I was so honored when Kelly asked me to write “a little something” for her blog about yoga. Yoga has absolutely changed my life. I know, I know it sounds super cliché. But really! The practice has given me the opportunity to give up my lies, my stories, and practice living in my truth.
I started practicing Baptiste Yoga as a freshman in college when a friend invited me to Move Your Hyde Power Yoga in Cincinnati, OH. I went to my first class at 6am one Monday morning and have been hooked ever since. At 97 degrees the studio was the perfect temperature for me in the midst of a crazy winter. Beyond the physical practice there was something deeper for me even in that very first practice. I’m not sure if it was that I was focusing on my breath or the intensity of the postures but for the first time in a long time I actually felt my body. I felt my body and was super grateful for its strength, flexibility, and feedback.
I started to realize when I showed up to my mat that when I wasn’t fueling my body with nourishing food I felt like crap. When I wasn’t getting adequate sleep I felt like crap. It was amazing what feedback I was getting just by showing up and doing the work.
I did my first training, Level One- Journey Into Power, with Baron Baptiste in August 2013. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. The training was so much more than how to teach yoga. It was how to be yoga. The training showed me where in my life I had been inauthentic. Who I was on the mat and how I showed up in the world were completely different.
Yoga means “union” and I was far from that. In my life I was so used to showing up the same way day in and day out. Yet, on my mat, I was always ready to try something new- to be a YES. The work has been to connect these two worlds.
One of the tenants of Baptiste Yoga is to “give up what you must”. When we give up what we must we are truly able to step into our greatness. For me, that has been giving up the lie that I am not enough. I practice this every single day. I actually say, “The lie that I give up is that I am damaged and not enough, my new way of being is of power”. I use it as a mantra to drop the lie and really be of power, to step into the person I want to be. This is just one of the tools I have gained from my yoga practice and trainings.
When I began practicing years ago I felt like something was missing. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was but I knew that my life could be better. Yoga was the missing link for me. It’s given me the opportunity to take a better look at my actions, drop what I know, and be a clearing for growth. While I can’t promise the journey will be the same for you, I do know that the only way to cultivate change is to show up and do the work. Perhaps it’s your turn to show up.
If you are interested in learning more about Baptiste Yoga I invite you to read Baron’s books: Journey Into Power and Being of Power. I would also love to see you on your mat! I teach Wednesdays 7a and 6pm at Salon 01 in Carmel, IN.
Child’s Pose (balasana) is an incredible resting posture. Beyond relaxation it is beneficial for gently stretching the hips, thighs, and ankles. I find child’s pose particularly helpful after a stressful day since it allows me to get centered, drop my thoughts, and just breathe. If you have any issues with sitting on your heels in this pose I recommend placing a tightly folded blanket between your back thighs and your calves.
Downward Facing Dog (adho mukha svanasana) is my favorite yoga asana. It is an energizing pose that simultaneously helps to calm the brain. When the hips are higher than the head it is wonderful for relieving mild depression, reducing stress, and warding off fatigue. Downward dog can also be helpful for digestion and relieving menstrual discomfort.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) is another pose that allows the head to drop below the hips which I’ve already mentioned helps to calm the brain and boost the mood. This pose is also great for stimulating the liver and kidneys (great for detoxing the body!). I love getting out of bed in the morning, raising my arms overhead for a stretch, and then standing in forward bend for a minute or two. It immediately shifts my mood and preps me for the day ahead.
Crow (bakasana) is a pose that I dedicate to having FUN. I don’t know about you but I have my days where I take life a bit too seriously. This pose allows me to drop that extra crap and just get silly. It’s also fantastic for strengthening your arms, core, and stretching the upper back. Beginners tend to move into this pose by lifting their buttocks high away from their heels. In Bakasana try to keep yourself tucked tight, with the heels and buttocks close together. When you are ready to take the feet off the floor, push the upper arms against the shins and draw your inner groins deep into the pelvis to help you with the lift. AND… HAVE FUN! It’s okay to fall over and laugh; it’s good for you.
Extended Triangle (Utthita Trikonasana) stretches the thighs, knees, ankles, chest, shoulders, and spine. So! Basically everything! I love triangle for this very reason. When I’ve spent the day sitting answering emails or driving in the car this is my go-to pose. It lengthens my torso and resets my posture so that I am re-integrated and energized.
Wide-legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana) has my favorite Sanskrit name. It’s just fun to say! Prasarita is an incredible hamstring stretch and quad strengthener. I find this pose to be particularly helpful for “dropping my thoughts”. As I am centered in the pose I imagine all of the stories I’ve carried just drop out the top of my head. It might sound juvenile but this practice has given me amazing results and has allowed me to be more present throughout the day.
Thank you so much Kaitlyn for being a part of this post and for inspiring us all.....I hope this segment will make you feel better and get your thoughts going in a positive mind set...xoxo