This question was asked of me by a student the other day. She specifically wanted to know why we worked from the same sequence every class, and why the room was heated to the temperature that it is. I found myself easily able to answer what I saw as technical questions about the heat and the poses, but I was at a loss for words in describing the “so much more” about Baptiste yoga. I often struggle to articulate just how much this practice has changed my life, and why I do it.
My journey with Baptiste yoga started over 10 years ago at our studio in Lancaster, which at the time was in a tiny room above a tea shop on Mulberry Street. (Shout out to any OG Evolution students who remember that hot room!) I was dragged to a brand new beginners two-hour workshop, in which I struggled HARD. At the end, when I laid in savasana, I began to cry. I was so overwhelmed with feelings, both physically and emotionally. I had never sweated more, been challenged more, yet at the same time felt more empowered prior to that experience. From that moment, I was hooked. Since my first class, I have taken many Baptiste programs and am about to become Baptiste certified. Here’s why:
1. The poses and sequence are amazing. I’ve tried different types of yoga and experimented with different poses that are not in the Journey into Power sequence, and while I think they’re all valuable and interesting in their own way, Journey into Power offers me something new to discover each time, no matter how many thousands of times I have been in the poses. Many people say that you can learn a lot about a few things, or a little about many things. Furthering my journey with Baptiste yoga allows me to keep diving deeper, knowing that I will never find the bottom. I get so fascinated by how the smallest adjustments in alignment can completely transform a pose.
2. The people in the Baptiste community have become like family. These are people who I have shared secrets with, laughed with, and cried with, even after only knowing them for just a few days. It seems kind of crazy, but when you’re all there to do the same work, the need for pretending just falls away and you can be real. This community reminds me that even someone you only meet once can offer you compassion and love.
3. The personal inquiry work and meditation practices of Baptiste yoga have also helped me uncover a lot of things about myself that were standing in the way of being authentic, happy, and connected to others. I have not only gotten rid of some negative beliefs and disempowering thoughts that I had about myself, but I’ve also been able to become a more compassionate person overall. When I am on my mat, I’m not thinking about my depression, my anxiety or stress, how I feel about my body, or any other troubles that cloud up my space. I don’t have the opportunity to think or put my attention on anything else besides the breath I am taking and the sensations my body is feeling in each pose. And I can practice skills on my mat — like patience, perseverance, and self-love — that slowly work their way into my regular daily life.
Baptiste yoga is about so much more than a hot, sweaty, vigorous physical practice. It’s about using that practice to peel away and work out all of the emotional and physical junk that we pile on ourselves so we can become more empowered and free human beings who can relate to other human beings. My mat offers me a safe place to land, an opportunity to listen in for what is in my heart, and that quiet private time that I so desperately crave throughout the day but don’t always get to have. It’s my home — and it can be yours too.