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All Day? An ALL DAY Immersion? Are you kidding? Why should I spend a day immersing myself with Baron Baptiste when I have so much I have to get done before Thanksgiving?
I had just completed a 200-hour Power Vinyasa Teacher Training at a local studio here in Dallas when my teacher mentioned this guy; “Baron Baptiste,” was going to be at the Fair Grounds for an “All Day Immersion” on Saturday.
Having just finished spending three months of weekends immersed in training, I was a little hesitant about signing up for another whole day on my mat, but I was curious – my teacher had mentioned him, I was a newly-registered-fully-trained teacher, a regular bad-ass – so why not? Why not go show them how much I already knew?
I did not realize it then, six years ago, but the end of that first Saturday with Baron and his team at the Texas State Fair Grounds was the start of my new life. That practice, that day, so rocked my world, all I could think was, “I want more!” I walked out the door of that immersion, went online and signed up for a week-long, Level One: Journey Into Power training in upstate New York, 2010.
I had never been to a Baptiste class, met a Baptiste instructor and had no idea there was such thing as Baptiste Studios, let alone that one was right down the street from my office. I just went to Level One ready to learn and experience more. It is funny, I showed up that first morning having no idea what the Baptiste Methodology was. No idea of the sequencing, just an attitude that I already knew a lot since I had been practicing for years. What Level One helped me see was just how little I really knew. And that the more comfortable I could stay with and accept that idea of “not knowing,” the more opportunity I would have to learn. To be filled up.
The next year, 2011, I attended Level Two with no desire other than to be immersed in the incredible feeling of community I had experienced at Level One again. By the time I attended Level Two, I had discovered my neighborhood Baptiste Studio and had begun practicing there, participating in events and asking to teach for them. I was beginning to teach the Baptiste Methodology at the gyms and studios where I taught before and after work, and could see the incredible transformation that occurred in people after a class taught using the new methodology I was learning.
By the end of Level Two, I began to consider becoming certified as a Baptiste Teacher. I kept telling myself I really did not “need” this certification…I was a registered yoga teacher. I had done my time, earned my credentials, why did I need this? What I discovered was that I did not need it. However, if I completed all of the work that it took to become a Certified Baptiste Teacher…I would be an incredible teacher. I could use it and so, I decided to go for it. I became a Certified Baptiste Teacher in 2012, teaching at my local Baptiste Studio before and after work, and even sometimes on my lunch hour.
I don’t remember exactly when it happened. It was a subtle realization, like any idea that starts as a glimmer and then begins to gnaw. A tiny voice that wants to be heard. I realized that I was in my job, my career, very successful, very efficient, but waiting all day to be able to go lead a class. I was teaching 10 – 12 classes per week before and after my outside sales position, developing commercial landscape projects for a national company. And I still wanted to teach more. The commercial landscape business made it easier to go to work a little sweaty, but I had come to that place where I knew. In order to stay in integrity and give my best to what I was creating in either world, I would have to make a choice. At the time, I thought the choice was “make a comfortable living OR teach yoga.” I decided to do both. I did not know how, but I knew I could do it. Teaching workshops, leading trainings, private lessons, more classes. I just knew I could make it work.
It was 2013, Art of Assisting, a weekend long training in Fort Worth, TX that I stood up and declared I was going to open a Studio in North Dallas. I had not planned to stand up and say that, it just came bubbling out! I had no idea how I was going to make it happen, no plan, still a full-time 20-year career and a contracted yoga instructor. I had built businesses before. I had developed businesses from nothing to something. I had been teaching all over town for four years at this point, I was a Certified Baptiste Teacher. All I knew was that I had the tools.
I signed a lease on a commercial retail space a month later. That was February. March we started construction and we were open for business May 2013 with 12 instructors and me. We opened the studio in April 2015 and we are now opening studio number two, November 2015. We will be hosting our first Baptiste event, The Art of True North Alignment, in February 2016.
I am surrounded by a dedicated, energetic community of people who all want the same thing I want. To share what we have received, so bountifully, with others. And, so, we do. And, so, we continue to grow. We have to keep growing to keep making room for more!
My son is now one of my teachers, an RYT200 and on his way to Baptiste Certification, as are many of my good friends, people I am connected to and I love. My husband is attending Level One with me next year. We are moving his Wellness Practice into our latest studio – recreating his 25-year old business to be another dimension of how we serve. It just never ends. My cup can never be filled and at the same time is over-flowing!
The bottom line is this: I was not even dreaming of any of this when I attend that All Day Immersion back in 2009. Somehow the magic happens when I let the world work it out for me and I just stay tuned to where to put my attention. This is what I have learned from being a part of the Baptiste Community and it is what I got, without even realizing I got it, when I immersed myself that first Saturday in 2009.
Is it worth your time? YOU BET IT IS!
Stacy Shepherd owns The Yoga Factory, in Texas.