The Five Pillars of Baptiste Yoga

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The foundation of any solid structure begins with small, simple structures and builds upon them.

The first pillar of Baptiste yoga is DRISHTI.

Drishti is Sanskrit for sight. Where you rest your gaze can shift your balance. When you are focused on where you're gazing, all the distractions around you drop away and you become unmessable with. Set your sight on what you want to have happen and be for it. Seeing your future with your mind's eye is the first step to bringing that future into reality.

The second pillar of Baptiste yoga is UJJAYI.

Ujjayi is Sanskrit for breath. It is described as ocean breath, victorious breath or even Darth Vader breath (because that's also what he sounds like when he's breathing). It is done by inhaling through your nose and slightly constricting the back of your throat as you exhale through your nose. This audible breath allows your mind to quiet as you focus your attention on hearing the sound of your own breath. Yoga with Adrienne has a great video demonstrating ujjayi breathing.

Fun fact: Ujjayi breathing increases the levels of nitric oxide in your noses and sinuses. Higher nitric oxide levels, the less inflammation in your nasal cavity. This means fewer headaches, allergies, and colds. Another way to increase the level of nitric oxide in your sinuses is humming!

The third pillar of Baptiste yoga is BANDHAS

Bandhas is Sanskrit for body locks. Body locks refer to the areas of the body where we can pull in, or hug in the body to engage muscle energy. In Baptiste Yoga, this is often referred to as "Core, Hands and Feet". 
The Bandhas:
  • Hasta Bandha, contraction of the hands - pulling energy up into the body
  • Pada Bandha, contraction of the feet - pulling energy up into the body
  • Mula Bandha, contraction of the perineum - similar to stopping the flow of urine
  • Uddiyana bandha, contraction of the abdomen into the rib cage - pulling the belly button into the spine
  • Jalandhara Bandha, tucking the chin close to the chest - lengthens the back of the neck.

The fourth pillar of Baptiste yoga is TAPAS.

Tapas is derived from the root Sanskrit verb 'tap' which means 'to burn'. Baptiste Yoga is practiced in a heated room (90F/32.2C) to bring about tapas. The heat helps to melt away layers of resistance and get you out of your comfort zone. As your sweat becomes something you notice, the opportunity arises to use it as a way to stay centered and present in the moment. The skills you cultivate in your yoga practice help you to stay patient and present when your life heats up off the mat.

The fifth pillar of Baptiste yoga is VINYASA.

Vinyasa is derived from the Sanskrit term nyasa, which means "to place," and the prefix vi, "in a special way". Often Vinyasa is used as a shorthand reference to moving through the following poses: Chaturanga > Upward Facing Dog > Downward Facing Dog. Vinyasa is also the flow we move through as we make our way through the Journey Into Power sequence on our mats. We flow (vinyasa) and are also intentional about creating the physical foundation of the pose from one pose to the next.

When all of these pillars are combined, Baptiste Yoga begins a transformation of the mind, body and spirit - all within the space of one small yoga mat. Sight clears, breath calms, energy is cultivated, the fire cleanses and the vinyasa washes it all way presenting us with the opportunity for birth, death and rebirth each time we step onto our mats.