By AMANDA ARNOLD
NEW ALBANY — A morning of tranquility and peace can be found at Eternal Health Yoga, nestled in downtown New Albany.
“Yoga really gives the peace of mind and stillness of the mind. I feel totally focused,” said yoga teacher and student Kelly Morris.
Shelli Carpenter, director and owner of the Louisville-based Eternal Health Yoga, opened her second studio on Elm Street in New Albany. However, the demand for yoga in Southern Indiana was clear, so in the fall, she moved the studio to Market Street, right in the hustle and bustle of New Albany’s downtown.
“We also didn’t seem to have as much attention. The space here is bigger too, and we needed more space,” she said. “I like being down here and being part of the community. I like being among the other business owners, and all of the people who come here. That’s what yoga is. It’s the unifying practice, and we felt a little isolated where we were before.”
Carpenter said the response from the community has been very positive.
“We are still growing and getting the word out. It takes a bit to get the awareness out there, but it’s been great with businesses such as Jimmy’s Music Center downstairs and karate next door. We have a variety of other people and businesses around, which is great,” said Carpenter.
Morris, who lives in Louisville, is equally excited about the new space on Market Street.
“It’s beautiful. The sunlight is so warming and happy. Also, New Albany in general feels homey,” she said. “I like coming over here, and I’m excited that I get the opportunity to teach over here. The changes happening in New Albany as a town are exciting.”
Eternal Health Yoga in New Albany offers eight classes throughout the week. Carpenter explained that the yoga offered is mainly Hatha Yoga, Yin Yoga and Vinyasa. The Yin Yoga is a Taoist yoga that focuses on joint and connective tissue while Vinyasa is a flowing practice.
“All of the styles have the consistent goal to help people feel balanced, strong and happy,” said Carpenter.
Throughout years of practicing yoga, Carpenter has heard many successful stories from other students. For example, she has practiced alongside people finding peace with arthritis and a cancer patient who credited yoga for helping her through her illness.
“What I hear and experience is that people feel strong. It’s not just about the physical, but it’s a nice mental stabilizing practice,” she said. “It is very stress-relieving and uplifting. It helps you become more flexible and it’s good for the joints. It’s both physical and spiritual, and physically you have a bounce to your step,” added Carpenter, who found her love for yoga in the 1990s.
She recalled that her first experience with a yoga class felt natural and familiar, so she wanted to share it with others. For those timid of yoga, Carpenter invites all skill levels because “you start where you are.”
New Albany resident and educator Steven Rahe visited the Saturday morning class, which was his first yoga class in about a year.
“I love it. This is a really convenient location, and it’s a peaceful, bright space,” he said. “I think it’s needed here, and this is a fantastic opportunity. Also as an educator for young people, I think it’s great for focusing and is a learning strategy.”
In addition to the classes, the studio offers a rigorous 11-month certified teacher program that is registered with the National Yoga Alliance.
“We meet on weekends, and we have homework and practice in between. The students develop a strong foundation of what yoga means, and what it feels like to practice, and share with the self and others in healthy ways,” Carpenter said.
Students may also be interested in the yoga retreats. Soon, the studio may soon add yoga classes for the youth as well.
“We try to offer a variety of things. We help people realize yoga is a way of living and its not just an exercise class,” she said. “It’s a way of feeling whole and connected to community.”