Baptiste Yogis at the White House Easter Egg Roll
Guest Post by Certified Baptiste Teacher Leah Cullis. More info about Leah at leahcullis.com
There is power in community and power in being for each other. There is power in having shared intentions and aligning to the same energies of love, joy, expression and light. I’m thankful for all I’ve learned and continue to learn in my Baptiste yoga practice and teaching and I’m so grateful for the community of teachers and friends who inspire me and inspired thousands of people at the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday. This week was the 6th year I’ve had the honor of leading the team of yoga teachers to share yoga on the White House lawn. Over 30,000 people get to experience the Obama’s backyard turned into a playground for the day focusing on health, fitness and family fun. And with the opportunity to share big, I turn to and celebrate the people who inspire me.
When there is an opportunity to share yoga in the most powerful place on earth, I know who to call. I know these teachers are for anyone willing to step on their mat and explore. A distinction of a masterful Baptiste teacher is being a teacher and leader who shares and lives their life vividly, dynamically and from the heart; I know that these teachers are for play, full self-expression and fun! They are a stand for practice, for commitment, and authenticity. They will bring everything they’ve got and share from their heart because it’s who they are and it's what we practice.
On Monday we got to put this distinction in action as we hopped like frogs and soared like eagles on the South Lawn of the White House. Each year I’m surprised and delighted to hear more kids share how they are familiar with yoga. They shout out the poses with us and tell us how they practice in school or with their parents. This year we had kids coming back to share with us how they have been practicing since they first did yoga at the White House. As we share the our own experience and love for the yoga, we create a ripple of effect out into the world. On this day we inspired movement, gratitude and play, and we trust these seeds will grow.
One of my favorite parts about being a part of the Baptiste yoga community is the powerful relationships I’ve created with teachers form all over the world. Some of my best friends who know my deepest desires and goals, and who hold me accountable and inspire me to be my best self, are friends I’ve made through attending and assisting Baptiste programs. One vulnerable share can grow into a lifelong friendship. There’s power in moving, sweating, shedding layers together, being seen, and sharing with each other.
This is the power of yoga and community in action. If you've experienced a Baptiste Program yourself, you know the surprising and lasting depth of relationship that can be forged among people in a short time. Here are photos of these special people from the White House Yoga Garden, sharing big and and inspiring me.
- I’m inspired by this fellow Texas yogi and all he’s up to in Houston. He’s got two rockin’ studios there and they just had over 600 people in their 40 Days to Personal Revolution program! He’s on the Yoga Alliance Board and just founded the new online yoga class service Mat2Mat. Roger’s delivering Baptiste Yoga classes his new online Mat2Mat channel coming soon!
- Nicole and I worked together at the Institute and have assisted and attended more programs together than I can count. She’s a dynamite teacher in Seattle and also has a weekly fitness column in the Sunday Seattle Times! She’s also an incredible baker and is in an orchestra. She is a sounding board for me both professionally and personally and gives it to me straight. And she’s one of my closest friends, one of my soul sisters.
- Luca is the Director of Teachers at Bala Vinyasa Yoga in Maimi, FL which is the creation of powerhouse yogini Kiersten Mooney. Luca is also the founder of StandOut Yoga, a non-profit the provides yoga classes and inspired programs for LGTB youth and at risk youth. He makes me laugh, we go deep in conversation and he gives the best assists in the world.
- Chris and I assisted out first Baptiste program together in Mexico in 2009. We’ve spent hours on the phone, in studios, connecting and sharing ideas to expand Baptiste methodology and programs. Chris teaches me so much about building and sharing online, and encourages me to think outside the box. He’s a former sports blogger, knows more about social media than anyone I know and always makes me laugh.
Mary Lyn Jenkins
- Mary Lyn is mama energy to me and lights up my heart. She owns the Baptiste Affiliate studio Big Fish Power Yoga in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Just opened a big new space and leads a powerful team of teachers. Started teaching yoga to inner city youth in the public high school downtown Jacksonville. She mentors mentors for the Africa Yoga Project and is incredibly active in Baptiste programs.
- Jessica and I did our first 4 teacher trainings together as well as our first every Baptiste Level One She leads the team with me for the White House for the last 6 years. She co-leads sold-out teacher trainings multiple times a year for Zuda Yoga in Sacramento, mentors new teachers, consults with studio owners on studio and teacher development, and is one powerful teacher. Stayed tuned for more offerings with the two of us.
All these incredible teachers assist Baptiste programs and share their light in their own communities. Thanks for all the teachers who have inspired me to shine. This is what yoga looks like when we come together to share the light, whether it's one-on-one or at the White House.