Lifestyle

Record Crowd of Yogis Practice at Annual ‘Om Street’ in West Hartford

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton
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The seventh annual ‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle’ outdoor yoga practice was held Saturday, July 22, 2017, in West Hartford Center.

By Ronni Newton

People of all ages and abilities gathered in West Hartford Center Saturday morning for “Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle,” the free 75-minute yoga class sponsored by West Hartford Yoga (WHY) that has become one of the town’s signature summer activities.

LaSalle Road was closed to traffic from Farmington Avenue south to Arapahoe, as yoga mats filled the space – and then some. Some latecomers set up their mats on the sidewalk.

The diverse crowd, officially estimated by West Hartford Police at 2,500, included people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities – grandmothers and grandfathers, toddlers and teens, expert yogis and others who practiced in chairs. New to the event this year was an American Sign Language interpreter.

WHY owner Barbara Ruzansky led the 75-minute all-level practice, with assistance from more than 40 other yoga studios and gyms from all throughout the state. Instructors helped with demonstrations, and walked through the crowd gently correcting positions.

“It’s just wonderful,” Ruzansky said as she looked out over the crowd as the class was about to begin. “It makes me so happy to see people together on this joyful, happy morning.”

The event has been steadily growing in popularity – increasing from about 2,000 last year and 1,800 the previous year to this year’s record 2,500 participants. “It’s just a thrill to see so many people coming together on the mat,” Ruzansky said.

Accompanying the practice and setting the peaceful mood was live music – on drums, gongs, and the didgeridoo – courtesy of Cosmic Hue, under the direction of Craig Norton who has been Om Street’s musical director since the event began.

The practice ended with a “Metta,” a loving kindness meditation – the yogis in Lotus Pose, also known as Padmasana, with their eyes closed.

Ruzansky ask everyone to think to themselves: “May I be filled with kindness. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be healthy.” Then she said to offer those thoughts silently to a loved one, and to someone who may be struggling: “May you be filled with kindness. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be healthy.”

Finally, Ruzansky said, “Let us extend this meditation out into the world. May all beings be filled with kindness. May all beings be peaceful and at ease. May all being be safe.”

At 9:15 a.m., LaSalle Road seemed to vibrate, as all chanted three “Om’s” in unison.

“Namaste,” said Ruzansky. “Namaste,” answered the crowd.

“It was wonderful,” said West Hartford resident Leslie Carpenter, who regularly practices yoga but was attending her first Om Street event. “I was amazed at how silent everyone stayed during the quiet part, especially with 2,500 people,” she said.

“I loved when we lay back and were looking at the sky. [Yoga] is such a different experience when you’re in nature,” Carpenter added.

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‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Yoga owner Barbara Ruzansky. ‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Om Street: Yoga on LaSalle.” West Hartford, CT. July 22, 2017. Photo credit: Amy Melvin

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2 Comments

  • I would like to give a shout out to the Town of West Hartford’s Police, Public Works and Parking crews who arrived on site in the wee early hours to make sure LaSalle Road was ready for 2500 yogi enthusiasts.

    Public Works crews swept the street so that it was clean enough for folks to lay down their yoga mats. Parking crews posted signs on the curbs starting Friday night to let motorists know that LaSalle Road would be closed on Saturday morning. They also cleaned the sidewalks and the edges of the street in case the sweeper missed anything left behind after a busy Friday night.

    Police Officers arrived early too to move any cars that were left behind. They blocked the roadway at both ends of LaSalle and kept us all safe so we could be totally present and in the moment for the 75-minute practice. THANK YOU to all!

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