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Yoga Al Fresco, Courtesy of EcoPel

Under clear skies and a tall canopy of leaves, more than 60 Pelhamites took part in a blissful hour of yoga and music on the grass in front of the gazebo at the Daronco Town House.

The practice on June 21 was the annual salute to the summer solstice sponsored by the Environmental Coalition of the Pelhams, or EcoPel.

The June solstice is the longest day of the year and marks the onset of summer. In December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed June 21 as International Yoga Day to raise worldwide awareness of the many benefits of practicing the discipline of breath control, meditation, and specific bodily postures.

With the soothing sounds of vocalist Ann Casapini and guitarist Arthur Rotfeld punctuated by the periodic honking and squeaking of Metro North trains, participants warmed up with some simple breathing exercises and stretches.

They then went through a series of lunges, down dogs, planks, and other poses that make up the sequences known as sun salutations, and ended with the meditative relaxation state of “savasana.”

“Part of yoga practice every day is making the connection with the sun and Mother Earth. Doing it out in nature on the solstice is extra powerful,” said EcoPel President Sydney MacInnis, who led the yoga along with two other local instructors, Elizabeth Casario and Mayuri Gonzalez.

The event raised more than $1,200 to support the activities of EcoPel. The next solstice yoga practice will take place in December to celebrate the shortest day of the year.

(Photo by Thomas Bricker)