Hundreds hit Circle for community yoga class

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Solstice means "standing of the sun." To mark the longest day and shortest night of the solar year, people from all over the city came to stand together and salute the sun outside in a free, first-of-its-kind in Indianapolis community event.

Yoga teachers say there is a bonus to being outside.

"There are traditional sun salutations, so you are saluting the sun, so being outdoors, you know, you are one with nature," said Amy Peddycord of Invoke Yoga Studio.

The city's top yoga instructors took turns leading the crowd through sun salutations. Dozens more provided adjustments as the crowd flowed through popular poses like downward dog.

Cassie Stockamp modeled the event after one she saw in New York.

"We hope people start to realize there is a thriving strong yoga community here in Indianapolis and it's a wonderful practice," Stockamp said.

Part of the goal is to expose yoga to people who don't know what yoga is.

"It's not a religion. People think you have to be flexible to do yoga and as you can see from today, there were all walks of life that came on their lunch hour and come from wherever and anybody can do it," said Andrea Ballard, who has taught yoga for 15 years.

Anne Marie Tiernon joined in, saluting the sun while balancing in tree pose. She was sweating, but at 83 degrees, it was cooler than most hot yoga classes.

Plus, there was an interesting mix of participants, including kids practicing with their parents and learning the lingo.

Charlie Ballard is eight years old. He lives in Fishers and he proudly showed off his tree pose.

The were adult men there, too, proving time and again yoga is not just a girl thing.

"If it's a girl thing, it's the hardest thing I've ever done. Real men definitely do yoga," Mike Markus said.

The summer solstice is considered the doorway to the second half of the year and this inaugural event was a chance to stand on the threshold together.