Yoga Journal’s upcoming online course, Pillars of Power Yoga, features Leah Cullis, a master Baptiste Yoga teacher who will lead an athletic and spiritual immersion into the 5 core pillars of Baptiste Yoga: drishti, breath, foundation, heat, and flow.
Here, Cullis debunks four myths about Baptiste Yoga, from it being “too athletic” to “too hot,” and explains why it’s a must-try style for yoga practitioners of every level.
Myth #1: Baptiste Yoga isn’t yoga because it’s so athletic.
Baptiste Yoga is an athletic, dynamic style of power yoga that is deeply physical and therefore delivers results quickly. In Baptiste Yoga we talk about physicality, or the first entry being through the body. We live in such a fast-paced, stressed-out world and live in our heads so much that we often feel disconnected from our bodies. Baptiste Yoga is so physical that it demands your full presence and puts you deeply in your body. And when you are in your body in the present moment, you can tap into your deep reservoirs of personal power.
Myth #2: The room is heated to 105 degrees.
People think the room is heated to 105 degrees, which it’s not. We heat the room to 90–95 degrees, using the heat as a tool to get deeper into the body. When you step into the heated room, get on your mat, and move and breathe with the heat, it helps you get into your body faster. The heat is also fuel for cleansing and detoxing. When you start to sweat, the muscles get pliable, helping you see the results of your practice faster. Also, being able to stay in the heat for 60 minutes teaches you how to “stay” while you’re uncomfortable. This is such an incredible tool to have in modern-day busy life—not to run when the heat gets turned up.
Myth #3: It’s too hard/too fast for beginners.
In Baptiste Yoga, we do one breath per movement or hold poses for 5 breaths. It’s a breath-based practice, so you are moving at the pace of your own breath. You can adapt every pose to intensify it or take it down, and you always have the option to take breaths and/or go to Child’s Pose anywhere along the way. If linking breaths with movement is new to you, it will take some practice, but once you get there, your breath is your guide.
Myth #4: Baptiste Yoga isn’t spiritual.
Baptiste Yoga isn’t just physical—mediation is actually a large part of it, too. Meditation, asana, and personal inquiry are the practices and techniques of Baptiste Yoga. It’s important to understand your “why”—why are you doing the things that you do? The inquiry work we do helps you pull back the layers and clarify your purpose. Meditation clears the mental chatter and creates space for you to align yourself with what’s most important to you. There’s a much bigger intention behind the physical practice.