WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Ian Rosenbluth arched his back and reached for the sky in his first-ever yoga class, accompanied by more than 500 people attending Westchester County's premier outdoor mega yoga event Wednesday on Court Street in White Plains.
The event was put together by the county's Mental Health Association with the support of nearly 40 Westchester yoga studios. Celebrity yoga teacher and White Plains resident Gwen Lawrence led the hour-long class, which was customized for people of all experience levels. While Rosenbluth, of White Plains, was a novice practitioner, Sylvia Samiltoa-Baker, of Ossining, teaches at New York Sports Club and is president of the Yoga Teaching Association.
Rosalie Maiole, of Armonk, practices regularly at Bikram Yoga Studio in Larchmont. "It's addicting," she said. "The more you go, the easier it gets."
Earlier in the day, Maiole, a social studies teacher at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, came across a similar outdoor yoga event in Times Square while walking around the city. Previous events in Times Square and Central Park drew 5,000 and 10,000 people respectively, according to the MHA.
MHA Event Manager Connie Moustakas said her organization had hoped to draw about 500 people and was happy it exceeded that number for Westchester's first such event.
"I wasn't sure when I saw the heat index, but I'm so overwhelmed by the support from everybody," Moustakas said.
Rosenbluth may still have a lot to learn when it comes to yoga, but was happy to get started on such a grand scale.
"I think it's great they were able to draw such a large crowd," he said. "I just had to try it out."