by KRISTEN SENZ
At least two local yoga studios closed during the pandemic, even as surging stress made finding a place to reflect and recalibrate increasingly important, says Samantha “Sam” Eibling.
That’s why she and Eryn Blair created the Bloomington Yoga Collective (BYC), a downtown space where local yoga instructors and practitioners can connect with each other and themselves.
“For us, this is a passion project and a way to support our community and our instructors,” says Eibling, who also co-owns downtown kitchen supply store Goods for Cooks with her husband and brother.
Located on the first floor of the Wicks Building on the north side of the downtown Square, the BYC studio is heated to 85°F—a temperature somewhere between a Bikram or “hot yoga” studio and a standard studio.
But it is intended to be figuratively warm as well, say Eibling and Blair, accommodating a variety of people and styles of yoga practice, without pretense or judgement.
To emphasize yoga’s contemplative and introspective aspects, Eibling and Blair chose minimalistic décor for the 1,375-square-foot studio space and opted to forgo mirrors.
“We just hope you can feel better, mentally and physically, when you walk out of this space,” says Eibling, who began practicing yoga in 2003.
Thirteen instructors, including Eibling and Blair, currently offer yoga classes at BYC.
“We have a 40-year age range in our teachers,” says Blair, who also teaches yoga and modern dance at Indiana University. “Instead of a traditional bio, we asked each of our instructors to provide a personal mission statement” for BYC’s website, Blair notes, to help students select classes.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, attendance at in-person classes requires proof of vaccination, and students are allowed to remove face coverings only while at their mats. Additionally, classes are currently capped at 50% capacity, and many have virtual participation options.
In addition to yoga classes, Eibling and Blair plan to schedule regular talks and workshops in the studio space. The first event featured author, brain researcher, and stroke survivor Jill Bolte Taylor at a free talk on Sunday, December 5, based on her new book, Whole Brain Living. Nikki Meyers, founder of Yoga of 12-Step Recovery, also participated.
“Our hope is to truly be a community space,” says Eibling.
For more information about classes and events, visit bloomingtonyogaco.com.