The Yoga Map
This is a guest post by Brooke Hamblet, Certified Baptiste Teacher and owner of Indigo Yoga in Fort Worth, TX. Check out Brooke's class "Journey Through the Chakras: Exploring Energetic Anatomy" at the upcoming Baptiste Power Flow Immersion in Estes Park, Colorado, September 22-25. Register now and join Brooke, Baron and a team of Baptiste teachers
In a few weeks, I’m teaching at the Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park on behalf of Baptiste Yoga. Since the average person seems to agree that my little “hobby,” – teaching yoga – couldn’t possibly be a pastime laden with stress and anxiety, it’s not commonly understood that I should feel any pressure or responsibility for having people leave the event inspired, empowered and ready to change the world. And, I do feel those things. Increasingly, as the days draw me closer to the event, because I take the hobby of life-changing very seriously, despite its “organic” cover. People pay good money, they leave partners and children, they take time off from their jobs and lives to come and hear what I and many others in our field have to say. If I saw this gig just as a hobby, I would leave many, including myself – swindled. And so I prepare by studying and immersing myself in my craft. I re-read old notes and journals. I dust off books and manuals. I draw and write and walk and think about what it is that I can say to make someone care enough to give me their time and then be so moved by it that they go out and do something powerful in their lives. I dedicate time and ruminate on how it feels to care about something, and let myself care on a deeply profound level, because I am responsible for making other people care. So, the question is, what do they (you) care about? What brings you to these classes, workshops, conferences, trainings? Is it really (truly?) just that you want to “deepen your practice?” What does that even mean, really? I ask you, yogi, why are you even coming to this thing? You know you’re going to get a t-shirt and some mala beads and maybe even a selfie with Franti. But is that really it? Why are you doing this yoga thing? Because you know something magical will happen. That’s why. Because deep down, in your bones, you know that when you step off the plane in Denver, you are going to be handed a map that will promise you a new journey. And I am part-creator and part-tour guide of that map, even though the destination is up to us to create, collectively. So here’s my hand. Take it. Let’s go together. Let’s ride through your energetic and physical body. Don’t worry about looking at the map; I’ve got that part. You just sit back and enjoy the passage – the one that you, voluntarily and by your own accord, signed up for. First, by way of an embodied yoga practice, we will witness gut feelings and coincidences and luck and fate, all in our physical forms. We will look at how what we feel and perceive shows up in every organ, muscle, bone and cell. Do you believe in all of that? Do you know why your dog howls at the door long before you drive around the bend a mile away from your house? Do you feel a lump in your throat or a pit in your stomach when you have to have a tough conversation? It’s called energy. Accept it or not, it’s in you and me and everywhere, and it has to stay in motion. It has to go somewhere; and it will regardless of your predilection. Your sentient body is richly textured with innate organization skills and it has a brilliant system for helping you manage it. The management tools are called Chakras. Let’s Journey Through them together. Then, we will trek the trails of our muscles and tissues and all the marvelous wonderment of how they work in concert with your brain. I will teach you how to tune in to when you should stay in a pose to heal and strengthen, and when you should gently back out, reconcile your battle with judgment and perfection, and allow your body to just do its job without your constant tenure. Maybe you don’t yet know how foundationally gifted and intelligent the Baptiste sequence of poses is; not to worry, you will have moment-to-moment epiphanies when I get done with you. You will soon see the delicate balance of your entire life through your yoga – how it is either contracting or expanding, narrowing or widening, diminishing or embellishing. This gauge of opposites is found not only in every breath, but every posture and every physiological occurrence. This lesson of give and take is wondrously found in every conversation and relationship. It is most exquisitely found in love. And hope. And acceptance. Let’s start with our body and see where this road takes us in the rest of our life. We will take ourselves into Deep Holds so that we can experience Contraction and Expansion on our mats. We will leave Strong and Healed, and have a new perspective on embracing the dark spaces of resistance in order to let the light come in. On a lovely marble wall in the Denver airport, just as you walk out of baggage claim, there is a quote that I stop, drop my bags and stare at every time I’m there. It reads: I have arrived I am here my destination is in each step. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh (1926). Find me here, waiting for you, at the Baptiste Power Flow Immersion in Estes Park, Colorado, September 23-25.