Doing the Sun Salutation Closer to the Sun (Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan)

I’ll admit, I’m a morning person.  I know that’s one strike against me in my quest to morph into a real New Yorker.  But sometimes morning has its advantages, and on Wednesday and Friday mornings from July through September, being a morning person is utterly glorious.

I arrived just after 6 a.m. at 45 Rockefeller Plaza, walked past the enormous Richard Lorenz painting in the street level lobby, into the elevator and rode up to the third floor reception where more art work, lots of marble, Bauhaus furniture and a charming receptionist welcomed me to The Sports Club/LA (even though we are most definitely in Manhattan).

It was nearly time for Yoga on the Rock.

We gathered up our complimentary towels and yoga mats, and Angel led us back down the elevator, past the Lorenz and out to the plaza.  When we arrived at 30 Rock(efeller Plaza), we were greeted by Luis, the exceptionally perky and enthusiastic “overnight operations manager” who took us up to the 67th floor observation deck, stopping to share a few tour-guide tidbits with us along the way.  So you know, this is the same 67th floor observation deck that tourists LOOK UP at and queue up for, but they don’t get to see it at sunrise.

Just about everyone there, other than me, is a regular attendee of Angel’s roof yoga class but even the regulars were excited by the view as we set up our mats facing the Empire State Building.  As the sun rose, light reflected off the windows of the iconic building and the 102-story monolith mesmerized us as it appeared to have been spun from gold.  The morning air was sharp and clear, and you could see the skyscrapers, bridges and rivers as the gods see them, from the hushed quiet of the heavens looking down.

And then there was yoga.

Sometimes it’s good to be a morning person.

Addendum:  I made a return visit to Yoga on the Rock with Ari Burling, architectural photographer extraordinaire, on Wednesday, September 22 when the sunrise sky was cloud-filled.  Therefore the pictures you see don’t quite show you what I experienced during Angel’s Friday, September 16 class, about which this post was written.  Please know that Yoga on the Rock on this partly cloudy morning was just as wondrous a treat as it was during clear skies, only this time with a different “flavor.”  Just as lemon sorbet and coffee ice-cream create contrasting taste sensations, so do 67th floor clear-sky sunrise Sun Salutations and cloudy ones.  While yoga practice makes you conscious of your breathing, in both clouds and sun, Yoga on the Rock is a breathtakingly wonderful NYC rooftop experience to be savored and enjoyed with whatever magnificent skies Mother Nature offers on any given morning.


5 thoughts on “Doing the Sun Salutation Closer to the Sun (Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan)

  1. The class is open to members of the gym as part of their membership, and to guests for a $25 fee. I don’t think many people know about the amazing opportunity to do yoga on the Top of the Rock otherwise, I agree, Angel’s class would be swamped! Both times I attended this terrific class, there were only about 10 participants so we had plenty of room. Come to NYC next summer and check it out! You’ll love it.

  2. Fantastic article!

    Is that yoga open to anyone in NYC? I doubt it…how would they manage the crowds? 🙂

  3. Of course, in San Diego, we get to do outdoor yoga all year long, which is lovely, but no way so high up in the sky. Special treat in the summer for New Yorkers who are cooped up the rest of the year.

  4. Leslie,

    Greetings fellow morning person! What spectacular views! Can you ever return to indoor yoga after that?

    Thanks for sharing the beauty of your experience.


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