Over the years, I’ve tried to like yoga-I’ve tried really hard. I wanted to like it. I really did. I thought it would be a great compliment to running. I couldn’t get into the visualization and all of the “Kumbaya”. A few years back, an instructor talked about taking all of your problems and putting them into a box and leaving that box at the door. For real?? Sorry sweetheart who’s got a box that big? Well you get the drift-I wasn’t finding what I was looking for and what I was finding didn’t work for me.
The past few months however, I’ve been exploring yoga again-Baptiste Yoga- as way to cross train and hopefully reduce injuries from running. I’ve been taking classes at Dancing Mind (http://www.dancingmind.com/) the past few weeks and I’m finding a completely different experience. The Baptiste method seems to be less structured and more free flow. The randomness of the poses keeps me interested and feels a lot less like “going through the motions”. I find the emphasis is more on the upper body with lots of planks and push ups. I’m learning how to use my core more to find balance. I’m working my abs in ways I never thought of in the gym and boy am I feeling it the next day. The poses are less rigid and more free flow which seem to allow for lots of individual expression. I get the sense that anything goes. I notice less of the Speedo & bikini clad attendees who tend to take themselves way too seriously and find myself amongst more of the Lululemon crowd. And the SWEAT did I mention the sweat?
Being in a warm, but not ridiculously hot room, is soothing at first and then slowly builds into a challenge as your body adapts to find a comfortable pace. Which reminds me a lot of running. Sometimes you start a run (in severe cold or hot temps), have to challenge yourself to find your pace and eventually your body adapts and without even realizing it you find your pace. In both hot yoga and running, you come to embrace the sweat and see it as a sign of cleansing and strength.
So I began to wonder…
Am I just exercising in hot room or is there some real benefit to Hot Yoga?
“Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga has many benefits for the health of our bodies, minds and souls and affects our fitness, wellness, mental and emotional health, and aids in disease prevention and relief. Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga classes offer a true immersion into your physical and mental self. The unique blend of yoga traditions and philosophies emphasize the flow of breath while moving with strength and grace from pose to pose, all in a heated environment. Modern yogi and founder, Baron Baptiste, stresses the principle of adaptation. Both aspiring and advanced yogis, young and old, can modify each posture and create their own individual experience. The result is a yoga practice that rinses and detoxifies the mind and body, while building strength and flexibility on and off the mat.” (From BaronBaptiste.com)
Guide to Baptiste Power Yoga
Power Vinyasa Yoga explained
If you want a physical yoga workout that will really work up a sweat, then Baptiste Power Yoga could be just for you. With sessions carried out in a hot environment you’ll get massive benefits from the yoga practice that rinses and detoxifies the mind and body, while building strength and flexibility.
What is Baptiste Power Yoga?
Baptiste power yoga is a strenuous and vigorous form of power yoga. It takes its name from Baron Baptiste who developed the style, which is also referred to as power Vinyasa yoga. It is generally taught in a studio with the heat turned up and a temperature hovering in the mid 90s, meaning that practitioners will work up a considerable sweat during what is a very physical yoga workout. It is finding what works for ordinary people and discarding those elements that do not. It is about yogis of varying ability modifying each posture and creating their own individual experience.
Baptiste power yoga is a type of Vinyasa yoga with the poses flowing from one to another in a sequence rather than being held for seconds or even minutes, as is the case in some other forms of yoga. This is achieved by controlled breathing used in a specific manner to move from pose to pose.
In recent years, it has gained popularity and a number of successful books and DVDs have been released. It is popular with a number of Hollywood stars and Baptiste even brought this form of yoga to the training regime of player of NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles where he joined the coaching staff.
What are the benefits of Baptiste Power Yoga?
Baptiste power yoga is a muscle-shaping, mind-sculpting workout that brings many benefits on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. The great thing is that it is accessible to all regardless of what their starting point is – they simply work at their own level of ability and fitness.
Practitioners can build their ability to the point where they are able to experience the rewards of being stronger, suppler, relaxed, and generally less tense. Thus, Baptiste Power Yoga is great for conquering stress. It also demonstrates the value of exercise and attitude, and harnesses the power of discipline and inner balance. (BaronBaptiste.com)
At my studio, Dancing Mind, they hand out cold lavender scented towels at the end of class. Nice!
I don’t know if I am really getting anything more from hot yoga vs. regular yoga but what I do know is I like it. I like to sweat-it makes me feel as though I am doing something meaningful. I’ve also learned that I am a little more flexible than I thought. I certainly won’t be giving up running for yoga but I think it is a nice compliment and the extra flexibility can’t hurt. Who knows? Maybe I will even walk away with a “Yoga Butt”!