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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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A surge forward in fitness

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Over the last several years, Scott Baumer has melted off the pounds with a disciplined exercise regimen that includes competitive cycling. Pilates has helped him take his fitness to the next level. 

Blog by Scott [Competitive cyclist, Pilates newcomer, native Hoosier]

In Spring 2004, the end of my first year at the University of Southern Indiana, I weighed 190 pounds at 5’10.” I hardly made an effort to exercise and ate without regard for calories or fat.

When I returned home to Indianapolis that summer, I was frustrated by the way I looked and completely lacked self-confidence. So I decided to lose weight the old-fashioned way: by changing my diet and exercising daily. I had a summer job at a golf course, which helped me to stay active. I also avoided fried foods, focused on portion control and went to the gym for an hour of cardio seven days a week. By the end of the summer, I was down to 165 pounds.

Four summers later -- at the urging of my then-girlfriend and her dad -- I decided to start cycling. I started riding by myself or with my girlfriend and eventually joined a local cycling group. I ended up riding nearly 2,800 miles in 2009. By 2010, I was riding 5,000 miles per year. Along the way, my weight kept falling, and I settled in around 155 pounds.

By mid-summer 2011, I entered my first race (a criterium in Eagle Creek Park) and was instantly hooked. The following year, I decided to give racing my all. I hired a coach in and began training to improve my fitness and power. By the end of 2012, I had raced 65 times and covered 8,000 miles, upgrading my cycling competitiveness level by several degrees.

While my training regimen was intense, I was focused solely on logging miles on the bicycle and  neglected all other aspects of my body. To further improve, I knew I would have to put more effort into strengthening the rest of my body, especially my core and flexibility. This would help to improve my  position on the bike and give me additional power. With this plan, I decided to try Pilates at Invoke.

My first trip to Pilates was eye-opening -- or perhaps demoralizing is a better way to put it. I considered myself to be in great shape, but that perception changed in my first hour of Pilates. I could barely do half of the exercises. Who would have thought lifting 3 pound weights would be so challenging?

But after getting over the initial shock of how tough this workout was, I embraced it as part of my routine. Adding Pilates to my weekly training has strengthened my entire body, and I'm confident it will improve my results this race season. I welcome and hope to learn from the physical challenge.

It’s good for all of us to push beyond our limits and try new things to stay healthy. After almost a decade-long fitness journey, I’m glad to have discovered Pilates to give me the extra push I need to take my cycling -- and overall wellness -- to the next level. Baumer is an accountant and new homeowner in Indianapolis.


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A new perspective on New Year's resolutions

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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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Loveinvoke: A forum for fitness conversations

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Blog by Francesca [New Loveinvoke blogger-in-chief]

When I first started taking classes at Invoke in September 2010, it was with an air of skepticism and without the intention to make yoga or Pilates a regular part of my workout routine. At the time, I was an unabashed cardio junkie. Running marathons. Cycling. Taking an intense spin on the elliptical. These were my definitions of exercise.

But then I got hooked -- at first by the blissful rigor of Nicole Schoville’s Pilates classes, then by the joy of heated Vinyasa yoga. Not only did I enjoy these workouts immensely, I saw the transformative effect they were having on my other athletic pursuits, as well as my ability to handle stress and my overall life outlook.

Two and half years later, I’m fully a yoga and Pilates convert. And now I feel like there’s a huge void in my week if I don’t make it to Invoke at least a couple of times.

Perhaps some of you have similar journeys -- or more interesting stories. Certainly many of you share a love for being well and staying fit and active and have incredible insights to share. This Loveinvoke blog is an outlet for all of that -- a venue where those of us who love wellness can exchange ideas, inspire one another and perhaps light a spark in others to try a new fitness endeavor.

I’m excited to be taking over as Loveinvoke’s blogger in chief. You’ll find updates from me regularly, but, more importantly, I want to hear from you. If you’re interested in sharing your stories or have ideas you’d like this blog to explore, please email me at jarosz.f@gmail.com. To stay tuned into the latest on the blog, you can also follow Invoke on Twitter or Facebook. And I’ll be posting about the blog from my personal Twitter account.

Thanks for taking the time to check out Loveinvoke.com. I look forward to sharing our fitness journeys in 2013.

Jarosz is a former journalist who loves to write, run, practice yoga and lead communications efforts for The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education reform nonprofit. Follow her on Twitter @francescajarosz.


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Peace in chaos: An overachiever’s journey through three days of utter serenity


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Blog by Francesca [Loves Yoga, Invoke Yoga & Pilates student, Communications]

I, like many people, have a tendency to speed from task to task through life – always trying to maximize efficiency so I can check everything off my to-do list. When that to-do list in complete, I think, I finally can relax.

On the Friday morning before I departed for Invoke’s yoga retreat in New Harmony, my Type A orientation felt like it was hyped up on steroids. I had experienced a week of hectic frenzy at work and an overbooked social calendar. I was leaving Indianapolis for the retreat with a few unchecked items on the to-do list, a groggy head from insufficient sleep and a painful stress knot in my shoulder that was producing a dull headache. I shouldn’t be going on this retreat, I thought. I could really use the weekend to be productive.

But shortly after I got outside the city limits, my attitude began to soften. That was helped in part by the good company of my car companion, Lisa, and the charm of the small Indiana towns we drove through on our southward journey. When we arrived in New Harmony, we found an idyllic Main Street and a friendly recovering hippie whom we asked for directions to the Barn Abbey, our home base for the weekend. Rather than point us there, he got in his beater truck with a “Buy Local” bumper sticker and drove us to our destination.

My warmth toward the experience grew that afternoon as mom, who practices yoga in Springfield, Illinois, arrived and we started the first yoga session. During that session, instructor Ahna Hoke delivered a message that felt as if it was directed right at me: Life is always stressful. There are always multiple tasks you’ll have to accomplish and a myriad of obstacles to overcome. The secret, she said, is being able to find peace in the midst of all of that – and to use that peace to propel yourself forward.

She may as well have said, “Francesca, put your to-do list on a shelf and make some time to be in the moment.” So I did.

I fully embraced that mindset for the weekend. I stayed away from my cell phone (the few Instagram photo updates aside). I had authentic and engaging conversations with brand-new acquaintances. And I took time to notice the beauty of the art, nature and people surrounding me. All of this was propelled by my yoga practice, which trained me to be in tune with the movement of my body and the activity of my mind. I also find this to be true in my regular practice, but on this retreat – surrounded by this group of kind people in a place 200 miles away from distractions – I was able to hone it more intensely.

I left New Harmony on Sunday with a tinge of sadness about parting from the special time, place and community we had formed in our few days together there. But I also felt a new sense of empowerment about the things I’d learned to embrace on the retreat – the sense of calmness and serenity I’d found was possible. My challenge, then, was to take that back to the real world and find it, as Ahna instructed, in the middle of chaos.

It is, in fact, a big challenge, but one that I progress towards conquering daily, with each unexpected life event and every work-related conundrum. My sense of urgency has not changed; I still work to be efficient and fill my days with productivity. But I do so with a new sense of appreciation and an intention to find joy – not just after the work is complete, but in the midst of it.

Jarosz is a former journalist who now leads communications efforts for The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education reform nonprofit.


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New Health & Fitness Blog

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Blog by Jamie [Invoke Pilates instructor]

Jamie, a favorite downtown Invoke pilates instructor, embodies the charm and smile of your best friend. Her sessions combine classic Pilates accompanied by her rhythmic, finger-snapping "one-and-two-and..." count reminiscent of a dance studio teacher, all the while she is giving your body a total toning workout. Her background in ballet, modern dance, strength training, body conditioning and postural anatomy let's you know you are in good hands. Jamie has been featured as a Fitness Consultant in HEALTH Magazine & Dance Magazine and continues to write her own blog featuring health, nutrition and fitness topics.

Here are a few excerpts from her blog. Check it out at www.integratedform.blogspot.com

 

Signs You are Too Sick to Work Out Above the Neck: Stuffy nose, scratchy throat, headache-OK to work out...read
How to Prevent Osteoporosis Here are some essential and specific ways to protect your bones: Diet. Bones are dynamic organs that thrive in a mineral-rich environment. If you eat a lot of refined foods, you are likely to have weak bones and poor teeth. Follow the dietary programs outlined in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, which are low-acid diets that support the health of your entire body....
Benefits of Cutting Back on Meat If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:
● 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
● 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;...
Read Jamie's blog now.

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My Very First "Om"

Blog by Meghan  [Invoke student, New to yoga & pilates]

A couple of years ago, I made a commitment to a healthier lifestyle, and I’ve slowly changed my routine to live more mindfully. I was inspired by friends who found fulfillment with yoga and pilates and I wanted to get involved. I signed up for Invoke’s Intro to Yoga Workshop to learn about proper technique after taking some community classes. Marjan explained the importance of breath and alignment and she showed us how to practice with purpose, instead of simply going through the motions.

Now that I’ve learned the basics, yoga has become comforting, inspiring and exhilarating all at the same time. Tonight in the Anusara class I experienced my very first “om” with Ahna and even did a handstand (with help, of course!). The fact that I was comfortable enough to chant with a new group of people and then trust them to safely flip me upside down is incredible. Those last quiet moments during savasana were especially meaningful to me since I pushed past my fear of the unknown.

Throughout my journey I’ve discovered that there isn’t a cookie-cutter solution to a healthy mind and body. I only know what has worked for me, and I’ve found that success requires a balance of both physical and mental commitment, and being open to trying new things along the way. I’m grateful for the people at Invoke who have encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone and I look forward to new experiences in the studio!

-Meghan


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Coming home

Blog by Stephanie [Loves Yoga, Invoke student, Practicing yoga & pilates 18 mos, Freelance Marketer]

Going to a heated yoga class after a two-month hiatus away is like going home to your mom after a stressful year away.

I spent the last two months making excuses like being too busy with work, or cleaning, or travelling and other priorities that put me last. Unfortunately, I fell into a routine where I found an extra hour and a half of my day, but it was at the expense of…me. Tonight, was my first class back since the end of December, just before the holidays, and the fruit cake of excuses that accompany it.

It felt so good being back. Like going back home. I walked into Invoke Studio, saw Erin behind the desk, with a sudden look of surprise framed by a big smile, saying “You’re back!”

And my Invoke coming home was timed perfectly with a homecoming class taught by Miss Laura Henderson, my spiritual cheerleader and fearless yoga leader.  It’s like coming home – it’s having the smell of my mom’s homemade pasta sauce fill the air when I go back to Ohio and walk in the door and know I’m home. It’s the feeling of your best friend since grade school nod at you knowingly because no one knows you and accepts you like she does. It’s the inexplainable feeling yoga brings you – a step closer into presence, calmness, contentment, and love of yourself and others around you, for me, has only been consistently found on my mat. At first, it was intimidating, just like someone else’s family can be unknown, uncomfortable and frankly a little intimidating, but once you fall in love with it. You belong and you remember all over again what it feels like.

I’ve been away far too long. I’m so thankful, I’ve found my way back home.

-Stephanie


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A Collection of Stories and Inspirations...Written by You.

Invoke Yoga & Pilates Studio is dedicated to inspiring and contributing the community in which we work and play. This blog is a collection of stories, inspirations, thoughts and teachings written by those that love yoga. From yoga teachers to students, from newbies to seasoned veterans, there is a place for everyone in the world of yoga. This blog is dedicated to all those that love the practice.  

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