Come Back To Center - 50 minute Baptiste Inspired Power Vinyasa Audio Recording #InteropITX

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Here is an audio recording of the 50 minute Baptiste inspired power vinyasa yoga class I taught at InteropITX in Las Vegas, NV. The reading I chose for the class was from the book Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie. The recording was made during the outdoor morning yoga classes I led at Interop. You can hear birds, planes flying overhead and the occasional helicopter. The beautiful sounds of the outdoors made this a very special flow!


Come Back to Center 
Come back to center, that place in you that is still, calm, quiet, and connected.
Your center is a place you can trust. It connects the body, mind, heart, and soul. It connects truth, your inner voice, and the Divine. Your best work comes from there. Your most loving times come from there. Your insights, awarenesses, and guidance come from being there, at that place. Your best decisions and finest moments come from that place.
Your center is a place that is quietly confident, unassuming, spontaneous, and free. It is gentle and kind, but it has the power to defend instinctively against attack.
Your center is a place that is naturally joyful and at peace. It is accepting, nonjudgmental, and it channels the voice of your heart. It knows perfect timing. It knows the rhythm of the universe, the rhythm of all creation, and it delights in its connection to that rhythm.
If you must leave your center to learn a lesson, feel a feeling, or experience something new, do that. Take all the side trips you are called to. But come back to your center when you’re done.
And go to your center first,
before you go anywhere else.”
Excerpt From: Melody Beattie. “Journey to the Heart.”

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Baptiste Level Two - 2017 Phoenicia NY

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Photo via Flickr @marcomagrini
Scouring the internet for coverage of past Baptiste Level Two experiences has uncovered only a few bits of insight. There were two other blog posts that I found, but those websites have gone belly up!

Here are the blog posts that I've been able to find: one, two, three, four.

In short, I know there will be meditation, asana, teaching, singing and a magic carpet ride (I'll figure out what that is soon enough!).

Things I learned from my Level One experiences at Menla last year:
  • The battery powered fan and extension cord were a lifesaver
  • I really only needed to bring one yoga block
  • A soft sided/silicone ice tray was something essential but I'd overlooked!
  • I didn't end up using the mat snaps or all the yoga mat towels I brought (I'll only bring two mat towels this time)
  • Menla provides hand towels for us to use during practice (didn't need the ones I brought)
  • This time I'll use Nescafe espresso sticks instead of the coffee maker (it was a long walk to the cabin/coffee maker!)
  • A clothesline would've come in handy, I'm bringing one this time.
Looking back on the pictures I took at Level One, it is clear that my focus was on uncovering the unknowns about the facilities and lodging at Menla. This time I'll be focusing my attention on the people who are present now that I know what to expect from my Level One experience.

Counting down!


Learn to Release Old Toxins - 60 Minute Baptiste Inspired Power Vinyasa Audio Video Recording

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Here is an audio & video recording of a recent 60 minute Baptiste inspired power vinyasa yoga class I taught at Jai Dee Yoga in Tampa, FL. The reading I chose for the class was from the book Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie.


Learn to Release Old Toxins 
Just as splinters can get embedded in our body, old emotions and beliefs can act like toxins and become embedded in us, too. We may have picked up residue along the way—beliefs we didn’t consciously choose, feelings we weren’t safe enough to feel, toxins from the world around us.
Now is a time of cleansing. Now is the time to heal your body and emotions, your mind and soul.
What beliefs and emotions do you need to heal? Look around at your life right now. What are you thinking? What are you talking about? What issues are cropping up in your life? Who are you talking about? What are you remembering? Who has come back into your life? What hurts? Is that feeling familiar? When have you felt it before?
Once you’ve identified what you’re feeling and thinking, release it. Let the energy go. Let it leave your body. You can chatter all you want about what’s going on with you, but that doesn’t release the energy from your system anymore than talking about a splinter takes it out. Sometimes the process will sting just a bit when you pull out the splinter. But don’t worry. It won’t hurt for long. And soon you’ll feel better than you’ve felt in a long while.
Often the process of releasing old toxins can be as gentle and natural as the way a flower or tree grows with sunshine and rain, a bit of fertile soil, and a little pruning and weeding.
Growth can be gentle now. Growth
can be fun. Breathe in new air. Breathe
in new energy. Exhale the past, its feelings,
beliefs, and toxins. Let it go. Let
yourself be transformed.
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Indra's Net - 60 Minute Baptiste Inspired Power Vinyasa Audio Video Recording

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Here is an audio & video recording of a recent 60 minute Baptiste inspired power vinyasa yoga class I taught at Jai Dee Yoga in Tampa, FL. The reading I chose for the class was from the book Thirty by Emily Maroutian.

The section was titled #204 Lesson
The concept of interconnectedness is described by many different metaphors from various schools of thought. My personal favorite one is called Indra’s Net. Indra is a Vedic God who created the universe as a giant web. At each vertex, where the strings meet, there is a giant reflective jewel. Each jewel reflects all the other jewels within the web. Like giant mirrors, they hold each other’s images within them. One cannot be smudged, changed, cracked or removed without effecting all the others. This is a metaphor for the interconnectedness of humanity. We cannot smudge someone else’s jewel without that being reflected within us as well. What we do to others, we do to ourselves.

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What Is Baptiste Yoga And Why Should I Care?

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Baptiste yoga is named after its founder Baron Baptiste. He was born into a family of yogis. His father; Walt Baptiste was a world famous body builder and Mr. America and his mother; Magana Baptiste were the co-founders of the first ever yoga studio in San Francisco, CA in 1955.

Today's Baptiste yoga is practiced in a heated room (90F) and is an alignment based (born from Baron's studies Krishnamacharya; the father of Ashtanga yoga), power vinyasa yoga practice.

Commonly the sequences of poses varies from class, but a Baptiste class will align closely with the sequences laid out in the Journey Into Power flow designed by Baron Baptiste. Music isn't often used during a Baptiste class (but it can be) since there is an emphasis on slow, steady breath. It is a magical thing to lead a class of yogis breathing ujjayi breath in unison. The sound of breath is more powerful than any song that could be played..

Baptiste yoga classes are not described in terms of beginner or advanced, the Baptiste flow can be practiced by any and all yogis. Blocks, straps and blankets are all props which can be used in the Journey Into Power sequence.

A Baptiste yoga teacher does not practice from their mat while they are leading the yoga class. They will hold space for all the yogis in the room while looking, listening and giving tools to the yogis on their mats in order to expand the students' practice. This may mean giving a hands on assist to square the hips or to deepen a half pigeon pose, or it could mean additional verbal cues to enhance a yogi's alignment without a physical assist. It also means watching the flow unfolding and teaching to the who is present; offering modifications or offering enhancements depending on the yogis in the studio at the moment. A Baptiste teacher will move continually through the room guiding the yogis from one pose to another, encouraging them to try something new, shift their gaze, approach the flow as a beginner where anything is possible.

Often Baptiste studios will supply cool lavender towels to the yogis at the end of class. Once all the students have settled in to their final pose (savasana), the yoga teacher will place a cool lavender towel on each yogi's forehead as the closing sign of the rebirth and renewal of savasana. The towel cools the yogi's forehead, blocks any ambient light from their eyes and provides the relaxing scent of lavender. From my perspective, the experience of receiving this gift transforms a challenging yoga class into an experience of gratitude, loving care and empowerment.

It has been my experience that yoga teachers trained in the Baptiste style are encouraging, uplifting, positive, energetic, grounded, attentive and aware (just to list a few adjectives!). They are tuned in to your practice, encouraging you to try new things, be up to something bigger than yourself. This style of teaching can be a powerful experience for a student (I know it was for me!).

I moved to Tampa (two years ago this April) with the full realization that there was not a Baptiste yoga studio anywhere in Tampa. I looked upon this situation as an opportunity and decide to enroll in yoga teacher at Jai Dee training fifteen days after I'd arrived in Tampa. I have a burning desire to give back to the world what I have received from a Baptiste yoga practice. When I graduated from YTT training, I was teaching from the mat. This left me at a disadvantage because I could not interact with any of the students or see how they were moving through the asana sequence. When I came back from Baptiste Level One training, I had developed the skills needed to teach off the mat, but was not yet confident to perform hands on assists. After I took part in the Art of Assisting weekend intensive at Hot Spot Power Yoga in Jacksonville, I came back to Tampa ready to impart my knowledge of hands on assists.

The journey towards Baptiste certification is a long one. The prerequisites for achieving a Tier One 200 hour certification are:

  • LEVEL ONE: Journey Into Power (96 hours)
  • LEVEL TWO: The Sannyasin’s Journey (112 hours)
  • Art of Assisting (50 hours)
  • A Letter of Recommendation to apply for Tier 1 Certification
  • Proof of 1 year or 100 classes teaching the Journey Into Power sequence prior to applying for Tier 1 Certification
  • Proof of 1 year or 100 classes practicing the Journey Into Power sequence prior to applying for Tier 1 Certification

As I chart my progress towards each level of certification, I see each class I teach as an opportunity to develop the skill of looking, listening and giving tools based on who is in the class at that moment. I achieved Baptiste Yoga Tier One Certification in December of 2017.  I began my journey the first day I stepped onto my mat and that feels like it was just yesterday. My yoga anniversary is June 9th, 2012. I took my very first class at Breath and Body Yoga in Austin Texas, with Desirae teaching that day and I've never looked back.