Kye Hawkins, a newcomer to Indianapolis, writes about her journey to find a new yoga studio and her first time at Invoke.
Blog by Kye [Yoga junkie, Indy newcomer, education reform rockstar]
I’m fairly new to yoga, and I’m even newer to Indianapolis. I began practicing yoga almost exactly a year ago while in graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The studio, Amara Yoga & Arts, was a welcoming place that I grew to love during my time in Urbana-Champaign. With their welcoming attitude and challenging classes, the instructors and yoga community at Amara fueled my obsession with yoga.
So I was a bit nervous about how my yoga practice would fare in my transition to Indianapolis. When I moved here in October, I quickly began researching yoga studios in hopes of finding a place similar to Amara. It didn’t take long for me to learn that things are a bit different in Indianapolis — in particular, there is an abundance of hot yoga classes. Despite my initial discomfort with heated classes, I decided to give them a chance.
When a friend invited me to join her in taking Cheryl Milton’s Saturday Vinyasa 1.5-hour Intensive class at Invoke, I was excited (read: giddy) to try out a new studio. It was a rainy, dreary Saturday and as I sloshed in the door, rain boots squeaking, Cheryl greeted me with a smile and a cheerful hello. She welcomed me to Invoke, asked if it was my first time there, and handed over some forms for me to fill out. She gave me a quick tour of the spacious studio, equipped with two yoga rooms, cubbies for coats and shoes, and (very clean!) bathrooms. I felt immediately comfortable in Invoke’s light-filled space.
The class was aptly named – quite intense indeed. But not too intense. Honestly, it was just perfect. There were people of all ages and various levels in the room, but I’m convinced that everyone was able to find the right level of challenge throughout the flow. It had been a long time since I had taken a 1.5-hour class, and it felt good to have plenty of time to experiment with new positions and push myself.
We began with various sun salutations, and then moved through lots of positions with long holds. We often started with the basics, but Cheryl always offered instruction on ways to further challenge ourselves. She gave hands-on adjustments at appropriate times (For example, I needed to get deeper in a runner’s lunge at one point and was rightfully corrected). And we even got to do some partner handstand work, which was a fun way to engage with a yogi-neighbor. I surprisingly enjoyed the heat; it was warm, but not overwhelmingly hot.
Overall, Invoke delivered everything I hoped for and more on my first-time visit. I left feeling even more excited to settle into my new home in Indianapolis, having found such an inspiring place to be my yoga-loving self.
Hawkins manages programs, communications and member engagement for the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, a network of city-based organizations promoting innovation and reform in K-12 education.