Indianapolis yoga gaining a positive flow
September is National Yoga Month, and the practice has picked up steam here in Indiana over the past few years. As Exhibit A, take the second annual Monumental Yoga event on the summer solstice in June, which drew an estimated 1,500 participants laying out their yoga mats on the closed-off streets surrounding Monument Circle.
Credit Cassie Stockamp for corralling area yoga instructors to pull off the logistics. “We’re the slow adopters,” Stockamp says, “but when we do adopt, we’re all in.” As the event has grown in just one year, she marvels at the communal energy and the sense of community it creates. “To see kids and old and young and newbies is just incredible.”
She hatched the idea after seeing a similar event close down Times Square in New York City. Yoga apparel maker lululemon helped provide its connections with the area studios to bring them together, and proceeds from the event benefited Mighty Lotus, a charity that works to bring yoga into the schools.
In addition to her job as president of the Athenaeum Foundation, Stockamp is an instructor herself. She teaches a free community class Mondays at noon at the YMCA at the Athenaeum, and on Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. in the heart of Eagle Creek Park, you can find her teaching a class for Peach Through Yoga.
The Foundation’s sponsorship of the event makes sense, she says, because of the “sound mind, sound body” ethic that the German free thinkers adopted when establishing the building on Mass Ave.
So as interest continues to pique around Indy, for those of us who’ve yet to strike a pose, what’s yoga all about?
“Candidly, I always tell people that yoga is not about the poses,” Stockamp says. “It’s about learning how to be mindful and present and how to calm your mind.” She explains that the ancient yogis did the poses so that they could sit in that strong, upright position and meditate. “So we Westerners have it a little messed up.”
In that vein, Stockamp often talks about her rigid German background as contributing to her feeling disconnected from her body. “When you do yoga,” she says, “you start to sense, you start to trust your instincts.” Concepts like flow and alignment should supersede a need for perfection and competition. “I have a bunch of guys who take this class I teach, and they’re working too hard,” she says. The benefits of building strength and endurance in addition to the solid mental aspect, especially for those dealing with post traumatic stress, have contributed to yoga’s gradual adoption as part of hospitals’ wellness programs.
So, just how do you get started? Stockamp offers this advice:
- It needs to be convenient. You need to find a place that’s accessible and the class time that’s accessible to you.
- Find a good teacher you like. “There are so many different teachers, different styles and different studios that it takes a little bit of time to figure out that right combination.
- Just try it. You can find free community classes throughout the area. “I’ve told people that if you don’t like it, that’s OK,” Stockamp says. “Just find that thing you love to keep moving. Our bodies were designed to move.”
Finding your center
Ready to get started? You can find these highly rated area studios on the List. Also, check with highly rated gyms and workout centers for yoga programs.
- All People Yoga Center, 1724 E. 86th St., Indianapolis
- Invoke Studio, 970 Ft. Wayne Ave., Indianapolis
- Inner Peace Yoga Center, 5038 E. 56th St., Indianapolis
- Pilates Indy Inc., 1001 Broad Ripple Ave., Indianapolis
- CITYOGA, 2442 Central Ave., Indianapolis
- HTL Yoga Center, 14400 Clay Terrace Blvd., Carmel
- Peaceful Heart Yoga Studio, 550 E. Jefferson St., Franklin