New York Times bestselling author of Perfectly Imperfect
Whether you are looking to lose weight, trying to increase your strength and stamina, hoping to sharpen your mental edge, or seeking to go deeper within, Baron Baptiste can take you there. Baptiste Power Yoga isn't just the ultimate workout, it's the ultimate life transformation program.
Whether you are looking to lose weight, trying to increase your strength and stamina, hoping to sharpen your mental edge, or seeking to go deeper within, Baron Baptiste can take you there. Baptiste Power Yoga isn't just the ultimate workout, it's the ultimate life transformation program.
In this unique and inspiring book, one of the world's most dynamic and sought-after master yoga teachers brings us the same revolutionary program for body, mind, and spirit that has changed the bodies and lives of Hollywood celebrities, all-star athletes, and millions of people just like you. In his refreshing and iconoclastic style, Baron Baptiste shows us that the key to true power is not to chase an ideal version of ourselves but to reveal the perfect self already within. Here are just some of the benefits you can expect from using this book:
Strong, lean muscles and a shedding of unwanted pounds
Laserlike mental clarity and focus
An easy release of the beliefs and habits that hold you back
An inner oasis of calm and composure
Inspiration to live authentically every day of your life
Baptiste Power Yoga is the ultimate commitment that yields the ultimate transformation, as Baron's millions of students have discovered. It heals, detoxifies, and electrifies body and mind at their deepest levels. You will find your true strength, your real self, and a new way to live that is both authentic and joyful!
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About the Author
Baron Baptiste is the son of two of America's yoga pioneers. He began to seriously study yoga at age twelve and trained extensively in all the major traditions before creating Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga in the mid-nineties. Baptiste has trained both celebrities and athletes, including Helen Hunt, Randall Cunningham, Raquel Welch, and Elisabeth Shue, and for four years he was Peak Performance Specialist for the Philadelphia Eagles. He divides his time between his yoga studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Sundance, Utah.
Read an Excerpt
"Sculpt your ideal body...free your true self...transform your life..."
If I seem to be making a lot of promises to you here, that's because I am. It may sound too good to be true, but if you work the principles in this book, I guarantee you will journey into power in every area of your life. Your body will transform, you will change your destructive patterns permanently at a cellular level, your mind will be infused with life and equanimity, and your relationships will be truer, deeper, and more fulfilling.
How do I know this? Because I have seen thousands of students come through my studios, Bootcamps, and workshops and with my own eyes witnessed their transformations. I have seen students arrive the first night of Bootcamps anxious and heavy with emotional baggage, but by the time they leave, it's as if they have shed a hundred pounds of physical and psychic debris. I have witnessed overweight people who come to my studios create entirely new bodies within only a few months.
Countless students from all over the world who come to my programs write to me and tell me about breakthroughs they have experienced in all different areas of their lives even those who have been practicing yoga for years! A forty-seven-year-old woman from Seattle wrote to tell me how she experienced a physical opening in her shoulders that created a tremendous release of old stress and sorrow that she had been carrying around with her for decades. She told me she hadn't felt this free since she was in her twenties! Another student, a thirty-six-year-old woman who teaches yoga in Colorado and has been doing yoga for nearly six years, e-mailed to say that she saw for the first time how her competitive nature was interfering with her growth and her overall happiness. She wrote: "I was able to see that I can challenge myself to my new heights...that yoga isn't about competition or comparison, but rather it is about pushing myself beyond my current abilities and moving past the limited definitions of myself."
People with lifelong aches tell me their pains have vanished after only a few practice sessions. Hundreds with chronic back problems experience quick and long-lasting relief and are able to resume activities they hadn't been able to do for many years. A twenty-two-year-old man who was going through a depression and did not want to take pills came to a workshop on the advice of his therapist. He stayed with his power yoga practice after that workshop, and within three months, the depression was totally gone. I have one student whose ovarian cancer went into remission after she wholly dedicated herself to a healing yoga practice.
Many others are inspired to make bold and wonderful changes in their lives, from leaving unhealthy relationships to venturing into careers they had always dreamed about. A very successful thirty-three-year-old systems analyst came to a Bootcamp looking for a change in her life, and on the last day she announced to all of us that she was going home with a newfound confidence and courage to quit the job she hated and go back to school to pursue her dream. She had simply opened herself up to whatever spontaneous insights would arise, and when this plan materialized, she knew in an instant that her life was about to take an amazing, wonderful turn.
But the main reason I am so convinced that my power yoga can transform people is that it happened to me. I didn't just arrive as a master yoga teacher, happy and serene, walking my authentic path. Like so many other people, I had to go through the dark to get to the light.
My parents, Walt and Magana Baptiste, were two of America's yoga pioneers. My father came from a fitness background (he was Mr. America in 1949), and in 1952 he and my mother were the first to open a yoga and health center in San Francisco. They were way ahead of their time as early proponents of the whole healthy lifestyle movement. From the time I was a little boy, yoga was part of my life. We had famous spiritual masters coming through our home all the time, from the Maharishi to Yogananda. It all seemed normal to me. While other kids were playing baseball and hanging out on the weekends, I would be off at my parents' spiritual and health retreat ranch in Sonoma Valley, watching people going through personal transformations and self-renewal programs. Back then, I just thought yoga was kind of fun, but not really a big deal. And definitely not how I would spend my life.
I hit my rebellious stage at around twelve years old. I started wanting to be with my friends on the weekends, not riding goats and meditating out on the farm. I got teased a lot at school, as you can imagine. The other kids would call me "Hare Krishna" and laugh when I brought banana and honey sandwiches on whole-wheat bread for lunch instead of lunchmeat and Twinkies. As you can imagine, my childhood was difficult, because at that point in American culture, I didn't fit in.
My rebelliousness was not just a result of not fitting in. I had a curious mind and a searching spirit that simply did not respond to being stuffed with school lessons and information that had no meaning to me. I was always questioning my teachers, because I knew there was something more out there than what the teachers were telling me. I had a huge appetite for growth and discovery, so I moved on to become a student of life.
I managed my father's health food restaurant to make enough money to travel around the world and surf. I went to Mexico, Bali, Asia, and, when I needed a rest, to my parents' retreat center in Central America, which was filled with amazing and interesting people who shared my quest for knowledge and a deeper understanding of life. I was drawn there more and more, and it eventually became a kind of home base for me, a place where I could come into contact with other soul searchers.
Around that time I started reading stories about the prophets and sages, about Jesus, Buddha, Socrates, and Gandhi. I read Yogananda's famous book, Autobiography of a Yogi, and was fascinated by his vivid, magical descriptions of being in the light and the philosophies of the mystics of old. It made me yearn to find my own path to bliss my own inner light.
So I began a spiritual search that lasted for many years. I made a choice to go for it, and to really seek out the enlightenment I had been reading about, I moved to Yogananda's men's ashram in Encinitas, California. We did kriya yoga (based on chakra energy), meditated, and worked on the farm, all in silence. I stayed at the ashram for about a year, and though it was a very introspective time, I still felt empty. I just wasn't finding the bliss all the books were talking about. The more I learned about the yoga tradition, the less it seemed to speak to me. It was all more confusing than ever, and true life mastery started to seem unattainable. I got very proficient at my practice and experienced some benefits, but somehow it just wasn't all coming together.
After I left the ashram, I went back up to my parents' studio and worked part-time in their health food store. One afternoon my father asked me to fill in for him at a yoga and meditation class he had scheduled. I didn't want to do it, but he pressed me and told me I knew a lot and I had a lot to share from my experiences. He told me I had a responsibility to share what I knew, that if you don't share it you lose it. Sharing what you know makes it more real, more a living part of you. I reluctantly agreed, and to my surprise, teaching came very naturally to me. I just opened my mouth and spoke about what I knew, and the students loved it. I couldn't believe it. That was the first time it had ever dawned on me that perhaps I would make teaching yoga my life.
Around my nineteenth birthday, the hatha yoga master B. K. S. Iyengar came to San Francisco from India, and it was at his workshop that I first witnessed the powerfully physical side of yoga that went beyond any of the forms I had practiced up until then. I had always been athletic (I had been studying martial arts since I was nine years old; by the time I was eighteen I had earned my black belt and won the California State Championship title for tae kwon do), so what Iyengar was teaching was exciting to me in a whole new way.
A couple of years later, when Bikram Choudhury (founder of Bikram yoga) came and taught a workshop in San Francisco, he invited me to move to Los Angeles and be his protégé. I was curious about Los Angeles, and it seemed time to leave San Francisco, so I went and studied with Bikram, and within about a year I was teaching his style of yoga, also intensely physical. My body became incredibly strong and flexible as I became very good at contorting it into demanding poses, but my spirit was still restless. I had tried the ashram route, but that didn't give me the answers. Now I was being taught that if I could just get all the poses right, I would be enlightened. I was getting them right, but though I did feel a certain level of vitality, something was still missing.
I continued on this way for a few years, teaching at Bikram's studios in Beverly Hills and Paris, and studying with Iyengar and others in India. By all outward appearances I was "yoga-ing" right: I followed the advice of the gurus, practiced daily, was a vegetarian, didn't drink any alcohol or do any drugs. But my relationships weren't working, and inside I felt at a loss and, most of all, empty. There was still a big block within. Being able to meditate for six straight hours or wrap my legs around my head or hold a handstand longer didn't necessarily change me on a deeper level. Like so many other people, I hit the bottom of my soul and really wondered: Is this all there is?
Looking back now I see that I was in a waking sleep, a mild hypnosis. Even though I was practicing yoga and meditation, I was misusing it; cultural conditioning had taught me to stay distracted and anesthetized and not to see or feel what was really happening within me, both the good and the bad. Somehow all the mind/body "medicine" I was learning was falling short of a cure.
The day it all started to turn around for me began like any other day. I was in Los Angeles, on my way home from teaching one of my now-popular classes at the famous Voight Fitness and Dance Center in Hollywood (where Johnny G. was launching spinning in the next room). I'd been teaching there for a few years, taking traditional yoga practices and making them empowering and accessible to all types of people. I was putting this all into a flow practice that was more athletic than the styles I'd been taught, and it was catching on in a huge way. I had become the "yoga teacher to the stars" and achieved a certain level of celebrity. From the outside it looked as if I had it all, but inside myself I knew there had to be more. All the success wasn't filling the void, and the mechanics of yoga just weren't cutting it for me anymore. There was a big piece missing, but I simply didn't know where to look.
Anyway, that afternoon, I heard a spiritual psychologist speaking on the radio. He was saying that the only way to find true peace, acceptance, and power was through stillness. He said that being in stillness leads you to truth, but you may not always like to see and hear the truth, because very often it isn't the rosy picture you might have hoped for. Something exploded within me when I heard that. Maybe I was finally open enough to see it, but the truth unfolded for me in that moment like never before. I realized that the truth I could not admit was that I was simply regurgitating what others were teaching me. I was filled with the advice and teachings of gurus and books, but had no idea what I really thought or felt. I'd spent my entire life up until that point looking outward, seeking inner peace like it was a goal, never really daring to come face-to-face with the truth that was within me.
This speaker broke through to me in a way that all those years of chanting and meditating and twisting my body into a pretzel never had, and that was because he was the first to truly ignite my spirit. It was in that moment that I realized how severely I had neglected my authentic self my inner voice my real wisdom. I went home that day and cried, because I saw myself deeply and clearly for the first time. I saw all of my unfinished business in the forms of resentment, fear, withholding of forgiveness, anger, jealousy, insecurities, and self-doubt, and saw how I had been working to just stuff it down with "feel good" pseudospirituality. I had been looking toward mastery of the practices and paths of others instead of paying respect to and honoring what was already within me. I saw that if I stopped smothering my spirit and soul with external knowledge goals, I would actually start feeling, and ultimately healing.
Knowing and accepting these truths started to finally set me free. I saw where I was being dishonest with others, and started being more honest about how and who I was in every moment. I began to unravel all the emotional knots that had been strangling me. My revelation was that my true path was to more deeply accept that which I already knew and had within me. I realized there was a power that would give me peace that yoga practice offers valuable tools but only insofar as they lead to one's inner self.
As a teacher, I started seeing that we don't have to take dogma so seriously. When we start to take it too seriously, outer mastery becomes the goal, and we are then chasing the illusion once again. Spiritual masters often teach that tradition is holy, and that we must follow it to the letter if we are to be enlightened. Do it their way or it won't work. But how can that be? If we tune out the inner voice of wisdom in favor of what someone else is telling us, how can we ever really be in our own power? That just puts us in the shadows of someone else's power, of someone else's courage to look within for the answers. It was only then that I was able to start teaching with real integrity and began to share with my students that we must each find and walk our own path.
This focus on intuition rather than tradition hit a nerve with many of my students and formed the core philosophy of what was later to become Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga. Attendance at my classes exploded, and new students began appearing every day. I was at last fully present in a way I had never been. They came because they wanted beautiful bodies, but they stayed because they were inspired to be the best versions of themselves. They had listened to all the others, walked the paths, but ultimately discovered the same thing I did: The only person who can open the door to the inner truths and lead you to the light is yourself.
Ultimately, no yoga teacher can tell you what you need not in a pose, not in a diet, not in a lifestyle. They can give you the principles, but it is up to you to use your intuition to find what is right for you. You have to practice your own naturalness, and that is what Baptiste Power Yoga is all about.
I will share with you the ancient pillars of life that will illuminate your journey. I will show you how to access the innate wisdom in your mind, the strength and suppleness in your body, the infinite and exquisite beauty of your spirit. But ultimately, I'm not teaching you anything you don't already know somewhere deep within your being. Your genetic systems are encoded with this knowledge. My role is to awaken you to what you have simply forgotten along the way.
I feel honored and blessed to be your guide on your own personal Journey into Power, and I hope this program brings you all the joy and fulfillment it has brought me.
Copyright © 2002 by Baptiste Power Yoga Institute, Inc.
Table of Contents
PART 1: REWIRING YOUR MIND
PART 2: DAILY POWER YOGA PRACTICE
The Postures Overview of the Poses
How to Design a Practice to Fit Your Schedule
PART 3: THE CLEANSING DIET
PART 4: MEDITATION FOR TRUTHFUL LIVING
PART 5: JOURNEYING INTO REAL LIFE
An Interview with Baron Baptiste
Barnes & Noble.com: Your study of yoga began when you were a child. Was it always something you enjoyed, or did you feel that it was a chore when you were younger?
Baron Baptiste: When I was a kid, I used to go to my parents' yoga studio and retreat center all the time, so back then, doing yoga was very normal for me. It was pretty fun, actually. As I got a little older, though, I started to feel self-conscious about how different I was from all the other kids. They got to play baseball, and I was doing sun salutations; they got to have bologna sandwiches, and I brought banana and honey on whole wheat. So like most teenagers, I rebelled and headed out into the world to see what else was out there besides yoga.
It didn't take long, however, for me to realize the precious gift my parents had given me by instilling in me a seeker's heart and the knowledge base to make yoga my life path. Within a few years, I returned to a dedicated yoga practice, not because it was my heritage per se, but because I saw for myself the incredible magic it can do.
B&N.com: You've become quite well known for the energy and athleticism you bring to yoga. How did you develop this unique personal style, your interpretation of the ancient art form.
BB: I never set out to "develop" Baptiste power yoga; it was more of an evolution, a natural progression of studying, researching, practicing, teaching, and just living my life as authentically as I can. For many years I was a student of the traditional forms -- Iyengar, Ashtanga, Bikram, Raja, and so on. I've also studied traditional forms of fitness, martial arts, and have trained hundreds of professional athletes for peak performance. Over the years, I combined what I thought was the best of the best from the East and West and left out everything else, weaving it all together into one all-inclusive practice.
B&N.com: The highly intense power yoga that you teach at your studios and Bootcamps has been criticized by some yoga "purists." What is your response to that?
BB: I've been around the yoga world a long time, and believe me, I've seen every so-called angle of "pure." To tell you the truth, I would so much rather be authentic than pure!
To me, the real path to power is living in your truth, moment by moment, day by day. This style is what works for me -- it is what feels right in my bones and what makes my heart sing. Where is the power in rigidly following dogma, or taking contortionist poses that have no proven health benefit, or blindly following a guru, if none of that resonates for you? Like I say in my book, one of the greatest mistakes people make when beginning a yoga practice is embracing tradition over intuition, when all along, the true answers to what they need were right there inside them.
B&N.com: You say, "Everyone can do power yoga. Everyone." I myself was intimidated by the idea of attending one of your power yoga classes, but when I got there I found that I loved it and felt great afterward. How does it feel to know that you can empower people in such a way?
BB: I feel so blessed to be able to bring power yoga to people. It is incredible and continually inspiring for me to witness the amazing transformations that take place in my students' bodies, their spirits, and their lives. What an amazing gift they give back to me!
B&N.com: I thought one of the most important sections of the book was when you explain the seven most common mental mistakes people make when they practice yoga. People doubting their intuition, pushing themselves too hard, disregarding the small steps that are part of the process…most of us are guilty of these at one time or another. Do you ever find yourself slipping back into one of these mental mistakes or is your brain hard-wired against them now?
BB: For the most part, my brain is kind of hard-wired against them, but I have to confess that I still make some mistakes from time to time. Thankfully, though, the response time has gotten shorter; it takes me a lot less time to notice when I've slipped into one of these mental mistakes and to come back to center.
B&N.com: Your approach to diet is so sensible -- you stress eating mindfully and cleanly. Can you summarize the aspects of your cleansing diet for us?
BB: It's pretty simple, really. As you mentioned, it all comes down to eating mindfully and cleanly, according to what works for our individual bodies. It's about making conscious choices about what we put into our bodies based on whether they will cause "pleasure" (feelings of vitality and radiant health) or "pain" (feelings of guilt and/or bloating, indigestion, and long-term weight gain), a principle I refer to as learning to "eat from cause." It opens the door for readers to learn commonsense things like activating their intuitive eating mechanisms, why their bodies thrive from water-rich foods and what they are, and why trying to fool mother nature with artificial low-fat foods only makes you a fatter fool.
B&N.com: You write in Journey into Power that even during an activity like weight lifting, you can still be practicing yoga, through your breathing, your posture, your concentration. How do you go about bringing yoga into your everyday life?
BB: One of the things I love about power yoga is that it offers real-life, practical tools that we can use in our lives off the mat, as well. I use the principles of my yoga practice in my everyday life all the time. For instance, I have three young boys, and if ever there was a place to practice non-reactiveness, parenting certainly is it! My seventh "Principle for Stepping Up to the Edge" is to remember that we are the sum total of our reactions, so when one of them acts out or does something I don't like, I remind myself that right then and there is an opportunity to unhook from the automatic response of getting annoyed or frustrated. Like I say in my book, it's all yoga!
B&N.com: Is there anything you would like to add?
BB: To the readers, I want to say I hope that the program laid out in my book has the same profound impact on you that I have seen it have on me and thousands of my students. Remember, within you is already your most radiant, authentic, beautiful self; all you need to do is take the Journey into Power to reveal it!
Welcome to power yoga the ultimate wake-up call!
So many of us are striving so hard to be better, to know more, do more, be more. We have been conditioned to believe that we are not good enough the way we are. We're afraid that if we do less, we'll be less, so we read all the latest self-improvement books, take the seminars, follow the diets, go to the gym, but nothing seems to really get us where we want to go. We still weigh too much, worry too much, and race around searching for something that will soothe whatever it is that we see as our problem.
But I believe we all have just one problem. Yes, you read that right: Every single one of us is suffering from the same problem. Of course, your life looks different from mine, or your friend's, or your neighbor's. You might even think your problems are completely unique, but for those of us who feel dissatisfied with our bodies or our lives, there is only one explanation: We are not living from our authentic selves, from our truth. We are asleep to who and what we really are and can be.
We blame external factors for our woes our parents, our careers, our hectic lives, our spouses, our thighs, our lack of time to exercise or eat right but the only thing that is "wrong" with us or our lives is that we are disconnected from our core. We were programmed to believe that things like status, money, achievement, and a perfect body would make us happy, or better yet, a complete person. We were taught that these goals were more important than honoring our authentic nature; the timeless and universal truths within us. The question is, are material possessions and perfect abs and thighs the object of our real search? We're pursuing some better version of ourselves, all the while asleep to the one true fact in the universe: Our ideal selves are already within us, just waiting to be awakened. Our only task is to relinquish the luggage of life and accept what was there from the start: the light in our hearts and the power within.
Michelangelo used to say that God put a statue within every slab of marble, and his job was to remove all that was not part of the statue. He claimed he merely freed the statue from the stone. I have studied and practiced yoga for nearly my entire life, and I know that it can be a powerful tool to help you free your own personal "statue." That is why I teach and why I have written this book. Because beneath the habits of our materialistic lifestyles and the stresses and demands of maintaining the identity we have created lie our true selves and the deeper meaning of life. I want to share with you how to peel away the layers that keep your magnificent body and inner being from shining through.
Journey into Power is not about seeking the answers from some outside source. It's not about piling on muscles, or gaining more knowledge, or finding a better relationship. You have been taught your whole life to look outside yourself, to parents, teachers, experts, maybe even to gurus, but all you need is already within you. It's time we wrap our arms around that truth! The goal here is not to go out and find yourself, for you were never really lost. Forgotten maybe, but not lost.
Journey into Power is about excavating the amazing, radiant self already inside you. Within you is a power that is already perfect, and the true essence of seeking on this journey is accepting. Your greatest power, your greatest wisdom, your greatest enlightenment is not suddenly going to appear in ten or twenty years. It's already here. Like Michelangelo's statues, within each of us lies our authentic body and our natural, divine self; all we need to do is chisel away all that does not belong in order to reveal it. And that is where my yoga program comes in.
Yoga is ultimately a journey into truth: truth about who you really are, what you are capable of, how your actions affect your life. Truth is the only medicine that ever "cures" us; it is the only means by which we can live at our full, incredible potential. At the most basic level, so many of us are not living life at 100 percent. But if you are not living in truth, you are cheating yourself. If you are living in a body that is weighed down and unhealthy, you are robbing yourself of your vitality. If you are plagued by anxiety and worry, you are denying yourself the peace that is so readily available to you. If you are controlled by your fears and emotions, you have sacrificed your personal power.
We could all be playing at a much greater level if we would only dare to go beyond where we are stuck. That's what yoga tells and shows us. Down through the ages, every great teacher has taught that we have the ultimate power to break through and therefore "break with" that which holds us back.
On the first night of Bootcamps I tell the students that I'm going to squeeze them like oranges. If you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice, so my question to them is "If we squeeze you, what will we get?" That's what this process of yoga does. It wrings you from the inside out. It brings up everything that's in there the fears, doubts, frustrations, toxins, strengths, beliefs, potential and exposes it either to be released or to be used for growth. It challenges physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually and gives you the opportunity to experience every part of yourself on a whole new level.
It all starts in your body, on the mat. I'll show you how to turn back the clock and come alive like never before. One of my students, a professional athlete, recently called me to say how thrilled he was that his body had a strong tingling sensation all over.
"What's so thrilling about that?" I asked, curious to hear his take on it.
"My body hasn't been alive like that since I was eighteen years old!" he said. He was in touch with a body that had been lost to him since he was a boy. His body was an athletic machine, but he had become numb. Now he could feel again. The yoga practices in this book will allow you to do the same thing: to heal and to empower.
Power vinyasa yoga is an amazing form of fitness that sculpts strong, healthy bodies. The results are dramatic because it is a whole body system, using full body movements that encourage the body to move as nature intended. Because every single muscle is used in strength and balance, it ignites the metabolic furnace. It tones and chisels through isometrics and isotonics. You lose weight because active muscle tissue burns fat the stronger your muscles are, the stronger your metabolic fire burns and also because you won't have the same need to feed your fears and soothe your anxious edges by overeating. Within the first few practice sessions, your belly will get flatter, your buttocks tighter, your arms will get toned and strong, and you will tingle and sparkle from your temples to your toes. You will feel strong and calm, more energized and alive. You will begin to see your body taking on a shape and level of agility you have never experienced before. You will stand taller and look sleeker, straighter, and leaner. In time, you will awaken in a whole new body.
But the physical changes are only a by-product of a more empowering purpose. The physical magic just kind of happens as you go through the practice. The real miracle is what starts happening underneath, within you.
We soak up life like a sponge, holding tensions, fears, and anxieties in our system. In yoga practice you reach down into all the nooks and crannies and hidden pockets of tissue, excavating all this clogging, unwanted stuff. Through the challenges on your mat, you step up to what I call your edge and pull up whatever is inside you that needs to be healed and released. You also discover how strong you really are, physically and mentally. Almost as if by magic, lifelong fears dissipate, blocked emotions are released, your mind gets quiet and gains startling clarity, psychic wounds from deep down surface to be healed. You experience mental shifts that free you from old thought patterns. You begin to understand on a deep level what is right for you and what to do. You just get it. These insights and revelations crystallize as something permanent and real within you.
At the same time, because it strips away all the excess debris, yoga brings you back to your sweetness, your innocence. It reminds you of your love of discovery. Children have natural yoga bodies because they haven't piled on the layers of toxic living, reactiveness, resentments, guilt, and anxiety that adults have. They have no blocks yet to stand in their way, and instinctively live from the center of their beings. My eight-year-old son has lots of friends, but when I once asked him who his very best friend was, he said, "Myself." As children we were complete within ourselves, but over the years we have come to live unnaturally. Yoga is a remarkably effective "unlearning" process. We have to unlearn our negative thought systems, our emotional patterns, our patterns of moving, breathing, and eating so that we can come back to our own naturalness.
On a deeper level, you awaken to cause and effect. You begin to have a meaningful understanding that every action you take generates a result. You see that what you put out there dictates what you get in return. If you are not putting out abundance, it's no wonder abundance is not pouring into your life! You start to connect the dots and recognize how the smallest daily actions have a domino effect. It hits you how your overreactions to stress cause your negative eating habits, and how they in turn affect your body and energy levels. You start seeing clearly the things you are doing to limit or hurt yourself, and the ways you can grow. You see how launching into reactivity, anger, fear, or jealousy fuels vicious cycles in your relationships, and where your responsibility lies. You really start to get it that your life circumstances are the sum total of decisions you made along the way, and that the only person who can ultimately transform your life is you, by operating from the deeper level of cause rather than trying to struggle with the surface effects.
If you were to ask ten people, "What would you ask for if you were granted only one wish?" the answers would vary. One might say "a new car." Someone else might say "good health," "a happy relationship," or "a perfect body." Another may say "money." But these people would be blindly limiting their opportunities in life. If we were truly inclined toward fulfillment, peace of mind, and contentment, we would choose quite differently. We might say, "If I had one wish, I would wish that every good thing I ever wished for would come true." Here we would be using our one wish as the foundation for all other wishes.
We all have that choice in life. In yoga practice we learn that the first step toward everything worthwhile is consciously responding from our underlying foundation of truth in each moment. When you awaken to this, you begin to live more consciously and at cause in other areas of your life: your diet, your health, your relationships, your career, your money. Your bad habits and negative patterns will dissolve like snow in the summer sun.
Ultimately, yoga ignites your spirit. When you are free from the constraints of a weak body and the limitations of emotional reactiveness, you live in a higher place. You begin to dwell in spirit, and from there, all that remains that is not authentically you falls away. You carry an inner oasis of calm and composure, even in the midst of the chaos of daily living. The word charisma was originally a spiritual term meaning "gift of grace," and this is what you will radiate. People around you will notice the changes and say you are so lucky, but you will know that luck had nothing to do with it.
When you live from spirit, growth becomes the most important thing to you. Your desire to know and evolve to take a fearless inventory of yourself sharpens, and from there your path continues to unfold to infinity. Once you discover how empowering it is to live from your truth, there is no stopping you! It is no longer a question of "How can I grow?" but "How far do I want to go?"
The program in this book is based on my "Journey into Power" Bootcamps, which are intensive, seven-day programs designed to purify your body, rewire your mind, recharge your spiritual batteries, and awaken your inner power. Of course, I know not everyone has the time or resources to be able to leave their life behind for a week and dedicate themselves wholly to growth, so the purpose of this program is to take the practices from the Bootcamps and permanently incorporate them into a long-term life plan. This program can work for anyone at any age, any weight, any fitness level. I have seen it work for eighteen-year-olds and eighty-year-olds, all different body types, weights, and levels of strength and flexibility. From absolute beginners to people who have been practicing yoga for twenty years, this program truly works, if you work it.
The program has five parts:
Rewiring Your Mind
Daily Power Yoga Practice
The Cleansing Diet
Meditation for Truthful Living
Journeying into Real Life
The "Daily Power Yoga Practice" is the heart of the program. I encourage you to embrace the whole program for the most effective and fastest transformation, but even if you do nothing else but roll out your mat and do the yoga flow, you will see and feel the magic, miracles, and results. The other parts of the program are all master keys to transformation to which you will naturally gravitate once you begin to awaken. As old habits and patterns dissolve, they release you. Effortlessly and very naturally you will start thinking better, eating better, meditating (to cultivate stillness and insight), and taking your practice to the next level by living your yoga. If your spirit is ready for growth and you are really willing to part once and for all with what's not working for you, then take action and get on board for the whole program and total life transformation.
If you sense arrogance, know that it is not part of me or my teaching style. It comes from faith in the power of this process, which has worked for thousands of years and millions of students. Something does not stick around for five millennia if it doesn't work. I have simply taken the practice and simplified, demystified, and developed it into the ultimate accessible body and soul path for you to get the most out of life right here, right now!
The first part, "Rewiring Your Mind," is where it all starts. Yoga teaches you to manage your mental and emotional states, and this shift originates in your mind. As you set forth on your new practice and begin peeling away the layers that you've worn as a defense for so many years, it helps to pay attention to the signals your mind is sending. We all have negative beliefs we buy into, most of which we don't even know about because they are so deeply ingrained in our subconscious. When you are spiritually asleep, these beliefs run your life. When you awaken, however, you open the window to new possibilities.
The timeless principles I introduce here are cues to assist you in your physical practice, but each also has a deeper meaning that you may find helpful in the context of your personal growth and everyday life. Pick and choose what resonates for you at first, but revisit this section often to see if other principles take on new meaning for you as your practice deepens. I have worked these principles for many years and yet I still find fresh, new meaning in them with every new stage of growth.
Part Two, "Daily Power Yoga Practice," is where you will learn everything you need to know in order to start a power yoga practice at home. I will tell you what you need and what to expect. We'll talk about each posture in depth how to do it, its transformational power, and more. You'll learn why it is important to practice daily, even if only for a few minutes; how to use the foundations of heat, breath, and flow; and how to create practices to fit into your schedule.
As a physical workout, power yoga is athletic yoga, so be prepared to sweat! It is unlike any other form of physical exercise you've ever done. It is challenging, but the beauty of it is that each person can adapt it to suit his or her own body. So even if you are just a beginner who has never even heard of the Sun Salutations, you will be able to do it. Each body will take the poses differently, and as you go through your practice you will begin to know when to push and when less is more, when to go for it and when to rest. When you are fully present in your physical practice, you will know what your body needs.
Part Three is "The Cleansing Diet." It's not a rigid regimen with weird recipes to follow. It's just the basic tenets of a health-giving, cleansing diet and the psychology behind it. Almost all of my students make changes in their eating once they begin doing power yoga. They start to feel lighter and cleaner, and lose the desire for their old unhealthy ways of eating. They now look for foods and habits that enhance their newfound vitality. You'll learn all about the hypnotic power of food and how to break its spell through mindful eating, why it's so important to eat water-rich foods, what "whole" foods are and why your body needs them, and how to let your negative eating habits fly away with the wind.
Part Four, "Meditation for Truthful Living," is where you will learn to cultivate stillness in your life. You've probably been told that meditation is good for you; what I will show is exactly why meditation is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for yourself every day. A regular meditation practice brings a powerful dimension to power yoga as it routinely empties your mental and emotional cup. It removes yesterday's stuff from your mind, cleaning the slate so you can continually return to your center and live in the now that is always fresh, new, and full of discovery.
A lot of people think meditation must mean sitting cross-legged and chanting "Om." Certainly that is one way to meditate, but I'll give you a painless and profoundly simple meditation technique from which you can benefit for the rest of your life. In fact, you'll wonder how you ever managed without it. The strength of coming into stillness will open new doors to you.
The last part of the book, "Journeying into Real Life," puts all you've learned into action. It includes ways to incorporate power yoga into your life and gives you tips on how to take your power yoga practice to the next level. You will learn how to make your practice a priority, things to remember when you find yourself going astray, and, ultimately, how to shine forth and make positive and healing changes in the world around you.
As I've said many times before, neither I nor any other teacher can tell you what is right for you. What I offer here are principles that have worked for many others, all of whom have in some way adapted the program so that it works for them. Don't follow me, follow yourself. I encourage you to dedicate yourself to your own growth, and use what resonates for you in this program to guide you along the way. Take what speaks to you and throw out what doesn't. Ultimately, it is your unique and personal path, not mine or anyone else's.
I promise that if you apply these timeless tools, your life will transform. The psychic debris will clear, your body will become strong and fit, and your spirit will be awakened. Your ultimate power is always within you; all you have to ask is "Am I willing to go for it?" and "If not now, when?" Your Journey into Power begins just by taking that most difficult first step, and you are already on your way just by picking up this book.
Welcome to the world of bliss. Now let's begin!
Copyright © 2002 by Baptiste Power Yoga Institute, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is one of the best books I have ever experienced. I use that word literally. Mr. Baptiste has a very real and refreshing writing style that is engaging. I know books that are so called 'self help' don't always read as easily as a story. This book changed that for me. Maybe because I think the man is a genius and I love his DVD's but also because the material in the book is wise and actually entertaining. I have read other Yoga books but this is THE Yoga book. Please give it a try if this is your area of interest. You will not be disappointed!!!!
I was a skeptic untill I found this 'life changing' book by accident. While wating in line I picked up a copy and read the the 'Acknowledgements', I was in tears as I approached the counter to check out. I myself have given away 6 copies as gifts, tomorrow will be the seventh. I initially encourage all to skip the middle (yoga) and finish before judging. It is an easy read with something to offer all. It should be required reading for every human.
Kiss your hand threr times repost this under threr books then look under your pillow
A grey she cat pads in. Her violet eyes glare viciously. "I want to join blood clan."
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I can help with the problem. *she flicks her tail towards the fourth result.*
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"Dad!" He bounced to Pine instead.~Rush
((I am Summerburst and l got locked out:\ can you move camps please?))
((Guys I posted here yesterday, but it didn't show up!!! :/ I'm back though! :D)) ~Aeiro
If a strong, physical yoga practice is your thing this is the book for you. The asana section takes you through a sequence of poses that flow naturally and make sense. But the first section, Rewiring Your Mind, is the most valuable stuff in the book. Read that section twice before moving on!
Baptiste was born into yoga thanks to his parents being the first yogi/yogini in San Fransisco before yoga became what it is today. His insight into the mind/body connection is clear and thought provoking. He gets it! I have attended his workshop before and he speaks from the heart and although he challenges you to reach for "the edge", he does not force anything on you. He describes in detail his search for meaning over several years and how he came to his style of yoga. The book is well organized and it is obvious that Baptiste has the knowledge and skill to help anyone interested in trying yoga or taking their practice to the next level. After reading this book, I would encourage the reader to locate one of the many Baptiste studios across the country, and attend one of the classes. You will be amazed how wonderful you feel when your done. I highly recommend this book. Buy this book, you will not be disappointed!
Horrible book. Don't and I mean DON'T buy this lame book.