The Power of Baptiste Yoga
One of the most powerful things we can do is share.
Our mistakes. Our victories. Our demons. Our "two-cents." Our meals. Our stories. It creates a doorway for others to walk through and shout, "Me too!" The result is not only feeling less alone, but also inspired to take action.
We hope--no, we know!--that when you read Sharon Miller's story of how Baptiste Yoga dramatically changed her life for the better, you'll feel not just more connected, but full of possibility.
I have had multiple challenges throughout my life, as have many people.
Particularly, I have struggled with my body weight, which has affected my self-esteem. I've been practicing yoga since 1998 and received my first 200-hour yoga teacher certification in the fall of 2000. At that time in my life, I was 218 pounds. Also at that time, I was working twelve hour shifts in the Intensive Care Unit. During teacher training, I realized how stressful my job was and the impact it was having on my health. A friend called and said she was leaving her cardiac rehabilitation position at our hospital. I took on her role, changing to a part-time job and loosing a third of my pay. Reducing my stress was more important than making money.
I started losing weight--about twenty pounds--while going to Weight Watchers. I was exercising regularly on the treadmill, lifting weights, swimming, and bicycling. Then, a friend of mine said there is a new yoga studio in town called Wicked Good Yoga and it is hot power vinyasa. "'Hot' power yoga?" I said skeptically. "I don't know if I will be able to handle the heat?" I had a few other excuses and she called me on them. On March 6, 2011, I took my first Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga class.
I met Melanie Burns, the owner of Wicked Good Yoga. Melanie is a special woman whose soul is gifted with intelligence, wit, and a psychology degree. She possesses a true understanding of the power to heal our own bodies, minds, and spirits through yoga. When I started, I was not able to do Chattarunga, Up Dog, to Down Dog. It was all I could do to push my self up to a table top position, then onto Downward Dog. To hold a Down Dog for five breaths felt like forever. I couldn't wait to get to Warrior One because I knew I could hold that for a few breaths. But, perseverance being one of my strengths, I kept going.
I worked hard; I practiced five to seven days each week. I noticed myself becoming stronger, working with my body weight while getting calmness and peace of mind from the practice at the same time (much better than the gym). I participated in the studio's 40 Days Program. I read Baron's words and shared my weight struggles with the group. I remember thinking to myself, When I get my weight down, I will be able to do that pose better. One of our journal questions was: "What are my beliefs about my body?" "It feels very heavy sometimes" and "too weak" were among my answers.
Another 40 Days question was "Where in my life am I hiding?" I considered it. Maybe behind my "Budda belly?" When I overeat? Behind my weight? I realized that I usually speak my truth, except to myself. Getting honest was essential to my moving forward.
Today, as I review my journals from then, I see years of change and evolution. I am amazed at what I've accomplished in such a small period of time, simply through yoga. Thanks to Baron, Melanie, the Wicked Good Yoga community, and myself, I'm now 148 pounds. I have met my goal weight, the one I've had for years. I am able to do Sun Salutations with power and am beginning to roll over my toes. I am able to hold Downward Dog much longer and not feel like I am going to fall. In fact, I actually like Downward Dog! Through Baptiste Yoga, I accessed awareness, confidence, increased physical and mental strength, a more flexible body, peace, and, of course, my ideal body weight.All I had to do was keep showing up.