Creating An Extraordinary Yoga Class Experience

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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
INTEGRATION222
AWAKENING81012
VITALITY5810
EQUANIMITY558
GROUNDING588
IGNITING8810
STABILITY355
OPENING8810
RELEASE555
REJUVENATION5810
DEEP REST6810
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.
Feedback
  • 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
INTEGRATION
       Get the students moving
AWAKENING
       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
VITALITY
       Scale up/down lengths of holds and breaths in twists
       In 90 min JIP possible alignment demonstration here
EQUANIMITY
      Scale length of holds for 75 or 90 min JIP
      In 90 min JIP possible alignment demonstration here
GROUNDING
      Scale length of holds for 75 or 90 min JIP
IGNITING
      Scale length of holds for 75 or 90 min JIP
      Could add Hero's Pose between Camel if desired in 90 min JIP
STABILITY
      Scale repetitions for 75 or 90 min JIP
OPENING
      Scale length of holds for 75 or 90 min JIP
RELEASE
      5 breaths per pose. This is where the restorative part of the sequence occurs
REJUVENATION
      Scale length of holds for 75 or 90 min JIP
DEEP REST
      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

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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

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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:




Inspired Signage - Baptiste Power Yoga

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Some months ago I came across this post on Facebook about the artwork of Scott Froschauer. I got inspired based upon the artwork of his I saw and made some stickers via Sticker Mule which have a decidedly Baptiste Yoga spin on them. Some of them are pictured above, the best of them I've uploaded to Flickr as PNG files so that you can use them as you see fit.

Inspired Signage

I also uploaded the other Baptiste Yoga artwork I've made into this Flickr photo album. Click through to see all of the images in each of these Flickr albums!

Baptiste Yoga


Baptiste Journey Into Power Yoga Sequence Timing With Clock Face Chart

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Recently I saw this posting in a Facebook group for Certified Baptiste teachers. First off, this is David's first post to the group and my reaction was along the lines of "WHY HAVE I NOT SEEN THIS AS A TOOL UNTIL TODAY??" What an amazing first post!!!! When I thought it couldn't get any better, Brittany posted a video of a version of the timing tool she'd gotten from a friend who was part of the Fit To Lead program. The beginning of the Journey Into Power timing clock is designed to be rotated to wherever the class start time is!!


Then as if that wasn't enough, Alice posted her clock face charts for 75 and 90 minute JIP class timing! Her clock face timing didn't include the Release portion of JIP so I took the liberty of taking a minute here and there from the other portions of JIP to give some time to Release. It's a portion of JIP I often find myself "not having enough time for".

I took these various clock face timing tools and re-created them in Photoshop so that if you want to make your own rotating clock timing tool, you can! These JIP timing "clock faces" can be printed on transparent film (either for laser jet printers or ink jet printers), cut to fit the clock face blank (below) and secure them together with a paper fastener in the middle of the clock. Then you can spin the class start time to any point on the clock face! Of course this is a guideline for JIP. Teach to what is happening in the room, but this clock face may help you strengthen your skill of knowing how much time is still available to you and your students.

60 Minute Journey Into Power

75 Minute Journey Into Power
90 Minute Journey Into Power

Blank Clock Face
60 Minute Journey Into Power on Clock Face
Now with YouTube video showing how it can look if you print these images on transparency film!


Journey Into Power Timing 60 75 90
INTEGRATION 2 2 2
AWAKENING 8 10 12
VITALITY 5 8 10
EQUANIMITY 5 5 8
GROUNDING 5 8 8
IGNITING 8 8 10
STABILITY 3 5 5
OPENING 8 8 10
RELEASE 5 5 5
REJUVENATION 5 8 10
DEEP REST 6 8 10

-updated Nov 2019 after attending the weekend course: Baptiste Power Yoga Teacher Course.

Using A Wired Headset With A Mic To Record Your Teaching

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This is a follow up to my original "How To Record Yourself Teaching Yoga" post, now with another (probably simpler) way to record the audio of you teaching. In my first post, I briefly touched on using an older Apple or Android device to record the audio of your teaching by using a wired headset. You probably have a few wired headsets from previous phones you've bought over the years, you just need to make sure your headset has a microphone in it.


 Newer phones now require adapters to use 3.5mm wired headsets because they've stopped putting headphone jacks into phones. Which adapter you need depends on what kind of phone you have.

For this example, I'm using an old pair of Apple headphones which also have a microphone. I taped the wire from the mic to the earbud back onto itself to make it neater. The earbuds still work so I didn't want to cut them off of the headset wire. If the earbuds didn't work anymore, I could cut them off so the microphone would be the only part of the headset wires I'd use.


I slipped a tiny binder clip over the microphone wires so I could clip the mic to my shirt.


You could any number of things to keep the mic secured to your shirt. Safety pin, duct tape, gaffers tape, a clothespin - basically anything you've got on hand to keep the mic securely fastened to your neckline so your recording won't be muffled by your clothing.

Apple devices have the Voice Memos application already installed by default. I downloaded and installed a free Voice Recorder application on the Motorola Android device I used in this example.

The device you're using to record your audio should be put into Airplane mode, have the screen locked and then you can tuck it inside the waistband of your leggings or pocket of your shorts while you're recording your teaching. The device you use to record your teaching audio cannot be the same device you're using to play music into the studio (if you teach with music) because it is not possible to stream bluetooth music from a device and record an audio input to the same device at the same time. You probably have an older phone you're not using which can be repurposed into a voice recorder.

Here are the steps you can use on an Apple device to use the Voice Memos application to record your teaching, save the file, export the file off your phone so that you can share the recording with other people. I find it easiest to use Dropbox to save files from my devices, but there are many options (Google drive, AirDrop). I would caution against trying to send your recording via Mail or Message because the file size of your recording may be larger than what is supported by Message or Mail.


Here are the steps with an Android device as an example:


Once you have the audio recording copied onto your laptop or PC, you can refer to my post on "How To Edit Your Yoga Teaching Audio File" so that it will be ready for sharing with others.

If you are interested in sharing your audio recordings as a podcast, here is a post I wrote "Sharing Yoga Teaching Audio Recordings As Podcasts". If you're not interested in paying for your audio to be hosted/shared as a podcast, you can always upload your recordings to Mixcloud like Will Martin is doing.


Creating a Yoga Teacher Resume

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Where to begin? There are lots of articles giving advice on what to put on your teaching resume, but not that many free tools to help format your data. This website was okay, but I didn't really like the look of any of their formatting examples. I liked the examples listed in this post, but the two templates shown didn't really grab me.

I liked the way this resume looked, but all I could find was an image of it on Pinterest. I used the formatting layout shown in the image to write my resume, tweaked the formatting a bit, and then I converted the Word document into a template that you can use to write your resume (assuming you also like the formatting of the resume as much as I did).

Yoga Teacher Resume Template MS Word

I put a couple of image placeholders in the template. If you have a logo, use it, otherwise just delete that image from the header of the document. If you have any problems using this template, reach out to me and I'll be glad to try and help you.


The AuraCamera 6000 System

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I love this quote by Arthur C. Clarke and it is especially fitting for this blog post.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -Arthur C. Clarke"

This post has been a long time coming. I first came across the AuraCamera 6000 System at the Tampa Body Mind Spirit Expo in 2017. Its construction looks like something made for the military industrial complex:  machined aluminum parts, big and boxy. The Internet tells me it was hand built and invented by Guy Coggins back in the 1970s. Clearly visible is the back of a Polaroid EE100 Special Land Camera which is the camera part of the AuraCamera 6000 System. I recognized it because I own the very same Polaroid camera. The subject of the aura photograph sits on a folding chair and places each of their hands on hand shaped metallic sensors. Their photograph is taken and the colors which appear around their head in the photograph are purported by the photographer to be the subject's aura and have great meaning.

Knowing that auras are pseudoscientific in nature, and therefore not actually a real thing, I got curious about the inner workings of the AuraCamera 6000 System, what methods it used to flood the portraits with colored light and how much money did this setup cost. I've seen Polaroid EE100 Special cameras sell for as little as $10 on Ebay and I started to wonder what kind of Hackaday.io project could be launched to crowdsource a DIY version of the AuraCamera 6000 System. But I digress...

The website that has the AuraPhoto 6000 System for sale doesn't have a lot of technical information on how the camera photographs a person's aura, but I think their initial disclaimer is pretty clear: "This page is written according to people’s belief in metaphysics." Read: The rest of what you read here will assume you believe in auras and pseudoscience. The technical information they do include is limited to this:

"...measures readings from a hands sensor and exposes those readings as an aura representation to film instant film photograph."

"Our aura reading machine uses a hand sensor, as seen to the image to the right. A person would put their left (or right) hand onto the hand sensors. This, in turn, would allow a particular product to measure physiological parameters. The hand sensor itself has various contact points on them designed to maximize reading accuracy. The hand sensor is also sensitive to deviations in temperature, humidity, and static electricity in the environment and the person..." 
"These data parameters are then projected as a radiant, colored aura field around the body" 
"In short, these kinds of technology can measure physical readings from a person’s hand. The aura camera or video device can then display this information as a colorful field around your body. The colors represent our interpretation of your spiritual and auric state."
AuraCamera 6000 System

In short, the temperature, moisture level or static electricity level of the subjects hands, or the room are the measurements used to generate a given color or colors which are then electronically fed to the camera by the camera control board. It is my assumption that a series of LED lights generate the colors that show up on the person's portrait, but I cannot say for certain, as I haven't disassembled an AuraPhoto 6000 System Camera. What I can say is that there is nothing supernatural about a camera that uses skin capacitance as input data to generate a colored output on Fuji Type 100c instant film. Fun fact: capacitive sensing is what makes all of our smart phones, tablets and touch screens detect our finger as a source of input.

I emailed AuraPhoto to inquire about the cost of an AuraPhoto 6000 System. They replied back with this screen capture which shows the list price of the Aura Camera as $15,698. I was told via email that the hand sensors measure "bio feedback items are heartbeat, temperature, measuring the galvanic skin response in the electoral dermal layer. Other proprietary measurements are used that are not shared." (There is no such thing as an 'electoral' dermal layer. Human skin has three layers: epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous).


Setting aside the fact that auras (colors emanating from/surrounding human beings) don't exist and as a result, can't be photographed let's focus on the cost of this camera, the film (it's not cheap) and how long it would take to turn a profit if one were to "invest" in this popular trickery. Handily, AuraPhoto has an Aura Camera Profitability Guide where the cost of each picture is set at $25. They list the cost of piece of film in the film pack as $1.30 which is basically a quarter of what the film costs nowadays.

Fuji is no longer making the FP-100C color peel-apart instant film as of 2016, and stock is limited where you can find it, and prices are climbing. The average cost of film is $48 for a pack of 10 exposures. Each photo costs $4.80 in film alone. The only way to get fresh Type 100C film is to have backed the One Instant Kickstarter which is pricing a 6 pack of film at a staggering $62.55 per pack (that's $10.42 per photo for those keeping track at home). Heaven knows how much it will cost when the product is launched outside of Kickstarter (if that ever happens).

Let's look at the Return On Investment (ROI) calculations on the AuraCamera 6000, using outdated Fuji Type100C film, just for giggles. AuraPhoto's profitability guide looks pretty good until you start factoring in the cost of the camera, expo booth rental and electricity fees, not to mention airfare, hotel and other travel costs. Let's leave out the travel costs and focus on the booth, electricity, camera and film costs to keep it simple.

You'd need to take/sell 450 photographs priced at $35 each, not including the cost of the film ($4.80 a photograph) to pay for the camera. To achieve a break even cost on the camera, one would have to purchase $2,152 in film. That's another 61 aura portraits to pay for the film. Now let's take into consideration the cost of the booth at the Expo fair.

  • Booth Rental $650.00
  • Electricity hookup for booth (directional lighting needed on photo subjects) $100
  • $35 per photo
  • Pictures need to take = 19
  • Cost of film to take 19 pictures = $89

The AuraCamera 6000 System won't turn a profit until the photographer passes the ~500 photo mark, and even then, the cost of traveling to the expo(s) and repeated booth rental costs keep moving the needle on profitability of the camera system. The only place I can think of where having an AuraCamera 6000 System could pay for itself fairly quickly would be the lobby of the Cassadega Hotel. Captive audience, high probability of target demographic foot traffic (believers in paranormal/pseudoscience).

I'm not the first person to write about what a sham the AuraCamera 6000 is. In the manufacturer's own words, the camera doesn't actually photograph a person's aura (which isn't even possible because it doesn't exist). I'm choosing instead to address the steep cost of the unit and the uphill battle to achieve a return on one's investment, given that the camera costs nearly $16K and film is starting to cost $5 a print (if you can find deadstock Fuji Type 100C) and may soon cost $10 per photo for One Instant film.

Does this mean that the next time you have an aura portrait taken, the cost will increase to $45 or $50 (to keep the photographer in the black)? Will anyone pay that price? Could we soon find AuraCamera 6000 Systems turning up on eBay? My guess is yes, because we've seen projects like this pop up in recent years. Another question I keep asking myself is - does the photographer believe they're actually photographing a person's aura, or are they telling themselves that they're taking part in a harmless, capatalistic business venture?

If you're still hungry for more scientific studies into auras, many people have already written about that here, here and here.

Sharing, Not Selling

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 [Body Mind Spirit Expo Tampa June 2019]
This weekend, I did the unthinkable. I bought a booth at the Body Mind Spirit Expo (BMSE) in Tampa and didn't sell anything.

The first time I attended the BMSE, I left feeling frustrated. I thought there should be more people at the event talking about things that will link the body with the mind that don't involve buying anything.

I found a lot of market vendors selling products which were not backed by any semblance of scientific research. The majority of the vendors are selling products which can be described as pseudoscientific at best and dangerous quackery at worst. The exceptions are the booths selling honey, rocks and medical grade ionizer air purifiers.

The second time I attended the BMSE, it was to do reconnaissance on the space, the size of the booths, the general layout of the venue, and to see if anything had changed since the first time I attended. Nope, same vendors, same snake oil.

You must be the change you wish to see, so I plunked down $295 to buy a 6x8 booth in the cheapest section of the expo center (where the psychics and tarot card readers typically are). The purchase of the booth granted me an hour long speaking slot and I chose the topic of "The Science Behind Yoga and Meditation". I gathered up scientific research papers on the documented health benefits of meditation and yoga, as observed in clinical environments and put my slide deck together.

The Science Behind Yoga and Meditation
Slide deck on Slideshare.net http://bit.ly/BMSE_slides

Reference cases:

My presentation, uploaded to YouTube:


It was an interesting experiment to be able to look people in the eye, shake their hand and tell them I had nothing to sell them. I spoke to people about where I teach yoga, where I practice yoga, yoga studios that were close to where they live that I'd recommend (shout out to Warrior One Dunedin, Inside Out Yoga Winter Haven and Lotus Pond), the stack of books I'm excited about, and a few people even took me up on my offer to get on my BMAT Strong and feel the difference between it and the mat you buy from Target. I told people about Baptiste Yoga, why I love it and what it has done for me. I told people about Tribe Seminole Heights, the Community Meditation class I hold there, and the impact they're having in the neighborhood. I also brought my second-hand copy of The Baron Baptiste Yoga Bootcamp Box Set to show to people who had a home practice and were wanting more guidance. I told some other people who hadn't yet developed a home practice that they should check out Yoga With Adriene on YouTube.

I told everyone who was yoga curious about Brené Brown and her Netflix special "The Call To Courage" that they should check out!


Books I recommended:
Perfectly Imperfect - Baron Baptiste
40 Days To A Personal Revolution - Baron Baptiste
Being of Power - Baron Baptiste
Journey To The Heart - Melodie Beattie
Braving The Wilderness - Brené Brown
Nonviolent Communication - Marshall Rosenberg
Exploring Positive Psychology - Erik M. Gregory and Pamela B. Rutledge
Flourish - Martin E.P. Seligman

I gave away a bunch of magnetic cable organizers, You Are Beautiful stickers, stainless steel water bottles (thanks Cisco!), laptop webcam covers and ♥ several  hugs .


My dear friend Laryssa (Journey Into Bliss Yoga) joined me in the booth both days and she shared her love of Ecstatic Dance and handed out flyers for her next Ecstatic Dance date at Factory114!


I met a lot of great people and gave away a lot of information that I'm passionate about and hopefully made a difference by bringing my authentic self to the expo space.



Bringing All Of Yourself To Your Teaching

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Recently a friend of mine attended a yoga class where the teacher said "Yoga is 3 parts, asana, meditation and inquiry. If you are not doing all 3 you are just working out."

I wholeheartedly agree with this. In fact, these are the practices & techniques of Baptiste Yoga.

THE PRACTICES & TECHNIQUES OF BAPTISTE YOGA
1. Physical (Asana):  Journey Into Power as an access to vitality, power & freedom. 
2. Meditation (Dhyana): As an access to getting present & awakening. 
3. Inquiry (Niyama): As an access to discovery & new possibility.

These three tenets are present in every Baptiste Program I've attended. Baron says if a teacher is hiding something from his/her students - they can smell the inauthenticity. Inauthenticity can show up as the teacher pretending to be the "perfect yogi", always striving to say the exactly correct thing, speaking with a "yogic" sing-song intonation because that's what they think their students want to hear or a teacher who does yoga with the class from their mat. News flash: if you're teaching from your mat by doing the yoga - you're not connecting with your students. You can't see them and they can't see you.

When a yoga teacher brings their whole self (the good, the bad, the messy, the silly) to their teaching - it is immediately apparent and allows the students to connect with the teacher through the practice on a whole new level.

When you go to an eight day Baptiste Program like Level One, Two or Three - it is a full immersion in the practices of asana, meditation and inquiry. Throughout the course of the eight days you will experience new insights into you, your behavior, your thoughts and experience new breakthroughs in new ways of being. The time away from the regular routine of life allows for deeper exploration of self, removed from the day-to-day distractions of "getting things done". Being surrounded by 150+ other people who are also in the work of inquiry is extremely helpful when you need to talk about what you're experiencing. The other person is right there in the work with you and is ready to share from their experience of what is happening in the moment.

Outside of attending a Baptiste Program, there are many tools available to do this work of inquiry. It can come in the form of books, meetup groups or card games!

  • Asking for and put into action feedback on your teaching in the form of:
    • Keep (what's working)
    • Stop  (what's not working)
    • Start  (what's missing)
I highly recommend asking for and putting into practice feedback other yoga teachers in your community. Look for those people who will give you honest, constructive feedback and not just tell you that everything you do is amazing.

Take classes at other studios, listen for how the teachers' instructions land in your body. Record the audio of you teaching and take your own class and put yourself in the head space of your students to see how your own words land in your body.

When you teach from your whole self, the act of teaching becomes co-creating a shared experience of yoga. Leading asana in this way "dissapears" the teacher and the space where anything is possible is created. 

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.

Body Mind Spirit Tampa Summer 2019 Expo - Yoga Curious?

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I am excited to say that I will be a speaker exhibitor at the Body Mind Spirit Tampa Summer 2019 Expo at the Florida State Fairgrounds. You're probably wondering why would I do such a thing, well hang in there and I'll explain.

I decided to buy a booth after attending the event twice in 2018 and coming away each time disappointed in the lack of scientifically supported mind-body interventions proven to improve health, happiness and mental well-being (but, boy were there lots of snake-oil and pseudoscientific products for sale!). I got angry at the outright dangerous medical claims several booth proprietors were making about their products/services and went to the Body Mind Spirit Expo website to see what it would cost to buy a booth and bring some truth and science to the event. The cost wasn't prohibitive (but I'm not going to make a habit out of it either) so I decided why the heck not?  It could be fun being the odd duck at the event.

As part of being a booth exhibitor, I will have an hour long speaking/presentation slot. My topic of choice is "The Science Behind Yoga and Meditation", and my presentation content draws from many scientific studies that have been done on the topics of yoga and meditation. When I give the presentation, I'll be recording it and posting it to YouTube afterwards.



My goal is to bring clinically proven, scientific evidence on the benefits of yoga and meditation to the attendees of this event simply because I can and want to.

In my booth I'll have my favorite books:


and my box set of Baptiste Yoga Flash Cards. I'll bring my BMAT yoga mat so people can try it out, I'll have a stack of FREE YOGA CLASS coupons, handouts on "What is Baptiste Yoga", and some JenTechYoga stickers. 

Planned activities for in the booth are:

In preparation for the event, I made a booth banner display stand to make a back "wall" for exhibitor space I've purchased (since the booth doesn't have walls). The backdrop is a banner I made via Redbubble of a NASA Hubble telescope image of the Carina Nebula. I found a DIY blogpost showing how to make the banner stand out of PVC piping (at a cost of about $12 in parts). I decided on the vague, yet intriguing banner title of "Yoga curious?" to hopefully catch people's attention at a distance and make them wonder what the heck that is all about, and come over to my booth and chat with me.

You can find me in the middle of the exhibit hall, back with the psychics (these are the smallest, least expensive booths for rent) and my presentation room is at the front of the hall in Lecture Room 2.



I don't know how my booth and content will be received, but I'm hopeful. This is an experiment in bringing science into a pseudo-scientific jumble sale of magnetsstones and resin paperweights.