to build these ancient sites, it is quite possible that they valued science just as much, if not more, than their pagan rites. The probability is that their scientific knowledge was garnered specifically to help their religion and accordingly these rites told them when to plant their crops. A case of science arising from religious belief as well as a more earthly need to get their planting done at the right time.

Web Link

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Resident, many if you're referring to Celtic rites & beliefs, for a long time they didn't distinguish between science & religion the way that we do. The rites that they administered & the science they practiced went hand in hand w/medicine, farming, etc.

Posted by Yoga Day Participant, a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2013 at 11:56 am

Most people don't care about the science of the solstice. There are activities and events going on all weekend in celebration. Get off your pedestals and participate in the community in a more positive way.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm




Glad you had a good time and yes community participation is great. But, so is using the opportunity to find out more about history and people. We are never too old to stop learning. Education is taking place outside the classroom and we can participate that if we keep our eyes open and think about some of the things around us. Sharing our thoughts and opinions is a good thing, I think.

Nothing about being on high pedestals, more about a desire for knowledge.

Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 23, 2013 at 11:55 am

Yoga Day Participant sure needs to do more downward dogs and enjoy some meditative time to deal with that snotty edge! I enjoy knowing about astronomy and the science of the solstices and equinoxes and that doesn't stop me from engaging in nice community events. None of it has anything to do with being on a pedestal. How does Yoga Day's yoga mat fit on their pedestal? Tiny mat?

Posted by Yoga Day Participant, a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Cheer up Palo Altans. I only commented in the first place because I don't understand the point of previous posters criticizing an event that they probably weren't involved with. Organizing a yoga class for a Friday evening on the commercially recognized solstice seems more practical than 10pm on a Thursday night. I have excellent balance, so I only need a small mat for my small pedestal. ;)