More than 12,000 expected to practice yoga in Times Square

More than 12,000 yogis are expected to show up in New York's Times Square for seven free yoga classes throughout the day on Wednesday, June 21st. With downward-facing dogs and sun salutations, they're celebrating the 15th annual Solstice in Times Square. This year's theme is "Mind Over Madness Yoga."

Tim Tompkins, president of Times Square Alliance and co-founder of the event says they chose the theme in response to recent violent events around the world.

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International Yoga Day honored across the globe
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International Yoga Day honored across the globe
People participate in a yoga class during an annual Solstice event in the Times Square district of New York, U.S., June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People practice yoga on 1500 yoga mats, printed with an artwork and placed together to form the artwork, during an event marking International Yoga Day, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Israel June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs yoga on International Yoga Day in Lucknow, India June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs yoga on International Yoga Day in Lucknow, India June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People perform yoga during a four-day long camp by yoga guru Baba Ramdev ahead of International Yoga day in Ahmedabad, India, June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Amit Dave TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
TAIZHOU, CHINA - JUNE 21: Women practice yoga at a lotus pond in Tiande Lake on the International Yoga Day on June 21, 2017 in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
People take part in the 15th annual Times Square yoga event celebrating the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, during classes in the middle of Times Square on June 21, 2017 in New York. The event marked the international day of yoga. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
People take part in the 15th annual Times Square yoga event celebrating the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, during classes in the middle of Times Square on June 21, 2017 in New York. The event marked the international day of yoga. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
TAIZHOU, CHINA - JUNE 21: Women practice yoga at a lotus pond in Tiande Lake on the International Yoga Day on June 21, 2017 in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
Indian Armed Forces personnel take part in a yoga sesssion to mark International Yoga Day on the Indian Navy aircraft carrier INS Viraat anchored at the Mumbai harbour on June 21, 2017. Yoga has connected the world with India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said June 21 as he rolled his mat along with millions of others across the globe to celebrate the traditional practice. / AFP PHOTO / PUNIT PARANJPE (Photo credit should read PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Indian Armed Forces personnel take part in a yoga sesssion to mark International Yoga Day on the Indian Navy aircraft carrier INS Viraat anchored at the Mumbai harbour on June 21, 2017. Yoga has connected the world with India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said June 21 as he rolled his mat along with millions of others across the globe to celebrate the traditional practice. / AFP PHOTO / PUNIT PARANJPE (Photo credit should read PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Members of India's National Cadet Corps (NCC) take part in a mass yoga session to mark International Yoga Day on The Brigade Parade Grounds in Kolkata on June 21, 2017. Yoga has connected the world with India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said June 21 as he rolled his mat along with millions of others across the globe to celebrate the traditional practice. / AFP PHOTO / Dibyangshu SARKAR (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
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"A few weeks ago in Times Square a madman drove a car over people, right across the street," Tompkins says. "And, so, one of the themes this year is the yoga notion of ahimsa, nonviolence, do no harm because we see that all throughout the world, and we need a little more peace in the world."

The event is available live on Facebook and Twitter's Periscope. But some came from quite faraway to practice in Times Square. Luis Castro came from Mexico.

"I mean, to do yoga Times Square, I think the name of the event, like, 'Mind Over Madness' is completely appropriate because well, just looking around at everything that's going on, this is the center of the Western world. And to do yoga here is very symbolic, I believe."

The Solstice in Times Square: Mind Over Madness Yoga event ends with last class at 7:30 pm.

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