Grounded in Love, Gratitude and Service

The room was mat-to-mat. Eager bodies spilled out to fill the lobby. Some were seasoned yogis; some had never set foot in a yoga room. They were just excited for a new studio in West Philly. At the front stood Robyn Freeman, Certified Baptiste Teacher/Leader Teacher Faculty in Training participant/bonafide cancer-beater, sans wig and lit up to lead Hotbox Yoga’s first class at the grand opening of its second location on October 4th.
“It was the perfect match,” Robyn says. “It was everything falling into place.”
RobynThe “match” Robyn points to is more than just she and Hotbox or she and Baptiste Yoga. HBY’s owner and Robyn’s fellow LTFIT-er/friend, Brad Young, had approached her to teach the inaugural class. “‘Pick a non-profit of your choice,’ he said,” recalls Robyn. “It was a no-brainer.” She chose to dedicate the kick-off and its profits to the Baptiste Foundation, Baptiste Yoga’s non-profit arm, whose mission is to share the transformative powers of the practice with undeserved individual and communities through scholarships and community. The Institute’s expansion was announced at the Power Flow Immersion, where Robyn knew she wanted to be a part of it. She just didn’t know what that looked like. Here it was.
“The Baptiste Foundation is grounded in love, gratitude and service, which are also the principles for my life right now,” Robyn shares. “So everything clicked.”
Such stars-aligning clarity has been a recurring theme for Robyn these days. She was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma just three weeks after being accepted to the Leader Teacher Faculty In Training Program. She considered dropping out, then quickly realized she needed it then more than ever. Through Baptiste Yoga, she’s been strengthened by both the support of its global yoga community and the simplicity of its powerful methodology.
“I laugh because I’d heard the Baptiste Methodology, ‘Look, Listen, Give Tools’ hundreds of times and now it’s the biggest piece I pull from. They’ve given me strength when I’ve felt overwhelmed. They’ve given me direction, power and hope. They are why I chose the Baptiste Foundation as the focus for the fundraising class,” Robyn says.
The class was special not just because it was the first both for the new studio and Foundation—which received $426 that day—but also it celebrated Robyn’s completing chemotherapy just a week before. Certified Baptiste Teacher Susan Cosgrove assisted the big day. “The new studio felt like home from the moment I walked into the space,” Susan says. “And Robyn is such a phenomenally powerful teacher, she just exuded welcoming from the moment she took the floor. That’s what community is all about.”
“I told them, ‘You have breath and a heart, so no one here is short-changed,’” Robyn shares of her message to the class. “I said, “You are supposed to be here.’”
Yes you are. Jessica Kenny is a writer who teaches yoga or yoga teacher who writes, depending on the day. For a long time she did neither and was not very happy. She is a Certified Baptiste Teacher in San Francisco and contributes articles to many online and print publications. You can keep up with Jess and her ginger self on her website and Instagram.
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