And just like that, we’re 2/3 through January. I had a lovely winter break full of napping and Netflix and then I jumped back in my semester routine of classes, teaching, dissertation work, seeing patients, and traveling for residency interviews. I’m very aware that I should be soaking up my last semester of my PhD program, but I’m also VERY aware that the next couple weeks will bring several life changes as Husband and I learn where we match for residency and make some big decisions about where we want to live and how we want to organize our lives. There are many parts of this “not knowing” that are exciting and full of possibilities and other parts that are draining and discouraging and stressful. Throughout our entire time in graduate school, Husband and I have both tried to regularly practice self-care as a way to manage stress and live in the moment, instead of always counting down until the next thing.
As I’m sure you can guess from the title, one of the things that has really helped me manage stress this past year has been going to yoga classes. I know that “mindfulness” has been a bit of a buzzword the last couple of years, but I don’t think I ever quite understood what it meant until this past year. For me, mindfulness is this idea of freezing each moment and examining it from all angles. For example, it’s now 1:33pm in Indianapolis. Instead of using this moment to count down until my next meeting or to scroll through my social media feed, I can mentally walk around the minute and decide how I want to spend it. I’ve decided to spend the time doing a body scan and learn how I’m feeling right now. Because of my body scan, I realized that I’m sitting with my shoulders hunched over and that I’m hungry. I can now adjust my posture to avoid future discomfort and I can take the time ask myself if I am hungry because I am stress eating or if I am hungry because I am bored or if I am hungry because I missed breakfast. I can think through if I want to eat free day-old donuts from the shared campus kitchen or leave the building to explore my dining hall options or spend $20 to order office delivery from Panera. None of these options are bad, but being mindful of how I’m feeling and what I want helps me to make decisions based on logic instead of impulse. I try to apply this mindfulness framework when attending meetings, engaging in tough conversations, or meeting with patients. It helps me feel as if I have more control over my day and helps keep me from feeling like my life is passing me by.
I am DEFINITELY a beginner with this and am actively reading and learning more, but ALL of this long intro means that yoga has helped me improve my mindfulness. And has helped me with movement and posture and sleep and feeling grounded in the midst of a very busy lifestyle. I have tried MANY yoga studios in the 9 years that I have lived in Indianapolis, but I am sharing the 3 studios that I keep going back to over and over again. I adore the owners and their missions to help the people of Indianapolis and beyond reach their wellness goals. It’s not always easy to go against the grain of a fast-paced culture and to encourage people to slow down and smell the eucalyptus, but these women are doing it well. Happy stretching!
- Embarque, SoBro
Embarque is this cozy “urban sanctuary” that is conveniently located a block away from my house. I started attending classes here because of the focus on supported, restorative body work. I’ve learned so much about how to use props and how to adapt poses to work for my body. I really enjoy the evening classes that help regulate my breathing and get rid of any lingering tension before going to bed. Alyssa, the owner, leads by example through regularly sharing about her own wellness journey and offering a variety of tools, such as retreats with horses, Thai massage, and energy healing to help find the right fit for everyone.
2. Breathing Space, NorthEast
Breathing Space has this amazing concept of “paying what you can” for classes. I LOVE this idea of paying for classes by donation and believe that it makes yoga accessible for so many people who might not be able to afford it. As a full time student, yoga is definitely a luxury, but the customizable pricing has made it possible for me to attend many classes throughout my time in school. The studio has a huge range of class options ranging from basic beginner options to advanced flow classes. Kelsey, the owner, has met just about every member of my family by now because my sister and I love to introduce yoga to our visiting guests.
3. Blooming Life Yoga, Zionsville
Blooming Life is SO warm and cozy and I feel as if I’ve taken a little tropical retreat every time that I enter the doors. Because it’s a bit of a drive to get there, I usually go to Blooming Life for special events, such as couples yoga classes, MLK peace days, or Valentine’s sips and sweets parties. Lily, the founder, seems to always remember me, even if I only go a couple times a year and I often wish that I lived in Zionsville just so I could be part of the beautiful yoga community that seems to be thriving there.
Now you know my favorite yoga studios in Indianapolis. Each studio has their own version of discounts for new students, so be sure to check them out. What’s YOUR favorite studio in Indianapolis??