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.