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Annual yoga tradition celebrates its first decade

Jaya Yoga's Yoga on the Roof has become a Fourth of July tradition in Scranton.

"It's just a really ethereal way to start the day," said Hilary Steinberg, owner of the studio in Clarks Summit. "There's a peace in the city ... there's not as much noise and we're up so high and with the breeze and with the music."

Steinberg helped lead around 100 yogis on the rooftop of the Electric City Parking Garage in Scranton for the 10th year. The Fourth of July event is a fundraiser for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic.

The morning started with a mindfulness meditation with Lisa Romano Rigau. Teacher Janelle Tench started the asanas off.

Steinberg, during her time to teach, asked the yogis to be in the moment.

"Unhurried. Unrushed. Just take another breath in," she said.

Carol Nelson Dembert, vice president of marketing for the Philharmonic’s board of directors, and Steinberg were brainstorming ideas to bring more exposure to the Philharmonic. When Steinberg lived in Los Angeles, rooftop yoga events were popular.

“The Philharmonic is so proud of this event. It not only raises funds, but it raises friends for the Philharmonic," said Dembert.

That first year, Steinberg was expecting 30 to 40 people to show up. They had 114. The second year it rained — 92 people still showed up. The event now averages around 150 yogis of all ages and all levels, some being exposed to the Philharmonic for the first time.

Steinberg grew up in Northeast Pennsylvania. She said it feels good to have created something that people now think of as a Fourth of July tradition.

"It's an honor to be a piece of that," she said.

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.