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At This New Year's Eve party, 'You Shut Up'

By: for USA Today on Jan. 3, 2014
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Gauravani and other bhakti singers are regular guests at the events of New York City's Jivamukti Yoga Center.

Here comes 2014! Three! … Two! … Mum.

While hundreds of thousands of revelers cheer, shout and yell in the new year in Times Square, hundreds of New Yorkers will gather not far away to pass the waning hours of 2013 without a word.

They'll be quietly observing a 25-year tradition at Jivamukti Yoga, which opens its doors to people who like to spend New Year's Eve reflecting, meditating, crafting resolutions, maybe doing a headstand, all in "Auld Lang" silence.

It's a year-end bash with no pressure to mingle, no need to bring anything, no drunken regrets, and no small talk — or big talk, either.

"The only thing that we ask," Jivamukti Yoga co-founder Sharon Gannon says, "is that you shut up."

If that sounds like a rather muted way to celebrate, participants say it's a refreshing one — a way to go out but look inward, and end the year on a note of mental tranquility.

Drawing on a long history of silent meditation in yoga, the event certainly isn't the only venue for people who are less interested in spirits than spirituality on New Year's Eve. Many churches hold reverent services on Dec. 31; the custom holds particular resonance for many black churches, where Watch Night observances commemorate the Dec. 31, 1862, services at which congregants awaited word that the Emancipation Proclamation would take effect.

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