5 Pillars of Bapitste Yoga: On and Off the Mat
It has been a while and I have not forgotten to share my insight on the fifth pillar of Power Yoga. I suppose I have been in the flow of my practice and teaching and not so much in the flow of writing.
The 5 pillars of Baptiste Yoga give me access to getting back to my commitments and making things happen. Let me show you how!
For a refresher on each of the pillars, click on the link or images below.
Refocus! It is inevitable that I will loose focus. It may be on writing a blog series, in a balancing pose on my mat, or in a conversation with a student or a family member. My power rests in coming back to the focus, regardless of how long it has been or how far off focus I am.
When I feel challenged, I notice I hold my breath as if the space without breath will create a vacuum to suck up the resistance and difficulties I face. In truth, a deep breath both calms me and gives me the energy to get back into whatever game life is letting me play. Inhale...write!
I use my hands, feet, and core! Activation and focused use of energy support my physical body on the mat. In order to make this blog article happen, I must take action. I ground down in front of my laptop and activate my fingers. The action causes results that you are reading now.
Once I focus, breathe, and get into action, something shifts. And many times things get even more difficult. I want to come out of the pose or stop typing and get a snack. Yet, when I encourage myself to continue mindfully, the heat of the moment gives rise to something magical.....
That something magical is the flow of life. On my yoga mat, I am able to move with more ease and more energy. When writing, the words come out and I am able to drop concern for what it will sound like. From my own essence, I can fully express myself!
Vinyasa | The Essence of the Practice and Life
Vinyasa is the sanskrit word for flow. When put into place, the first four pillars of Baptiste Yoga give rise to vinyasa. I know when I am in the flow on my mat because I feel it. What I feel is a sense of power balanced with ease, focus balanced with freedom to move in ways that feel natural, and reality balanced with joy and gratitude. I get a sense that I am alive and nothing else really matters. Concern about what I look like or if I am good enough are simply not present. From this space of flow, I have freedom to be creative and express my unique and authentic self. And then it stops...and I check back in. I ask myself are the five pillars of Baptiste Yoga present? This bit of inquiry gives me access to go back to the first step: drishti..., ujjayi..., bandhas..., tapas....and...pause, focus, breathe, stay in action, even when it seems challenging...ahh....there it is.... flow.
Just as the waves of the ocean and the streams of the Earth's rivers change, so does the flow of life. It speeds up and slows down and it rises and falls. I am most powerful when I stay in the flow rather than resisting the current. And I have less stress and more fun too!
I am often asked what is different about Baptiste Yoga compared to other styles of yoga. I know from my physical experience on the mat that the Baptiste practice has something magical that I cannot seem to find in other practices. I am confident that the pillars are key components of this magic.
When I teach (and teach new yoga teachers to teach), I implement the 5 Pillars of Baptiste Yoga into my classes. The result is a powerful flow. Students seem to be able to move with the qualities of water - both gentle and strong and with life-giving purpose. This does not mean that the practice does not get messy and that balance is not lost. In fact, I encourage messiness and loss of balance. And when these occur in the presence of flow, that is all they are; a missed posture, a left leg instead of a right leg, a step out of the pose. While in flow, there is access to move on, to switch legs, to step back into the pose. Energy is not lost, rather lessons are gained and we experience life as it flows through us.
Where in your life do you flow and what is it that allows you to flow? Where in your life do you feel resistance? Consider implementing the 5 Pillars of Baptiste Yoga. The real magic is that the pillars support you in all areas of your life.