Next week marks the second annual International Day of Yoga. While a ‘World Yoga Day’ has been celebrated unofficially in some capacity for many years, it was not until the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, proposed the idea in 2014 that the United Nations General Assembly gave June 21st the official declaration. The first event last year was celebrated around the world and earned two Guinness World Records, one for the largest yoga class, which was taught by Prime Minister Modi himself and attracted some 35,985 people; and one for the largest number of nationalities to participate in a single yoga event: an amazing 84 nations.
I don’t think we’re going to see anything of that magnitude here in Toronto, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do to participate in this amazing day. Here are 10 ways to celebrate International Yoga Day in Toronto.
1. Wake up early and head to the InterContinental Toronto Centre for a massive open-house yoga class in partnership with the Yoga Network of Canada. Event starts at 7 am and all attendees will get a free yoga mat. More info here.
2. Participate in one of Lolë’s White Tour On the Road events, which I have listed on my post about free yoga events in Toronto
3. Join the Lululemon Toronto team at Wychwood Barns for the second edition of Yoga Rouge. The free event will feature music from Sarah MacRae, a guided meditation from Toronto yoga instructor Tasha Rooke and a 75 minute yoga practice led by Darcy Hagerman and Paria Mirazimi from Moksha Yoga. Doors open at 6pm and it’s BYOM. Registration required.
4. Get down(ward dog) for a good cause at One World OM, a charity fundraiser for the Healing Hearts Project, which provides water systems for underprivileged communities in India. The event at Daniels Spectrum features classes from inspirational local instructors including Annu Gaighu, guided meditations, drum circles and a selection of wellness-minded vendors. Early bird tickets are $20 and include a swag bag.
5. Take a class at the Beach Yoga Centre (1977 Queen St. E). The studio is offering free classes all day, but registration is required.
6. Join Innergy Corporate Yoga for a free yoga class at Trinity Bellwoods Park from 6:45pm to 8pm. Apparently there will be a surprise from Fresh on Crawford! #Omnomnom!
7. Also at Trinity Bellwoods, learn more about the Chakras at GirlTribe Toronto’s Chakra Exploration featuring Catherine Cowan of the Holistic Way. 7-9pm. Info here.
8. Take a class at that studio you’ve had your eye on. Most places offer special promotions for new students, so why not use International Day of Yoga as your excuse to get on the mat! If a studio is not in your budget or not your preference, light some candles, put on some music (I’m digging Moby’s new free ambient mix lately) and roll out your mat at home.
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9. Combine your celebration with Summer Solstice, which falls on June 20 this year. The Junction Summer Solstice Festival is celebrating a few days earlier on the 18th, with Breathe Yoga performing Open Air Yoga at noon and offering a free class in studio at 2pm.
10. Since we’re talking about the weekend now, there’s also OmT.O. happening on June 19 which features ALL DAY YOGA for FREE in the Distillery District. Not quite International Day of Yoga, not quite Summer Solstice, but a perfect way to honour both while treating yourself to a day of mind, body and soul.
Did I miss anything? Tell me how you’re celebrating International Day of Yoga in Toronto in the comments below. I’m planning to roll out my mat at a bunch of these events and hope to see you there!
Photo from OmT.O.’s Facebook page.