Day 76

Style: Power Vinyasa
Teacher: Baron Baptiste
Studio: Renaissance Hotel Austin

I made it. Waking up in my hotel room, my mind takes a few minutes to recalibrate and figure out where exactly I am. The warm Sun is shining in through the windows, welcoming me to the south. Soon I'm showered and awake, heading for the elevators to take me down to the massive conference room where the workshop is being held. Through the glass windows I can see hundreds of yogis bustling about, registering and chatting, looking like a colorful ocean of lululemon.

Last night was my first introduction to Baron. After meeting up with Ichih and having lunch outside in the warm weather, we made our way back to the hotel and took our seats. The room soon filled up with over 300 yogis. After taking the stage and introducing himself to the enthusiastic crowd, Baron described the weekend's schedule. Eventually he asked if anyone wanted to introduce themselves and share a bit of their personal story with the group, and I felt myself tense up with anticipation. No thanks. After a few people took to the microphone and spoke, we made our way into some personal revolution self-study type exercises, writing down what we wanted to get out of the weekend. The more he spoke the more I started seeing him in a new light. He's just a regular human being like anyone else and I felt myself more able to relate.

Today we're back in the vast room, all chairs replaced with a sea of yoga mats. I'm not sure what I had expected, but the practice ended up being a three-hour, intensely physical Power Vinyasa extravaganza. About a quarter way into it I felt my arms shaking, struggling to maintain the positions, when suddenly a familiar voice that I hadn't heard in a long time began to speak. The voice came from inside my mind and began to tell me that I was in way over my head. That I had bit off more then I could chew. That I wasn't going to be able to keep up. This discouraging voice used to turn up now and then when postures were getting pretty physically intense, but as the days have piled up I've been very good at silencing it, eventually turning it off altogether. Now it was back in full force, letting me know that my strength wouldn't be enough to get me through. Drenched with sweat and feeling my energy about to run out, I started to wonder if it was right. Was I really in the deep end, struggling to stay afloat? Closing my eyes and cursing it to leave me alone, I continued through the brutal sequence. Eventually I was hit with a second wind, then a third, then a fourth, and by the time it ended I was on my back in final savasana, still alive. My body, completely buzzing with electricity, had not let me down.

Coming back after lunch and resting down onto my mat, Baron led the huge group through more self-study. From my perspective, I enjoyed the way he explained the ancient teachings in a modern context, using simple and easy to understand language. He discussed the doors of perception, the power of interpretation, the way we look at the world through our own constructed lenses and filters. We talked about tapping into our Source energy, the value of the student-teacher relationship and co-creation. We discussed his past, studying with Iyengar in the late 1970's, his relationship with his yogi parents and much more. He quoted many of history's great thinkers like Socrates, Aristotle, the Buddha, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Gandhi and others, drawing insight from different cultures and different time-frames all over the world.

Eventually we came to the point where we were invited to come up to the mic to share what the practice of yoga has personally given us and I felt myself tense up with resistance yet again. This time however, something changed. I felt the floodgates break and I let it rush in. Before my mind could accept the horror of what I was about to do, I walked up to the microphone. Looking out at the crowd, hundreds of faces looking back at me, I felt my mind go blank. Taking a deep breath and swallowing my fear, I spoke, hearing my voice echoing out of the massive speakers.

The practice of yoga has given me a lot, almost more then I can describe. I've developed an inner awareness, a growing knowledge of self. I've cultivated an inner and outer strength, a stability and confidence that I never knew was possible. I feel an internal determination growing and expanding, filling me with the understanding that I can achieve anything that I believe in. Everyday I feel more compassion. Compassion for myself, for my body, for my life, as well as a compassion for the world around me. I feel myself more accepting of the people in my life, less willing to judge and reprimand them. I'm more grounded in the Now, more present in every waking moment. I feel the beginnings of an inner peace, a calm that is hard to put words to, and for that I will be forever grateful.


Post a Comment