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A new perspective on New Year's resolutions

ErinGladstone

This year's resolutions got you down? Erin Gladstone offers some tips on how to conquer negative thinking and reach your goals.

Blog by Erin [Invoke yogini, Pilates student, all-around fitness lover]

While in downward-facing dog pose toward the front of a packed yoga class, it struck me how amazing the arms of every single person in the room looked from that upside-down perspective. This got me thinking about how it is so easy to be critical of ourselves, particularly around this time of the year, while others see our beauty.

We’re now almost a full month into the New Year, and many of us have made resolutions to make improvements in our lives. Some of us may have vowed to reduce the velocity of our butt jiggle by 15 percent in 2013, or eat only celery, ginger root, and drink apple cider vinegar until we shed that final ten pounds (ideally by the end of January, right?). Perhaps we will do 500 crunches every night, run seven miles a day, or complete two-a-days at the gym, just to get back into the swing of things.

Many resolutions cause us to be harsh, and often downright cruel, to our bodies. They lend themselves to behavior that contradicts the yogic principles we practice on the mat: patience, acceptance, and persistence. We set ourselves up for failure by focusing on the outcome, rather than the process. We become unrealistic, and by mid-February, many resolutions return to being pipe dreams as the daily grind regains control.

Don’t let this happen. As you work toward your resolutions of 2013,  commit to developing or rekindling healthy habits that are sustainable, and treat your body kindly. So you consumed more than 37 dozen cookies over the holiday season (I know I did, and they were totally delicious) and got a little too festive in lieu of your regular workout routine. Accept it, but don’t overcompensate via a workout so intense you are 30 minutes late to work the following day because your legs are so sore it took you that long to walk from the parking lot to your office. Instead, treat yourself to a workout that will make you feel amazing and cause you to keep coming back for more (yoga and Pilates are both excellent options if you aren’t sure where to start).

And look at yourself through a different perspective. Don’t hone in on what you want to change, but focus on your strengths that you want to build upon. If you need to, bust out downward-facing dog in front of a mirror and check out those guns. I can assure you they look fabulous.

Gladstone practices yoga & Pilates at Invoke, where you'll find her working the desk on Sunday nights. She's also a program manager at IU School of Medicine.


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Finding a new yoga home

kye2-1

Kye Hawkins, a newcomer to Indianapolis, writes about her journey to find a new yoga studio and her first time at Invoke.

Blog by Kye [Yoga junkie, Indy newcomer, education reform rockstar]

I’m fairly new to yoga, and I’m even newer to Indianapolis.  I began practicing yoga almost exactly a year ago while in graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The studio, Amara Yoga & Arts, was a welcoming place that I grew to love during my time in Urbana-Champaign. With their welcoming attitude and challenging classes, the instructors and yoga community at Amara fueled my obsession with yoga.

So I was a bit nervous about how my yoga practice would fare in my transition to Indianapolis.  When I moved here in October, I quickly began researching yoga studios in hopes of finding a place similar to Amara.  It didn’t take long for me to learn that things are a bit different in Indianapolis -- in particular, there is an abundance of hot yoga classes.  Despite my initial discomfort with heated classes, I decided to give them a chance.

When a friend invited me to join her in taking Cheryl Milton’s Saturday Vinyasa 1.5-hour Intensive class at Invoke, I was excited (read: giddy) to try out a new studio.  It was a rainy, dreary Saturday and as I sloshed in the door, rain boots squeaking, Cheryl greeted me with a smile and a cheerful hello.  She welcomed me to Invoke, asked if it was my first time there, and handed over some forms for me to fill out.  She gave me a quick tour of the spacious studio, equipped with two yoga rooms, cubbies for coats and shoes, and (very clean!) bathrooms. I felt immediately comfortable in Invoke’s light-filled space.

The class was aptly named – quite intense indeed.  But not too intense. Honestly, it was just perfect. There were people of all ages and various levels in the room, but I’m convinced that everyone was able to find the right level of challenge throughout the flow.  It had been a long time since I had taken a 1.5-hour class, and it felt good to have plenty of time to experiment with new positions and push myself.

We began with various sun salutations, and then moved through lots of positions with long holds.  We often started with the basics, but Cheryl always offered instruction on ways to further challenge ourselves. She gave hands-on adjustments at appropriate times  (For example, I needed to get deeper in a runner's lunge at one point and was rightfully corrected).  And we even got to do some partner handstand work, which was a fun way to engage with a yogi-neighbor. I surprisingly enjoyed the heat; it was warm, but not overwhelmingly hot.

Overall, Invoke delivered everything I hoped for and more on my first-time visit.  I left feeling even more excited to settle into my new home in Indianapolis, having found such an inspiring place to be my yoga-loving self.

Hawkins manages programs, communications and member engagement for the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, a network of city-based organizations promoting innovation and reform in K-12 education.


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The key ingredient for a first marathon? Pure determination.

RobertScheer

Is running a marathon -- or a race of any distance -- on your goals list for 2013? Bob Scheer talks about how, at 43 and with little running experience, he made it through his first 26.2 miler.

Blog by Bob [Photojournalist, wine columnist, cyclist and newbie runner]

I laughed to myself as I walked into a local running store last September. I’d just had coffee with Scott Spitz, a friend who has run marathons in 2:25 and regularly wins local trail races.

During the coffee, I'd explained to my skeptical friend that at 43, I was going to run my first marathon  -- the 26.2-mile Monumental -- in early November after only seven weeks of training. He just shook his head and said, “I think you’re nuts, dude.”

Undeterred, I started training on Sept. 10.

Running a marathon has long been on my bucket list. I’d walked that distance a number of times, including the LA Marathon in 1998, but I felt like a fraud. I knew I needed to run one.

There was a big challenge, though: I wasn’t a runner. Though I’ve been a long-time fitness cyclist and have done plenty of tough karate training, I’d always told myself I hated running and convinced myself that I could never do it because of a couple of minor knee surgeries.

My first training run seemed to validate that hypothesis. I almost quit after three miles, at which point my legs felt like they’d been repeatedly whacked with a pole.

Still, I wasn’t about to give up. For me, this was a battle that was more mental than physical.

Propelling that belief was a philosophy by legendary boxer Bernard Hopkins to which I’ve long subscribed. Throughout life, Hopkins says, we need to make regular deposits in our body’s “bank” by doing things such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, sleeping well, avoiding tobacco and cultivating friendships and positive thought. The more deposits we put in, as we age, the more withdrawals we get to take. These withdrawals help us stave off illness, live longer, and pull off stunts like marathons.

With this in mind, I believed that I could run the 26.2 miles. And I proceeded to persist through the initial days of painful training.

Once my legs adjusted to the first two weeks of pounding, I settled into a routine, guided by runner friends who gave me tips. Each week, I cycled two days and ran three, incrementally increasing distance on my long runs.

I had to nurse a pulled calf along the way, and by race day, I’d only logged 100 miles, spread over 16 training runs, the longest being 12 miles.

Marathon morning was chilly, 35 degrees, but the communal experience was thrilling. I started out slow, with lots of people passing me during the first five miles. About eight miles in, my legs felt fresh, and I realized I was having a blast. Until about mile 20, I slapped every hand I saw, sent Facebook updates, played air drums to my iPhone play mix, and paused to chat with buddies I saw on the route.

Then at mile 21, the hail came, followed by icy rain.

Four miles from the end, I knew I’d run out of fuel when I had to ask a stunned 8-year-old at the side of the road to open an energy gel for me. My ice-covered fingers had stopped moving.

I plodded across the line just shy of five hours, running only on stubbornness and the promise of greeting a few friends who came downtown to cheer for me at the finish. I didn’t run fast, but I ran nearly all the course.

That first post-marathon night, I woke up every two hours in pain and famished. The next day wasn’t much easier. Still, I caught myself thinking, “I’d do that again.”

And I did. In December, I ran my first half-marathon, clocking in just over two hours.

While difficult, the experience showed me the power of positive thinking and iron-clad determination. And it’s made me wonder what I can pull off in 2013.

Scheer is a photographer and wine columnist for The Indianapolis Star.


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