By day Mindi Epstein is senior vice president of a large not-for-profit organization in Indianapolis. The minute she leaves the office, she sheds the work attire and finds comfort on her yoga mat. Several months ago, a student in a yoga class she was teaching, planted the seed for Mindi to open her own studio. A series of coincidences and serendipitous events led her to a perfect location, and this summer, Main Street Yoga in Indianapolis was born.
How did you come to yoga?
I have been a committed cyclist and runner for years. One day a fellow cyclist commented that I was always moving forward in my sports and would benefit from doing yoga so I could move my body in different directions. This had never occurred to me – I thought I had been doing good things for my body. I purchased "Yoga for Athletes" with Rodney Yee. Initially, all I could do was watch the DVD and try to figure out which hand went where. Once I could make sense of the poses, I began to feel the benefits of the practice. I have not looked back since.
What prompted you to open your own studio?
I love yoga and the yoga way of life. I wanted to reach people who struggle with body issues, or self-confidence and self-acceptance, or who want to find peace in their lives. I know what yoga did for me and I wanted to share it with others so that they, too, could experience harmony in their lives.
What is your vision for Main Street Yoga?
I opened Main Street Yoga to make yoga available to all by removing as much fear as possible of walking into a studio. That is why I selected the name "Main Street." Yes, Main Street is our physical address, but Main Street as a name is so regular and unassuming. If I had given the studio a name in Sanskrit, I feel that the name itself would have intimidated people. It creates a dividing line between those who understand the name and those who don't.
My vision comes from my own experience. I spent over 10 years practicing yoga in the privacy of my home because the thought of entering a studio was terrifying to me. I thought everyone would know each other and they would all be “good” at doing yoga. I am not a shy person, so if it took me that long to muster up the courage to come out of the living room and into the studio, I knew I was not alone.
You’re a senior VP for a not-for-profit, what does owning your own studio and teaching yoga do for you that your career might not?
At my studio, I can fulfill my vision and react immediately to a situation that requires my attention. Similarly, as a teacher I can touch my students in a way that being in senior management does not allow me to do. So much time is spent in meetings and administrative work that I feel removed from the boots-on-the-ground activities. In my own studio, I find pure joy in working with our students and helping them achieve their potential. At last, I feel as if I am living true to myself.
For those of us who are busy and might only have 15 minutes for ourselves, what are a couple poses you recommend for relaxation? And for energizing?
For relaxation, I love Child’s Pose with the arms alongside the body, hands upturned and beside the feet. I feel so safe, like I am in an egg, when curled up like that.
For energizing, I love Sun Salutations and Half Moon pose. For courage, I have been known to strike Warrior II on each side in the privacy of my office before heading out to a meeting!
What is your favorite pre-workout snack?
I generally do not eat before doing yoga. If I have at least 2 hours prior to practicing, I enjoy a banana and coconut water.
How do you transition out of yoga back into a busy life?
Pranayama with extended exhalation helps with the transition, and I listen to soft music while driving to aid in the transition. There is nothing like a long line of traffic at a stop light to shake oneself back to the reality of daily life, but breathing and music help soften that transition.
Favorite lucy item(s) and why?
I am crazy about lucy’s capris. They are form fitting but soft, and they move beautifully with the body. I also love – and I mean LOVE – that dog hair and lint are easily removed in the wash. There are other capris on the market that seem to actually attract the hair. As a pet owner, I have spent too much time picking blond dog hair off of tights…until I found lucy.