Hundreds of yogis practicing their lotus pose, sun salutation, and meditation gathered in Jerusalem’s Valley of Ben-Hinnom on Thursday to celebrate International Yoga Day.
Participants engaged in collective yoga, sound healing, and meditation in Hebrew and Arabic, as part of an event organized by the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Schusterman Foundation.
701 colorful yoga mats were laid out on the grass against the backdrop of the Old City walls, forming one big art piece called “The Big Dream – Jerusalem 2048”. The mats were quite literally “dreamed up” by Jerusalem residents who were asked to imagine the view outside their window in 30 years.
Sharonna Karni Cohen, founder of Tel Aviv startup Dreame.me, took these “dreams” to local artist Amit Trainin, a professor at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, to transform the inspiration from hundreds of individual answers to a united piece of artwork that envisions the future of Jerusalem.
The giant artwork was then graphically sliced into hundreds of pieces, which were numbered and printed on yoga mats.
“The Big Dream is about turning our ideas into a powerful visual reminder of what we want to achieve on a personal and collective level. Through yoga, we find the balance between dreams and reality,” said Karni Cohen, who founded Dreame in 2014 to help people commission original artwork from their dreams.
The yoga mats were flown in by Cathay Pacific, a Hong Kong-based airline that opened a direct flight to Israel last year.
“This unique artistic project at Ben-Hinnom Valley in Jerusalem shows, with great talent, our residents’ dreams for the future of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. It is not by accident that it is said of Jerusalem that it is a city that unites – my personal dream for Jerusalem is that we will continue to see connections between people, communities, cultures and dreams,” said Ariela Rejwan, Deputy Director General and Director of the Society Culture and Sports Culture at the Jerusalem Municipality.
In an effort to further develop the Valley of Ben-Hinnom Park, the Jerusalem Development Authority said they are advancing cultural and recreational activities. As a result, Friday yoga practice has become a Jerusalem weekend tradition for residents of the city.
Last year, The Big Dream project took over Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, where a giant art installation pieced together from 1,500 yoga mats showcased three artists’ visions of Israel’s future.
Sponsored by the municipality and the Indian Embassy in Israel, the event included a variety of yoga classes for the public led by renowned teachers from India and Israel.