I'm proud of you

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

I'm proud of you. Yes you, and you. In the past two weeks I've watched as my global Baptiste Yoga community has pivoted 180ยบ in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Studios who have never recorded video, never put any digital content online, teachers who have never made audio recordings of their classes - have all shifted, pivoted, reimagined, reinvented and transformed their brick and mortar spaces into digital spaces where anyone, anywhere can join in from where they are and have the experience of Baptiste Yoga.

As I sit at home, under a Safer At Home order I marvel at the plethora of choice I have for yoga classes via Zoom, Facebook Live, Instagram TV, YouTube Live and the list goes on and on! I've found myself cross referencing studio locations and time zones so that I can make an accurate list of the options I have for who's class I want to take! Even Baron and his son Malachai will be co-leading a fundraising yoga class for the Baptiste Institute Sunday April 4th!

I was thrilled to be able to finally take a class led by Austin Kapetanakis at Real Hot Yoga in Hoboken, NJ. Austin and I were at the same Level 1 & Level 2 Baptiste Programs and were also on team together,  apprenticing the Level 1 Baptiste Program at Menla in 2018. I'd been bugging him to record his class audio as far back as 2016 when he started teaching at 5 Boro Power Yoga. I have plans to take classes with my friends and teachers in Austin, NYC, Cupertino, Santa Barbara, Alberta and Toronto Canada, Boston, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Columbus!!

So many teachers have written about overcoming fears of recording themselves, putting themselves online, having their way of being that the magic is in the room with the people who are there instead of putting it online. Everyone has had their status quo disrupted by forces outside their control and I'm so impressed with how everyone has reacted. Many have created their online virtual yoga offering in less than 48 hours. It is extremely impressive.

Kudos to you for embracing the change, moving with the shift and being up to something bigger than yourself. You have brought Baptiste Yoga to the people who maybe have never done yoga before through free or inexpensive virtual offerings and you continue to keep your local yoga communities alive by connecting through virtual platforms when we are not connecting in person (to slow the Covid-19 contagion)

Thank you. ๐Ÿ™


Here is a link to my home studio - ❤️ All Y'All Yoga in Tampa, FL! ❤️

Yoga In The Time of COVID-19 (online yoga classes)

Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, self-isolate during these uncertain times.

Stay connected to your yoga practice with these internet streamed classes.

Online yoga classes available from all over the globe:

200+ classes with me on YouTube (audio)

Video classes with me on YouTube

Baptiste Yoga Classes on YouTube

Power Yoga Canada

Baptiste Yoga

OM Practice - Heart and Grit

B-1 Yoga - Iowa

Yoga Nidra with Carly Columbres

The Hot Room - Hot Yoga Indianapolis

Anjali Power Yoga

Hot Yoga Plus

Baptiste Power Yoga St. Louis

Bright Heart Yoga Studio

True North Yoga

Down Under School of Yoga

Minnesota Power Yoga YOD Videos

Minnesota Power Yoga Yoga and Meditation Videos

Minnesota Power Yoga March 6 2020

Baptiste Power Yoga Colorado Springs

Vibe Yoga Lounge

Baptiste Power Yoga Pittsburgh

Adrienne Smith Power of Your OM 75 min class

Dancing Dogs Yoga (7 days free access)

Heart & Grit Power Yoga

Cleveland Yoga & Cleveland Yoga Little Italy

Sun State Yoga St. Petersburg FL

502 Power Yoga

Practice Yoga Naples

Chelle Swierz

Fran Ciaccio

Big Power Yoga

Half Moon Power Yoga

Flux Power Yoga

Move. Nourish. Heal.

My personal recommendations:

Bethany Lyons - Lyon's Den NYC
Happy Hour M-F 5-6pm EST
Sunday Service 12:00-1:30pm EST
(choose Online Streaming as class type from Den Tribeca to sign up)
All online streaming classes are free to stream, $20 to purchase link to recording, donations are accepted to support Lyon's Den.

Desirae Pierce - Breath and Body Austin TX
4/1 9:15-10:15a EST
4/5 11-12:15p EST

Sami Lea Konczewski - Down Under School of Yoga Boston
4/1 3-4p EST
4/3 3-4p EST
4/5 9:15-10:30a EST

Austin Kapetanakis - Real Hot Yoga Hoboken NJ
3/30 6-7pm EST

Karen Torrone - 5 Boro Power Yoga
3/30 7:30-8:30pm EST
3/31 7:30-8:30pm EST
4/1 6:15-7:00am EST
4/2 11:45-12:30pm EST
4/4 9:45-10:45am EST
4/5 12:15-1:00pm EST

Pam Rader - SHIFT Power Yoga Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada
3/31 9-10pm EST
4/2 2-3pm EST
4/3 12-1pm EST
4/4 2-3pm EST

Brandon Compagnone - Baptiste Power Yoga Boston
9:15-10:15am EST M-F
9:!5-10:30am EST Sat/Sun

Lauren Brown - BFREE Yoga Austin TX
3/31 5-6:15 EST

G'Nell Price - Practice Yoga Austin
4/1 7-8pm EST

Jen - Breath and Body Austin TX
4/3 7-8am EST
4/4 8:30-9:30am EST

Wed 4/1 5:30p EST

Mary Lyn Jenkins - Big Fish Power Yoga
4/3 9:15-10:15am EST
4/3 12-1pm EST
4/5 4-5pm EST

Darin Fulks - Give Yoga Columbus, OH
4/4 4-5pm EST

Creating An Extraordinary Yoga Class Experience

In October of 2019, I attended the Baptiste Power Yoga Instructor Credential Course held at Practice Yoga in Naples, Florida. I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with 31 other Baptiste yogis as we learned how to create an extraordinary (yoga) classroom experience.

Luca Richards was our program facilitator and this is my takeaway from the weekend program. I'm phrasing my writing in the terms of "I" rather than "you".

The degree to which I will be able to connect with my students is proportional to my ability to stay out of my head and come from the awareness that all humans are intrinsically connected and have the same basic needs. Connecting to other people does not come from my thinking. It comes from being present to the other person and listening to understand. Connecting happens outside of me. It happens out there, where the other people are. My awareness of the relatedness I have with people is happening wherever I am, not just when I'm in a yoga studio. Each interaction I have is an opportunity to connect, cultivate a relationship or observe our relatedness.

The concept of "bridges and pathways" was discussed. The example of a bridge was that if I can get my students to understand that the body alignment of heels up and over toes is applicable in crescent lunge, fish, high plank, low plank then I have accomplished something very powerful. A pathway is a new future, not built on the past or my expectations or how I showed up or how other people showed up. A pathway could be workshopping a pose in a new way with props that allows for play and space for what is possible.

As part of this program, I've been asked to teach all 11 sequences and all of the poses inside those sequences. It was explained to us that something gets created and generated by me teaching the sequence and my level of commitment to leading Journey Into Power as it is written. In each of the 11 sequences, each pose has a peak and is made of a beginning, middle and end. The sequence also represents a whole range of motion for the body. The practice of Journey Into Power can be scaled up or down as needed. The scaling is done by adding or subtracting intensity, range of motion or the length of time for practice.

Instructing an effective class begins by me bringing the practice alive in peoples bodies and minds. The level of power I have in the classroom is dictated by how much time it takes me to transform intention into reality in the student's experience in real time. When the intention of each sequence of Journey Into Power is realized, the yogi is left in a renewed experience of power, vitality and freedom.

Class begins by me acknowledging the participants for being there¹, who they are for me², who I am for them³ and what we will be up to on the mat today⁴. An example of this could look like: "Thank you all for making time for yourselves and coming to your mat today¹. You are an inspiration to me by simply showing up². I will be your accountability partner today³ as we focus on core engagement throughout this next 60 minutes of Journey Into Power⁴."

Timing of the Journey Into Power sequence was discussed as we worked through each of the 11 sequences. The key for the Integration sequence was for me to get the students moving. Once I get the physicalness of the practice implanted, what starts to happen is that I'm allowing for the students to have the experience of their practice, an experience of their self. This is an important point so I will restate it another way. The student's experience on their mat is of their self, not of me. Their most powerful experience will be in their body in their practice, not in what I say,  who I quote or what song I might play.

For reference, here is the chart showing the timing for a 60, 75 and 90 minute Journey Into Power class. I also blogged about this timing and a chart that several other yoga teachers have used to guide their teaching.

Journey Into Power Timing607590
Right away I saw how I'd been been leading less effective classes by putting my focus onto what I was saying that I hoped was powerful or insightful. I'd been spending too much time speaking during Integration. By trying to have a unique file name when I uploaded the class recording, (I often record my classes and post them online) I was putting the focus on me and what I wanted from the class. I now number each Journey Into Power class sequentially (rather than have an preconceived idea for a class title before class starts). This frees me up to teach from the Baptiste methodology and speak to what is happening in the room in real time.

I made a list of guidelines from this program in the form of do instead of do not and in my own words.

Effective Instruction of the Journey Into Power in a Baptiste Power Yoga Class
  • Have a clear purpose for playing music if you do play music
  • Build in active rest and recovery into a beginners class
  • Keep beginner students in the vinyasa, allow them to have their experience (whatever that is)
  • Use essential language. Movement > body part > direction
  • Teach to the middle-strongest students and up. Their energy will empower newer students in the room.
  • Offer a challenge to your students by giving them space to take themselves to their edge (whatever that looks like for them from moment to moment)
  • Teach from Journey Into Power as written
  • During Integration, get the students moving
  • Be with the students in the room and keep the energy moving forward.
  • Allow for flow in Awakening by removing obstructions to movement
  • Organize the students mats with the more experienced students at the front of the room (newer students learn by creating shapes with their bodies)
  • Maintain safe practice space between students mats front to back (a minimum spacing of 12 inches)
  • Reestablish drishti, ujjayi and foundation in the Grounding sequence
  • Establish trust with your students by giving them a clear measure of how many repetitions or breaths will occur for each pose.
  • Count sequentially with the end number first, then count up 1, 2, 3, 4.
  • Switch sides on the second to last number as the transition between sides
  • Room lights are on and delivery strong through Opening sequence
  • Leave people in the experience of themselves
  • In a 75 minute class there is time for one alignment demonstration
  • In a 90 minute class there is time for introducing 2 alignment demonstrations (two minutes max)
  • When sealing the practice, acknowledge your students after the three OMs are complete and all the students' eyes are open. This is an opportunity for connectedness, acknowledge them and make eye contact.
  • Ask if a teacher is open to receiving feedback
    • Make your feedback winnable (something concrete that can be modified)
    • Avoid the keep / stop / start style of feedback and focus on "Is it winnable?"

Scaling Journey Into Power
       Get the students moving
       No holds of poses in Sun Salutations in a 60 min JIP
       Always allow 5 breaths in downward facing dog in each Sun A and between each Sun B
       Scale up/down lengths of holds and breaths in twists
       In 90 min JIP possible alignment demonstration here
      Scale length of holds for 75 or 90 min JIP
      In 90 min JIP possible alignment demonstration here
      Scale length of holds for 75 or 90 min JIP
      Scale length of holds for 75 or 90 min JIP
      Could add Hero's Pose between Camel if desired in 90 min JIP
      Scale repetitions for 75 or 90 min JIP
      Scale length of holds for 75 or 90 min JIP
      5 breaths per pose. This is where the restorative part of the sequence occurs
      Scale length of holds for 75 or 90 min JIP
      Quiet - stillness

It was said that the best place to learn new skills and knowledge is inside of where you'll be applying it - in real situations. That being said, I agree with this and I would highly recommend you take the Baptiste Power Yoga Instructor Course if it happening nearby. Reading this blog post of my thoughts is no substitute for spending a weekend in the work with several dozen other Baptiste yogis!  ❤️

The best headband for hot yoga

This is not a paid advertisement, I just love Manda Bees headbands. If you're like me, the wispy hairs that don't stay put when you're sweating your face off in a hot yoga class drive you absolutely crazy when you're trying to keep your drishti on point and stay cool in the face of a long Warrior Two hold.

I've purchased a few different colors/styles of Manda bees headbands and they're all super cute, stay put and do not pull your hair or give you a headache. They're 100% what they say. No rolling up, no slipping, no pulling and no headaches. It just stays put!

If you've been using those strips of elastic to hold your hair wisps back - switch up your hair management to something that supports a small business entrepreneur and lets you choose from basically a thousand colors and patterns. Everything from basic antimicrobial black to rainbow mermaid scales and they even make extra wide headbands if that's your jam.

40 Days To Personal Revolution

I'm currently enrolled in an online 40 Days To Personal Revolution facilitator training. As part of the 40 Days program, participants are provided recordings to practice yoga at home if they cannot make it to the studio and recordings to use for the meditation practice of the program.

I recorded these meditations to align with the themes of the 40 Days To Personal Revolution and I hope that they will be of use to others who are leading or participating in a 40 Days program.

40 Days To Personal Revolution Week 1 Presence
40 Days To Personal Revolution Week 2 Vitality
40 Days To Personal Revolution Week 3 Equanimity
40 Days To Personal Revolution Week 4 Restoration
40 Days To Personal Revolution Week 5 Centering
40 Days To Personal Revolution Week 6 Triumph

These are also on my YouTube page as well as in all the places you find podcasts online.

As part of the facilitator training, watching these video segments were part of our homework: