Meet Yogis at the IMA

Museum gardens, lawns, and galleries are a yoga playground.

“Point your toes toward the love,” Jole Kelley tells her students. It sounds like typical yoga-instructor speak, but she means it in a most literal sense. Kelley poses in front of Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture in a garden of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. A light breeze welcomes visitors to the grounds on this Saturday morning, and songbirds drown out the slight hum of Michigan Road traffic.

Twelve students lie on their mats in the grass, “working out the wiggles” as Kelley invites them to find stillness and to “come into the space.”

With every new season at the IMA, amateur and accomplished yogis alike gather for a six-week session with hour-long classes on Saturday mornings located somewhere around the museum’s grounds, gardens, or galleries. One day, the space could be the art and nature park; the next, before a painting by Dutch artist Jacco Olivier.

“Sometimes I’ve never been to the space before I teach, so I try to feed off the vibe, what it feels like (there). Some are more serious and sacred, other spaces seem just a little bit more playful,” says Kelley, who also teaches yoga at Invoke Studio.

Taylor Sitorius, an IMA curatorial assistant, says the classes fit with one of the museum’s goals: providing a holistic wellness service. “We’re able to use all of these beautiful spaces for meditative thought and peaceful contemplation.”