BUY GIFT CARD     |     REGISTER     
Love Invoke
Love Invoke

'Yoga doesn't care if you fall'

kye2-1

Kye Hawkins explains how yoga provides her with a rare opportunity to play like a 7-year-old.

Blog by Kye [Yoga junkie, former gymnast, education nonprofit rockstar]

During a recent Vinyasa Flow class, our instructor suggested that we attempt hand stands in the middle of the room. "I love practicing hand stands,” she said. “You know that every time you're going to fall. Every. Single. Time. But you just keep kicking up and trying again."

This represents an important aspect of yoga that keeps me coming back to my mat several times a week: the opportunity to playfully challenge myself without judgment or consequence.

I was a gymnast for most of my adolescence, and while the sport taught me many things, one of the most important skills gymnastics taught me is the ability to challenge myself while considering it "play." To try something I've never tried before. To attempt a new skill that might be a little scary. To fall. To disregard that fall. And to get up and give it another go.

Yoga has reunited me with the opportunity to play -- and fall -- often.

In yoga, you don't give up on something just because you can't get it exactly right. As my instructor often says: "Yoga doesn't care if you fall." For the record, yoga also doesn't care if you're flexible. It doesn't care if you want to sit in child's pose the entire class, and it certainly doesn't care if you can do a headstand.

This practice provides the very rare opportunity for adults to play - something we probably don't get to do often enough in our grown-up lives. When else are you given space - both mentally and physically - to take your body, turn it upside-down, test your balance on your hands, head, or forearms, and to fall down, without anyone judging you or even thinking twice?

For this reason, when I walk into a yoga studio, I'm giddy with anticipation for the new balances I might attempt, the chances I'll have to go upside-down, the inversions I might hold for a few more seconds than last time, and the opportunities to twist my body in ways I previously thought impossible.  There's something extremely special about a tiny room that gives you the courage to play like a seven-year-old amongst a group of adult strangers.

So to anyone who is hesitant to try the "scary" things in yoga (or to try yoga in the first place), stop worrying and play! And completely lose your balance, come right back to your mat and try again. Because that, to me, is what yoga is all about.

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.


Tags:

Finding a new yoga home

kye2-1

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.


Tags: