Thousands of yoga enthusiasts stretched their arms in a busy hotspot marking the summer solstice at a free long day in the middle of Times Square, Manhattan in New York.

A large exercise class was held by yoga instructor Bikram, with participants coming from all over the world who had gathered to celebrate summer solstice, the longest day of the year and the start of summer.

Tim Tompkins of the Times Square Alliance said: We're trying to create a little ocean or perhaps just a little lake or just a drop of serenity in the midst of all this madness.It's an attempt, on the longest day of the year, when the sun is shining brightest, to tap into that energy and have it help carry us through the rest of the year.

The event organizers had also streamed it live on their website for the people who could not attend the yoga session.

Summer solstice comes from the Latin meaning the ‘sun stands still’ and is the day when the sun appears to stop moving north - and starts heading south again.