Haze, what haze?
Never mind that the view of Marina Bay Sands from the Marina Barrage was almost obscured by a veil of smog at about 3pm yesterday.
More than 700 people still turned up in brightly-coloured tights and sportswear as they twisted themselves into human pretzels as music played. This was a show of their passion for the latest exercise craze and yesterday's mass yoga event #OmTogether.
The free event was organised by Stretch City Singapore, a social media platform that connects yoga lovers.
Even before the session began, some yogis (slang for "yoga lovers") were already warming up and doing handstands and splits.
No one seemed bothered by the haze and almost all seemed to be in good spirits as they chatted, put on their broadest smiles and spread out their yoga mats.
The two-hour session, which was led by three instructors, started at 5pm.
A quick poll indicated that only about 20 were first-timers.
Participants were taken through a series of yoga exercises, which seemed to get progressively complex and tougher, and most seemed adept at completing the moves.
Some even got up to help others when it came to the more difficult moves such as the handstand.
Founder of Stretch City and Taiwan-born international model Liv Lo said she was heartened by the turnout.
"We hope it will get people buzzing and talking about yoga," she said. "It's more than an exercise. It's a lifestyle."
But she said she was concerned about the three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) that was 113 at 3pm. Air quality is considered unhealthy when PSI readings range from 101 to 200.
"In addition to the requisite safe plan, we also had more than a dozen qualified instructors carefully monitoring the participants. "But the sky cleared up. And from 5 to 7pm, we had beautiful clear sky," she said.
Among the participants were a couple who brought along their 10-month-old scarlet macaw.
Said the wife who wanted to be known only as Sharon: "Some of our friends invited us to join them here. We decided to bring our bird out to accompany us.
"We've been doing yoga for a year and we love it."
Fellow yogi Fiona Cai, 31, who works in the banking industry, agreed.
"Practising yoga with this many people who are united and passionate produces an energy. I wouldn't have missed it, not even with the haze today," she said.
But what if it was a PSI reading of 400?
"Okay, then maybe not," she said with a laugh.
That would be stretching it.
This article was first published on October 20, 2014.
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