Blog by Betsy [Invoke student, Yoga & Pilates]
I am not new to Invoke Yoga and Pilates Studio. In fact, I have been a long time devotee, having started practicing there back in the summer of 2007. I remember my first class vividly. I had been practicing Pilates with Ana Caban of GAIAM DVD fame, so I was practically certified to teach myself. I was ready to step it up with an actual class, so I arrived at Invoke for an evening class, after circling around at least five times trying to figure out how to get into the studio. That’s how you spot the rookies, when they try to open the locked door in the large practice room. Oh, for shame. I discovered that Pilates is easier when the instructor can’t actually see you and you can pause whenever you want to get a Diet Coke or answer the phone. I received a lot of modifications during class, which were very helpful and also very humbling. I was not as strong as my self-practice had lead me to believe.
I continued to attend regularly and found myself immersed in the only exercise I had ever really enjoyed. The Invoke instructors were approachable, easy going and helpful. It wasn’t long until everyone knew my name and I felt very comfortable. I loved that I could exercise on my own terms. It wasn’t like high school sports or conditioning, when someone was pushing me to my limits. I knew my own limits and soon the instructors did too. For example, after 5 years of practice, my hamstrings are still too tight for me to hold my legs straight at a 90-degree angle during an abdominal series. I bend my knees and no one gives me guff about it. I usually just get a wink. I also have never been afraid to rest. No one needs a hero, in my opinion. You may have noticed me in class as the girl who is lying flat on her back pondering the phrase “pelvic floor” as you grunt through a 12 count series that I just decide to skip. That’s not to say I’m lazy. Maybe I am. Actually, I prefer the term lethargic. At this point Amy, Nicole or Molly might shoot me a look of encouragement, ignore me, or actually come over and say, “come on, Betsy.” In any case, it is always just what I need.
I avoided yoga for the first 3 years at Invoke. I was intimidated by the whole idea. By then, I had settled into Pilates, increasing my flexibility and strength, while hopefully avoiding the whole lengthening idea. At 5 feet 11 inches, I’ve kind of cornered that market. No need to lengthen myself anymore, thanks. Erin and Laura initially encouraged me to try Vinyasa, and finally I mustered the will power and strength to go. It was totally different, and I loved it. I was mesmerized by the breathing, flow and communal experience of a yoga class. I struggled a bit with the Zen parts of it, as I have a very sarcastic sense of humor, and I have a tendency to laugh at the most inopportune times. I have more than once set my intention to not fart during class. I can hardly forget Eric getting me up in a headstand as everyone else did the same. I actually shouted, “look at me people, I’m doing it.” That wasn’t exactly my finest moment, but in true yogic acceptance, my fellow class members and Eric just smiled.
Now as I enter my 22nd week of pregnancy, my journey at Invoke continues to evolve. I was truly touched by how authentically excited the staff was by my announcement. I have not attended a class since when I am not asked how I’m feeling or doing. Chuck greets me with “Hey momma” and a hug. I am given modifications and encouragement to keep me going. I have even started attending prenatal classes with Cheryl, which have a totally different vibe of connecting my needs with those of the tiny life I am growing. As I reflect on the relationships I have formed at the studio, I realize that for all of the growing and learning I have done, the staff has not changed. Invoke Studio is a family, and I’m so glad I found it.