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Heavily Meditated

heavily meditated
By:  Tina Isakson (mom of 5, Invoke manager and retail buyer, current yogi, former runner)

Often touted as a habit of highly successful and happy people, meditation ranks near the top of this year's wellness trends.  In an effort to reduce anxiety, quiet my mind, improve mindfulness, and heck, BE one of those highly successful and happy peeps, I've decided to give meditation a whirl.  Experts say 21 days to build a habit, so join me as I attempt to meditate for a few minutes each day for the next 3 weeks. Because sitting still and quieting my mind and/or mouth for even a few moments at a time are NOT my strong suit, I've decided to use the meditation app headspace for a little guidance (LITERALLY.  Its guided meditation). It would have been nice if I had started this habit in January when wellness goals are fresh in my mind, but I figure August (with back to school time for my kiddos) can be my second January.  Here we go...

Day1:  Monday morning (butt crack of dawn, see also:my kids are swimmers) opened my headspace app.  Chose the 3 minute meditation.  Found a comfy seat on the sofa.  The app has a lovely British accent.  Counting the inhales and exhales.  Promptly fell asleep.  

As you can see, we're off to a blazing start.  Join me here for progress updates on my journey to being heavily meditated.  

Do you meditate?  What works for you?

Working on incorporating more mindfulness into your daily life through yoga?  Find our complete schedule here.  Fit body.  Calm mind.

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Meet the Teacher

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Allow me to introduce long-time Invoke instructor, Erin Morgan.....

Tell us about yourself.

I've been practicing yoga regularly since 2002 and teaching since 2008.  Proud momma to Miss Emorie Claire, 2 dogs and 1 kitty.  We've set up shop in Irvington and love our neighborhood.  I like to boogie.

What do you like about Invoke?

THE HUMANS.  I love the humans.  So many of my dearest friendships were started at Invoke.

Favorite Food?

ALL THE FOOD.  I love chocolate and Italian food (iozzo's is my fave in Indy).  I truly take pleasure in eating and I like to chew my food-no juice cleanses pour moi!

What's on your playlist right now?

Washed Out, Broken Social Scene and Fleet Foxes have all put out dynamite albums sorta recently.  African funk makes me happy.  Julie Byrne has been soothing my soul for many months now.  Find me on Spotify.  I'm a playlist freak.  

When I'm not at Invoke you can find me ____?  

Hanging with my kiddo and my husband.  I'm a person who NEEDS to recharge at home.  Hermit life.

Guilty pleasure?

Sitting in the sun!  Everyone is so scared of the sun these days.  I'm solar powered.  

Editor's note:  Erin, Invoke wouldn't be the same without you!  And I agree with you about being "solar powered"  I heart the sun, too.  Join Erin next February to recharge those solar powered batteries with an Invoke yoga retreat in Jamaica.  Sign up here.  You can also meet Erin several times each week at Invoke's downtown location for some heated or non-heated vinyasa (righteous tunes guaranteed).

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Home Sweet Invoke

Blog by Delaney Francis (Student, Fur Mama, Invoke Enthusiast, Future Pilates Instructor, and Blogger/Owner of Del's Diary) Invoke is not just a yoga studio to me; it's my home. While there are many definitions of what home means in the dictionary, four particular definitions stick out more than the rest. Read More

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Invoke: College Edition


Blog by Delaney Francis (Student, Fur Mama, Invoke Enthusiast, Future Pilates Instructor, and Blogger/Owner of Del's Diary)

My name is Delaney, and I love blogging and love talking about Invoke; now I have the pleasure of blogging about Invoke.

I started my yoga and pilates journey ten months ago. If you knew me, then you would know that the past ten months have been the best ten months of my entire life. Invoke is more than a yoga studio to me; it is a second home.

Every single time I walk into Invoke Studio or Invoke Wellness Center I feel my Zen meter go up. I feel calm, cool, and collected. I don't even need to be on my mat or on a reformer to feel this way. Just stepping into Invoke is as cathartic as walking into my grandma's house during the holidays.

As a student and a self-certified "over thinker," I try my best to keep a certain level of Zen on a daily basis. Coming to the studio helps me balance my mind, body, and spirit connection. It is easy to get caught up in the chaos and clutter of college, which is why coming to Invoke is so crucial.

After a class at Invoke I either feel a) full of gratitude b) as cool as a cucumber c) like Beyonce or d) all of the above. I have gained so much from coming to Invoke over the past year and want to share with you the most meaningful moments so far.

1. A loving relationship with my mind AND body

2. Getting to wear yoga pants and flip flops 24/7

3. A community of awesome yogis all dedicated to bettering themselves

4. Countless beauty products, headbands, and graphic tee's

5. A bigger smile, louder laugh, and a contagious amount of confidence

When I am not taking a class or working the front desk at Invoke, you can find me blogging for Del's Diary, eating Chipotle, or hanging out with my dog, Chai.

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Frankly Oils at Invoke


Blog by Stevie Frank (Invoke Yoga teacher, Essential Oil lover, Creator/Owner of Frankly Oils)

I have thoroughly enjoyed infusing essential oils into my everyday as a means to my own holistic wellbeing. I started my oil journey nearly 2 years ago when I attended an essential oil party. I left the party feeling overwhelmed, confused, and thought they were too expensive for my teaching budget. And what’s with all the benefits? Can this be real or is this a hoaxy infomercial?! Can rubbing oil on my skin truly help me de-stress, put me in a better mood, or help me sleep better? Surprisingly to me-the answer was YES. 

After burying myself in literature, videos, phone calls, and multiple recipes of oils I felt like I had a good grasp on what these essential oils were, how they worked, and more importantly how I could blend them together to create amazing blends that worked for me.

That’s when I realized-I wanted to make these oils easily and readily accessible for people who don’t want to put the time or money into adding these oils into their everyday. I came up with easy names for the oil blends so if someone was stressing, they knew to grab “Zen Out” or if they were having trouble with sleeping they’d grab “Sleeping Beauty.” Labeling my oil blends was one of the hardest feats to conquer because I wanted my friends to be able to know what the blend did in just a few short words. 
 
So what are some oil blends that’s available at franklyoils?

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Happy & Awake: For those mornings when you need an extra boost of good mood vibes to get through the day, this blend will help awaken the spirit and help you keep in good vibes throughout the day. The boost of peppermint will help keep you alert.

Ingredients: All 100% natural essential oils of Lavandin, Lavender, Tangerine, Elemi, Lemon, Myrtle, Melissa, Ylang Ylang, Osmanthus, Peppermint, and Sandalwood. Wild Orange, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Bergamot, and Clementine with a drop of Vanilla.
 
Sleeping Beauty: It’s time for that beautiful time to lay in your amazing sheets and you can’t stop tossing and turning. Mind racing. Planning out the next day or wrapping up the current day. Reach for your Sleeping Beauty at any time of night, even if you wake back up, to help send you back to catching some Zzz’s.

Ingredients: 100% essential oils of Lavender, Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, and Ylang Ylang, Ho wood, Frankincense, Blue Tansy Flower and Blue Chamomile Flower, and Vetiver.

Find franklyoils at any Invoke location. Catch up on new blends @ www.franklyoils.com OR follow me on Instagram: @franklyoils

Stay tuned for upcoming workshops at Invoke!

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Animal Skills Yoga for Kids

Blog by Olivia Roney (CEO at Crouching Tigers, Registered Yoga Teacher, Kid Expert, Dog Momma to pup Walker)

What is AnimalSkills Yoga?

Mantras + Poses= AnimalSkills. AnimalSkills = Fun.

AnimalSkills Yoga is a fun, creative approach to yoga that promotes body awareness, confidence and mindfulness. In every class, students focus on a new animal, animal pose and mantra. The pose and the mantra together are what we call “AnimalSkills”.

Animal Skills

It has been tested. I started teaching and training my staff on AnimalSkills curriculum in my Crouching Tigers martial arts classes last year. After a rebrand from a “martial arts” company to a “children’s wellness” company, the original intention with the curriculum was to incorporate an equal amount of yoga and martial arts in every class. The results of AnimalSkills were fantastic! The result of the attempt to have an equal focus on martial arts and yoga, however, simply wasn’t realistic. The yoga diluted the martial arts and created a substantial amount of brand confusion.

In the 6 months that AnimalSkills was a substantial part of the Crouching Tigers curriculum, we received amazing testimonials from parents and even more amazing memory retention from our students.

It focuses on the needs of children ages 2-10.

When it comes to curriculum writing, I start with a question, “what is a skill that all kids need?” and attempt to answer it by creating stories, games, activities and animal characters around the best way to make learning this new skill fun for kids. After learning that many of my students were afraid to sleep in their beds at night, I wanted to create a physical movement or pose that made them feel safe. I kicked off AnimalSKills curriculum with the TurtleSkill- I am safe and relaxed. The turtle pose is a variation of child’s pose that allows for kids to tuck into their “shell” to feel safe.

It works.

After numerous parents emailed, called and stopped me at schools to tell me how well the TurtleSkill was working, I knew I was on to something. After this, I created the KoalaSkill, The PlatypusSkill, the KangarooSkill, the FalconSkill and many more. I continue to write these AnimalSkills on a regular basis with the hope of identifying and testing 52 different AnimalSkills that can be taught over the course of a full year.

I'm excited for the opportunity to offer Animal Skills Yoga at Invoke Studio and Invoke Wellness Center in November! Enroll your 3-5 year old kidos through the links below or on Invoke's website under the Events tab.

Invoke Downtown, Thursdays 5:45pm-6:45pm November 3- December 1 (No class on November 24) (https://www.facebook.com/events/1797267493876453/)

Invoke Wellness, Mondays 9:30am-10:30am November 7-28 (https://www.facebook.com/events/678715408942718/)

 


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Down Dog Log 5

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Blog by Riley Missel (Student Athlete, Dedicated Yogi, and Finisher of Invoke's 30 Day Challenge)

7 Things I Learned Doing Yoga 7 Days a Week at Invoke Studio:
  1. Some days, yoga is hard and your muscles are tight and you feel like a mess compared to the flexible fairy beside you, and it will be such a relief to get into your car after class…because you can finally fart. You will have those days, and that’s okay.
  2.  Daily yoga helps you become better friends with yourself. The things you learn (like that you have chronically tight quads or are overly talkative to people on the mats around you) are things you eventually learn to love about yourself. You learn to celebrate flaws along with your beauty, and treat yourself the way you would a good friend.
  3.  "Turbo Dog" is an actual pose.
  4.  Barre Effect classes are hard! But it gets easier if you pretend you’re in the New York Ballet.
  5.  Practicing something every day teaches you how to learn, fail, and continue to practice. When you learn patience and a playful attitude by practicing arm balances, you can use that mindset to practice generosity, kindness, or mad skateboard skills. It’s freeing to be okay with the learning process and step outside your comfort zone.
  6.  The instructors at Invoke are really passionate about what they do. By gently planting the seeds of self-acceptance, contentment, joy, and gratitude, they spread little bits of world peace and happiness, student by student.
  7. We’re all in this together- and we’re all just looking for a little peace and love in this crazy world.

For me, this challenge was the beginning of a wonderful (and more dedicated!) practice and a calmer way of being. To the instructors, friends, fellow students, and Otis the Dog at Invoke: thank you so much for making these past 30 days meaningful and memorable days of growth, exploration, and fun. Namaste.


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Down Dog Log 4

Finding My Expression.

Blog by Riley Missel (Student Athlete, Spradic Yogi, To-Do List Enthusiast, Cat Mom)

I hate kombucha. I hadn’t tried it until recently, but danggg. It tastes like spiked vinegar and apple juice. No thank you. As much as the yoga blogs and Pinterest posts rave about its benefits… I can’t. On top of this aversion, I also don’t have long skinny legs, a calm demeanor, or cool tattoos.

But the good news is: I’m still a yogi.

But Riley! They exclaim. We can’t even tell by your Instagram photos. Are you sure?

Here’s how I started to see that deepening my yoga practice does not involve drinking bitter liquid or shopping at Lululemon.

On day 21 of my challenge, I toted my mat up to 86th and Ditch to check out the studio up there and take a class with Yvonne. In the middle of a flow, she said something that hit me right in the heart. We tipped forward onto one foot for a half-moon pose and she said “breathe, and find your expression of this pose.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. My expression? Isn’t there a correct expression? Didn’t you have something in mind here Yvonne? I didn’t even know what to do with that freedom, so I just took a regular old half-moon. But as we flowed on, I continued to tumble that thought around in my mind.

My expression…my expression…

On the next side, I bent my knee and took my foot into my outstretched hand. I’d seen someone do it once, and it felt fun. Was it my expression? What did that even mean?

My half-moon didn’t look exactly like the woman’s on the mat beside me. It was mine. My half-moon balanced on a leg made strong by miles and miles of riding a bicycle, and stretched shoulders stiff from a past snowboard wipe-outs and a broken collarbone. And it wiggled and wobbled in a new shape, because I was feeling brave that day.

Finding my expression means I can be me as I practice. I can move like me and breathe like me. It means I don’t need long legs or perfect standing splits to experience yoga the way I was meant to.

Everyone’s body has been through different things: broken bones, dance training, having children, working construction… things that alter the body, which in turn affect your practice. Some of us have tempers, eat junk food, and go weeks without practicing (hi!). But these are the things to be embraced. Because when we find our expression in our practice, we are honoring the wonderful body we’ve been given and the wonderful things it’s given us. That is the yoga I want to practice.

And I won’t even have to drink kombucha.


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Down Dog Log 3

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Blog by Riley Missel (Student Athlete, Sporadic Yogi, Do-To List Enthusiast, Cat Mom)

My orange Toms padded down Lafayette. Shattered glass and fallen mulberries crunch on the sidewalk beneath my shoes. My car broke down on Day 13 of my challenge (hmmm…fishy!) so I spent a good hour and a half using my feet as transportation until I could get where I needed to go.

Strangely, I felt a strong connection to the area I was walking. I’d driven down this street plenty of times before, but something was different as I shuffled along the patchy sidewalk. Most of the signs were not in English, and I’d never been in any of the shops I’d passed. But walking along the worn concrete I felt I was in solidarity with the area around me; the exhaling busses, the old man walking the other way, the strong wind, the woman and her child waiting at the bus stop. It’s funny the difference it made- being on foot versus being in a car.

Later, my bare toes spread onto my green mat in Ahna’s class. Everyone moved for themselves, by themselves, but in unison. Like a dance. Ahna focused the class on our root chakra. She described it as the energy that lets us feel grounded, safe, and steady. I imagined, like she suggested, my feet and legs tinted red as they formed my foundation as we flowed through class. I thought back to my walk down Lafayette, when my feet connected me to that neighborhood.

I lift my eyes to a studio filled with trees- tall trees, short trees, solid trees, waving trees. We were all standing in tree pose, our strong steady roots connecting us to the ground. I realized I was very fortunate and thankful for being able to plant my roots where I have, even if only briefly. I’m so grateful to be a part of a class rooted in tree pose, but also rooted in self-love and kindness.

Part of yoga is coming to be with yourself, sure, but I think another part of it is connecting with a community. And the more I focused on my feet, the more that feeling of connectivity returned. As much as it’s healthy to keep our eyes on our own mat, yoga is also about connection and solidarity with the community around us. We’re standing (or in my case, wobbling) there in tree pose, rooting down, and I felt connected to that class. Which is honestly a little funny, since we don’t have a whole lot of interaction with each other. We smile sometimes, scoot mats over to make space, and occasionally stretch out and touch their toes behind our mat. That’s about it. But rooting down in that forest, I was a piece of something bigger. Something accepting and loving and real- a room full of people on a journey inward and outward, people yearning to find light and be light, people just wanting to laugh and not be serious for a while.

I think we feel a strong connection to the place we connect our roots (aka our feet) to, whether intentional or not. I don’t know these people, but we walk the same streets and we plant our roots in the same studio. Different people, different intentions, different bodies, different lives. But similar pursuits. We’re all human, and what a great place to be human. Thanks Invoke, for giving us a place to root down and find a community.


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Down Dog Log 2

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Blog by Riley Missel (Student Athlete, Sporadic Yogi, To-Do List Enthusiast, Cat Mom)

7 days in! Wow. What a week. My bottom is sore and my wrists are creaky… but on the bright side I think all those chaturangas are starting to show (flexing emoji).

More awesome things have been happening, too. Previously, when I came to yoga to ‘practice’ I was really coming to give myself a performance. Since I didn’t make it to the mat (publicly) very often, I wanted to make the most of it (as in, take all the advanced options and showing off my headstand). But on Monday in class, Erin offered that we take side angle pose further into a bind, or bird of paradise. A woman to my right stood slowly, her left leg wrapped up in her arms and pointed at the ceiling. You can do that, my brain reminded me. So I wrapped my arms around my lunging knee, and tried to stand. I wobbled, and fell out of it. I re-bound, and fell again before I even stood up. My brain stalled for a minute. I decided not to give myself the usual runaround about being lame today. Instead of continuing to wrangle my body into something it wasn’t interested in, I settled back onto both feet. Welp! Not today.

In Andrea’s class, she suggested we try an arm balance from a seated twist (If you had to reread that don’t worry- my reaction exactly). It seemed as wonky as it sounds. But instead of guessing ahead of time what my body could or couldn’t do, I placed my palms on the floor and lifted my bottom off the ground…I did it! I had it!

Then I teeter-tottered my face into the floor.

As I peeled my cheek off the hardwood, I smiled –it was funny! And I knew I could try again, and practice more tomorrow. Practicing every day takes all the pressure away. Daily practice has been allowing me to be who I am that day, and present with my body as it is in that moment. I can play around with what I’ve got that day and let go of how I thought I should be, because there’s always tomorrow.

Some days your legs feel like flying in bird of paradise, and some days they don’t. When I can make it more frequently to practice, it feels much more like that- a practice. But I think I’m learning that this practice will never make perfect, not permanently. I can do the straightest handstand on Friday, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be able to pop right back up into it on Monday. I’m always going to have some off days, some tired days, and that’s absolutely okay. In the same way, the more I practice being kind to myself or being grateful or patient or strong, the better at it I will be, but I’ll never out-practice my off days. I’ll never be perfectly perfect. And isn’t that the fun part anyway?


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