Category Archives: Great Quotes

Everyone Loves an Invitation

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Point to Ponder:
Is there something that you can invite someone to join you in this week?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

Throughout the past 48 hours I feel like I’ve been operating in a deja vu kind of world. I’m not having the same experience over and over again, but I keep getting the same message, so much that I feel like God is trying to plant a seed and tell me something. It’s not new content or a new idea, rather it’s one that I stand firm in and is the foundation on which iGnite was created, but non-the-less, when I get these kind of unsolicited and continuous memos, I feel there’s a reason and I need to share.

For starters, on Friday, after our San Diego iGnite workout I was motivated and excited to take a class at the gym I attend. I had just finished leading a fun, challenging and high-energy outdoor class and was inspired by how awesome everyone did, and I wanted and needed a challenging workout that would leave me feeling mentally and physically strong and confident as well. In addition, given that I had just led a workout, I wanted to turn off my brain and have someone to lead me. So, as I walked in the gym with my almost 4-year old side-kick Malaine, I was greeted with the news that their childcare was closed. Frustratingly, it became quickly apparent that if I wanted to workout, I would have to muster up the discipline to do it on my own–UGH!! As a result, I went home and immediately began the workout. Sadly, I was only able to get half way through it before I threw in the towel. This workout was very hard, but there was no doubt that if I had at least one friend do exercising with me, I would’ve been able to finish. Better Together Reminder #1

Then, on Saturday afternoon I had two, back-to-back phone calls that blew my socks off. One was with the peppy and never-met-a-stranger iGnite member, Mary Carlise Crehorn. Mary Carlisle moved to Austin in August after graduating from Vanderbilt. In November, she just happened to be working out at Mt. Bonnell while Molly was leading our Friday Cardio Blast class, and Molly invited Mary Carlisle to join them. The rest is history. So, as Mary Carlisle and I were talking about how we believe that we were called and created for community, she told me about a fascinating loneliness study by the University of Chicago. In the study, researchers found that loneliness triggers cellular changes that can cause illness. The study was based on adults ages 50-68 and shows that loneliness leads to fight-or-flight stress signaling, which can ultimately affect the production of white blood cells. As a reminder, white blood cells are essential because they are the cells of the immune system that are involved with protecting the body against infectious disease and foreign invaders.

The study examined loneliness in both humans and rhesus macaques, a highly social primate species. The human subjects were participants in the Chicago Health, Aging, and Social Relations Study, a longitudinal study that began in 2002. Previous research from this group had identified a link between loneliness and a phenomenon they called “conserved transcriptional response to adversity” or CTRA. This response is characterized by an increased expression of genes involved in inflammation and a decreased expression of genes involved in antiviral responses. Essentially, lonely people had a less effective immune response and more inflammation than non-lonely people, which increases the risk of premature death by 14%. As we are all learning, inflammation is the common link between such debilitating conditions as Alzheimers, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Better Together Reminder #2

Finally and within minutes of finishing my conversation with Mary Carlisle, I hopped on another call with the wonderful, Jenni Thurow, another iGnite member and awesome substitution leader for us who is currently helping to teach our Wednesday evening Cardio Strength class. Jenni mentioned that her husband was out of town for a few days so it was just she and her dog, Packer. When I asked her how it was being alone, she said, “There are always noises, but when I’m alone, they just sound different.” At that moment I stopped Jenni and said, “Whoa Jenni–that is powerful and so true!” I then shared the conversation that I had just had with Mary Carlisle about loneliness and the need for constant connection and community. Better Together Reminder #3

Feeling alone, isolated and lonely intensifies everything. It makes a workout more challenging, has a negative physiological affect on our body’s immune system–making the incident of disease more likely, and it makes everything seem bigger, scarier and more powerful than they really are.

Regardless of the scenario or whether you are an introvert of extrovert, we all need human interaction and support because that’s how we are designed. And, despite technology’s attempt to replace humans, there is no robot that can adequately do so. We are purposefully created for one another–for human touch, interaction and love, and in his book Love Does, Bob Goff says, “There’s nothing like feeling included, so invite someone to do something with you.” And, as our passionate yoga and Pilates leader, Amy Younkman, often reminds me, “everyone loves an invitation”, and that is so true! How do we know this? We’ve done our own iGnite research. On average, our class attendance increases when you receive an email or text message invitation to attend class from our class leaders. The data is indisputable.

With April being iGnite’s Friends for Free month, I encourage you to invite or re-invite a friend to attend class with you to be part of our special community. We would LOVE to meet them and love on them with you. Here is our designated class days throughout April to bring friends for free:

  • April 3-8: All Monday and Saturday Classes
  • April 10- 15: All Tuesday Classes
  • April 17-22: All Wednesday Classes
  • April 24- 29: All Thursday and Friday Classes

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self confidence and inner-healing.” – Jean Vanier


Action Item:
Invite someone to join you in something this week. 



Member Spotlight: Carol Reifsnyder

IMG_0160Roots:
I am originally from Lubbock, Texas. I attended the University of Texas where I met my husband, Andy. We moved back to Austin in 1992, a time when Mopac had no cars and the hills had no houses.

Family Life:
My husband is a radiologist and has been the Chief at Breckenridge Medical Center for a long while. We have two children, my daughter, Erin, who works at a hotel in Brooklyn, and my son, Emery, who recently graduated from Tufts and now works in technological mapping in San Francisco.

Work Life:
I am just finishing a long (4 year) capital campaign to restore and renovate a National Historic Landmark sorority house near campus. I have some ideas about where I would like to go next, but I plan to take a break for a while and get back in shape.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
Women derive strength from being and working together. I feel like I work harder when working out with iGnite ladies. I’ve got to work to keep up!

The best advice I’ve been given…
The best advice I have been given is from my Brazilian scuba instructor way back in college. I still use his instructions today when dealing with a crisis. Per my instructor, the two most important rules of scuba are:
Always stay with your buddy. I use this symbolically at work as in “always have the back of/always support your co-workers and employees”. For my family, I use it to stay present and attentive to their needs and issues. And for my ailing mother, I use it to diligently advocate for her at times when she is vulnerable.
Stay calm. Don’t panic. I learned the hard way that if anything can go wrong, it will! I am a planner by nature so I constantly try to consider all the possible scenarios before I act. Now, if things do go astray, I don’t sweat it much anymore. I just stay calm, refocus, reconsider and get to it.

What I’m looking forward to right now…
Getting comfortable with and enjoying this “kids out of college and employed stage”. I have always been so excited for what lay ahead for my kids that I rarely
felt too sad moving on down the path beyond key milestones. Now, I feel like it is time to discover and create some milestones for myself. My work raising them is actually over. Don’t get me wrong; it often makes me sad to think back on those years that went by so quickly and in such a blur. The good news now is I get to be the “friend” or “advisor” or “supporter” instead of the strict “rule following” parent.

If I were a pair of shoes…
I would love to be a pair of bike cleats. Riding a bike brings back that pure sense of “joy” not felt much in life as an adult. In fact, research confirms quite simply that cycling makes people happier. In my opinion, the bicycle is one of the world’s greatest inventions – simple in it’s design, easily mastered and inexpensive – a means of play, exercise and transportation. In the 1900’s the bike gave women unprecedented mobility; women essentially rode the bicycle to freedom. Susan B. Anthony once said, “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” The bike allowed women to venture about without chaperons, liberated them from corsets and cumbersome skirts, provided them a healthier, more vigorous existence, and expanded their marriage pool (no more having to marry your cousin down the street). Today, strolling through street and parkways on a bike is one of the best ways to tour/see an area. Walking doesn’t cover enough territory and cars move too quickly and provide too big of a barrier from the environment. Even cycling excursions around Austin often stun me with the beauty of our Texas Hill Country. As a pair of cleats, my life would be outdoors, healthy, happy, adventurous, fun and even spiritual. So, make me a pair of old beat-up bike cleats any day. See you on the road!

Re-New Year Retreat “Rise & Shine”

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Why Retreat?

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By Crystal Tidmore

There are a million reasons not to go on retreat (too much to do, kids’ activities, don’t need to spend the money…the list goes on). Oh…but when you do give yourself permission to go on retreat, you benefit not just yourself, but your loves ones as well. Retreat allows us to pause, reflect, and re-commit ourselves to becoming the very best that we can be. When we retreat, we commit ourselves to a journey of returning to the source of all things to refill our well and remind us who we truly are.

“Rise and Shine” was the theme of this year’s first annual iGnite Re-New Year Retreat. We set out to create a unique space, apart from our daily routine, where everyone could find renewal, inspiration and hope. Whether walking the beach, chatting around the fire-pit, practicing yoga by the pool, creating art, learning new forms of dance and movement, or exploring our core values, passions and purpose—we were treating our bodies, minds and spirits to the many gifts of retreat.

Our guest speaker, Stefanie, from Generate Hope, said:
“Life isn’t about finding ourselves. Life is about creating ourselves.”

We create and re-create ourselves each and every day by the choices we make. And we can choose to honor our gifts or dismiss them as unimportant or insignificant. Our job is to uncover our gifts and passions, and it’s God’s job to take those passions and gifts and point them to a higher purpose. How often do we try to do God’s job for Him? We RISE, so that God can SHINE through us.

Rising is about claiming God’s purpose for our lives. Rising is acknowledging the unique gifts that God has given us and iGniting the passion within us to use those gifts in a way that only we can. And when we RISE, we SHINE the light within us that encourages and empowers others to shine their unique light within them.

Much like a campfire, the light within us needs to be rekindled from time to time so that it doesn’t burn out or fade away. We must tend that fire with love and attention—and with retreat.

So, why do we re-treat? We retreat…
…to re-fill our well
…to re-create ourselves
…to re-gain strength
…to re-ceive the spirit within us
…to re-claim our gifts
…to re-iGnite our passions
…to re-fresh our creativity
…to re-juvenate our bodies
…to re-generate ideas
…to re-new our mind, body, and spirit

We re-treat to re-turn to our true selves, our very best selves.

This year’s Re-New Year Retreat was filled with so much fun and laughter and new experiences for all of us. Since the retreat, I have made a promise to take the concept of retreat into my daily life. I came away from San Diego with new tools for the tool belt and new companions for the journey. This Friday our San Diego retreaters will gather together in Austin for a Retreat Reunion luncheon to share more stories, watch our slideshow, and begin planning our next retreat! Hope you will give yourself permission to retreat throughout the year. And hope you join us for the next iGnite Retreat!

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The “Rise and Shine” Re-New Year Retreat was held Jan 26-29, 2017 in LaJolla, California. See the full photo album from retreat here.


 

Class Highlight: Vinyasa Yoga

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Vinyasa Yoga

Amy Younkman

Leader Amy Younkman

I often see people pop into yoga class when they feel stiff, sore, or side-lined by injury. What I have found is, the real jewels of this ancient healing art truly begin to surface when one maintains a consistent yoga practice. Just like anything we want to “get good at”, we need to regularly put the time into practicing. When we consistently show up on our yoga mat, we deepen not only our ability to perform different postures, but more importantly, we deepen our internal awareness of what is going on in our bodies; right here, right now. Instead of muscling our way through exercise, we slow down to connect breath with movement, and pay attention to what got us stiff, sore or injured in the first place. If we stick with the practice, the answers are revealed to us.

unspecified-21I love sharing my passion for yoga with others because yoga has literally changed my life, and continues to do so. My practice keeps me true to myself and I love that after a decade of teaching, I am still a student dipping my toe into a deep well on knowledge. When I show up on my mat and allow myself to be vulnerable, rather than performance based and trying to “get it right”, I learn how to work through discomfort, frustration, lack of confidence and feeling the need to be in control. I learn to lighten up on myself and go with the flow. When I can deal with these things on the mat, I can deal more effectively with life off the mat.

My Vinyasa Yoga class is tailored to my students’ needs each Friday morning. Choosing a theme for the class, I like to share insights and inspirations to ignite body, mind and
unnamed-11spirit. I try to strike a balance between fun, creative sequencing and simple, safe alignment. I consider our yoga mats like an adult playground where we can explore fun poses like Eagle, Crow, Flamingo and Camel. The focus of my classes is building core stability and strength, breath and body awareness, proper technique, balance and “getting out of your comfort zone”. You will feel nurtured, safe, and taken care of in my Vinyasa yoga class.

Deepak Chopra says, “Life is like a river; you cannot step into it in the same place twice.” Our yoga practice is no different. We are constantly evolving, and I don’t know of a better system of exercise to calm our central nervous system while giving us tools to grow stronger and more flexible in body, mind and spirit.

“Slowing down is the same thing as waking up.” —Judith Lasatar

View Class Schedule


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A Holiday to Learn From

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Point to Ponder:
What president can you learn from?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

It’s no secret that I am a quote junkie. Besides a story of hope, perseverance and courage, there’s nothing that gets me more fired up and inspired than a good quote or a book of quotes!

Tomorrow, February 20th is President’s Day, a national holiday. Originally, President’s Day was founded in honor of George Washington’s birthday (his birthday is February 22), however it has since morphed into a day to celebrate all United States presidents. Unfortunately though, as most national holidays have become, President’s Day is overshadowed by commercial sales and the opportunity to enjoy a three day weekend. None of these are wrong, as a sale and three consecutive days off are glorious, however the opportunity to truly observe the day for it’s primary focus has become diluted, overlooked, and even obsolete.

In an effort to bring attention to and honor our nation’s presidents and absorb their wisdom and inspiration, I’ve created a top 25 United States President’s quotes list. My personal favorite president is Abraham Lincoln. In fact, if he were alive I’d volunteer to be his full time protege! His integrity, wisdom, courage and love for family and country is awe-inspiring, so you will see a few extra quotes from him.

Therefore, without further adieu, I hope you enjoy the words of wisdom from our nation’s presidents, all of whom were not perfect (who is, right?!), however their service and wisdom are commendable and worthy of pause, reflection and great gratitude.

“Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.” –George Washington

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book wisdom.” -Thomas Jefferson

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”  -Abraham Lincoln

“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air. ” -John Quincy Adams

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight–it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Great lives never go out, they go on.” -Benjamin Harrison

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” -Abraham Lincoln

“If wrinkles must be written on our brow, let them not be written on our heart. The spirit should never grow old.” -James Garfield

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

“The harder the conflict the greater the triumph.” –George Washington

“Try and fail but don’t fail to try.” -John Quincy Adams

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorns bushes have roses.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Be patient and calm. No one can catch a fish with anger.” -Herbert Hoover

“It’s amazing what can get accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit.” -Harry S. Truman

“Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”  –Abraham Lincoln

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” -John F. Kennedy

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.” -Ronald Reagan

“If you look for the bad in people and expect to find it, you surely will.” -Abraham Lincoln

“If your going to think anything, think big.” -Donald Trump

“The best way not to feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope and you will fill you with hope.” -Barack Obama

“Use power to help people. For we are given power not to advance our purposes, not to make a great show in the world, or a name. There is but one just use of power and that is to serve people.” -George W. Bush

“In the end, it’s not the years in the life that count. It’s the life in the years.” -Abraham Lincoln
“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is to never quit, never quit, never quit.” -William J. Clinton

“We are a nation of communities….a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.” -George H. W. Bush


Action Item:
Learn something from a former president that you can apply to your life.


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Being “Good Enough”

Encouragement from the iGnite Archives: March 2012

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Point to Ponder:
Do you struggle with feeling “good enough”?

Amy Younkman

by Amy Younkman

Have you ever struggled with the feeling that you are not “good enough”?

I recall being in 3rd grade and feeling sadly disappointed with all A’s, and a B in Penmanship on my report card. I thought my handwriting was good, but it wasn’t “good enough.” As a teen I struggled with feelings of self-worth and self-acceptance. I was never “thin enough” or “confident enough.” Then, as a busy Mom of three, one of my favorite free-time activities was training for triathlons. One year, I placed 3rd (in my age group) in a sprint triathlon and decided I could do better, so I trained harder. The next year I came in 2nd place and elusive 1st place was never an option, as the triathlon series was discontinued. Equally elusive were my feelings of being “good enough.”

I now know why God graced me with my three children. They were pre-destined to be some of my greatest teachers. At age 16 and in a fit of frustration, I recall my oldest daughter blurting out “Nothing is ever good enough for you!” Taking the comment to heart, I began a long, slow journey of learning to let go of desired outcomes and needing to control what I perceived as the necessary end result. I passionately want the best for my kids and for myself, therefore I continually struggle to ease up on my expectations and instead, to learn the lessons the present has to offer.

Meanwhile, the little voice in my head continues to taunt me… “Are you really a good enough Mom, wife, friend, yoga teacher??”  I have to stop, breathe and ask for help. I realize I am an imperfect human who, though flawed, does the best she can with a faith-filled heart. And then I offer the rest to God. Doing this frees me from the need to be perfect and in control. Divine design is constantly working through me, and I am only a small vessel amidst a fleet of God’s angels.

My yoga mat is a laboratory for my life. Every day offers new experiments and discoveries. I have found immense peace of mind through merely showing up on my mat, paying attention to my breath, and letting my body guide me as it opens and unfolds in it’s own time to receive grace. Learning to receive is a lesson unto itself. I don’t have to be a superstar on the mat; just showing up, willing to learn is “good enough.”

The beauty I have found in iGnite is that we don’t measure success by inches lost, pounds shed, or winning times; instead we focus on nurturing relationships, finding fun in the every day, and being fed in body, mind and spirit. If we can do that, it is most definitely “good enough.”

I challenge you to look at your own life vocation and ask yourself, “Am I good enough?”  Today may be different from yesterday, or tomorrow. Accept yourself in the here and now, realizing you are a work in progress and God is not yet through with you.


Action Item:
Accept yourself in the here and now, realizing you are a work in progress and God is not yet through with you.


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A Different Kind of Cleanse

jan22_2017

Point to Ponder:
What is there from 2016 that you do not need to bring into the New Year?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Whether you are iGniting in Austin or in San Diego, both cities have experienced severe and very scary droughts as well as incredible recent rainfalls. For Austin, a fierce drought that started in 2011 ended in May, 2015, and in San Diego, off and on the city has been bone dry, but especially since 2014. When my family moved to San Diego in August 2015, I vividly remember driving to our neighborhood that sits in a valley of rolling hills and canyons and being confused. What I thought was going to be lush, green fields of Birds of Paradise, was instead brown, hot, dry and dusty terrain. What I didn’t realize was that San Diego was in a drought, which is what makes the current rain so extraordinary. Amazingly, the drought has been lifted!

For sure, too much of anything is too much: too much rain can be depressing and too much sun can also have a similar effect, but there’s one thing that’s certain, and it’s that the weather is wonderfully unpredictable, which leads me to the opportunities that the recent rainfall and somewhat crazy weather has given each of us (especially the extreme winter highs and lows in Austin).

For starters, weather always serves as a brilliant reminder that as much as we might like to be in control, we never are, and to quote Austin Meteorologist Troy Kimmel, he said, “I’m convinced that Mother Nature likes to remind us that we don’t know everything.” And thank goodness for that! As much as I often times wish I had a crystal ball so I can be adequately prepared for everything that comes my way, one of the sweetest parts of life is seeing how it reveals itself and the necessary lessons, opportunities and surprises that unfold. Like weather, the surprise can be a gorgeous sunny day or much needed overcast cloudy and rainy day to force us indoors to rest. Thanks to the rain in San Diego, excitingly we’ve been able to wear our rain boots and use our umbrellas- Whew!! Furthermore, thanks to the heavy rainfall on Friday, class was moved indoors and I was able to teach one of my personal favorites that I haven’t taught in San Diego yet– Cardio Kickboxing. It’s always good to mix it up!

Next, weather shows us that like in life, there are fruitful times of great harvest and times of substantial scarcity. It’s never always one way or the other, but instead, life is a constant ebb and flow of “Amazing, we did it, give me a high-five!”, to my toilet not working because Barbie was flushed down it. Yep, that recently happened in our house, because anything goes when you have a sassy and unpredictable three year old who out of the blue makes Barbie her archenemy.  As a dear friend recently coined, at times our lives can feel like a flat-out disaster, and then within minutes, things can shift and we can experience our best day ever. And so, what I feel like weather teaches us is to be flexible, open to change and to manage our expectations. This is not at all to suggest that we should have low expectations, but instead, we should expect highs and lows and rain and sunshine. Weather gives us the refreshing perspective that change can be good, change is inevitable and nothing is permanent. Some days will be fruitful while others not–and that’s the consistency of life.

Finally, rain presents two important roles: it’s cleansing and nurturing. Like a baptism, rain gives us an opportunity for renewal and growth and as a result of the recent rains that we have received, I feel like Mother Nature has given us the ideal opportunity to cleanse ourselves from anything that we cannot control and/or things that do not serve you. Some examples are: a relationship, unrealistic expectations you have placed on yourself, people’s opinions and actions, assumptions, unrealistic expectations that other people have placed on you, guilt, pride, resentment, negativity, control, trying to please others, taking things personally, social media, gossip, busyness, comparison, and anything obligatory that is left over from 2016 that you transferred to your 2017 list that doesn’t excite you. It’s all your choice, which is the best part!

I can only speak for myself, but I am amazed that we are only twenty-two days into 2017. Normally, time feels like it flies by, but for me, I love that it’s only Jan 22. Technically, it’s still the New Year, which means that I have plenty of time to set my 2017 intentions and goals, but for now, I’m going to create space for 2017 surprises by following Mother Nature’s lead and spend time determining what I need to let go of–the unproductive thoughts, behaviors and actions that need to be washed away with the rain and will allow my body, mind and spirit to be cleansed, nurtured and refreshed. I sure hope you will join me! (If you’re interested in a physical cleanse that will also benefit your mind and spirit, I encourage you to join us in our 10-day Self-Care Body Re-Boot, taking place in Austin from Feb 2 through Feb 13. Couples are welcome!!)


Action Item:
Make a list of the behaviors, thoughts and actions that do not serve you and work on letting them go.


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