Another 96 hours of yoga teacher training completed! All in 7 intense days that started at 6:30am and lasted until 10:30pm and included walking about 5 miles a day in the dry Arizona heat. 160 students from across the world all survived never-ending hours of asana (yoga practice), meditation, teaching methodology, anatomy, philosophy and practicum. All while fueled by vegetables (literally heaping plates of vegetables) and some fish (the retreat center didn’t serve any meat, but I guess fish isn’t a meat in their eyes). I think I am now so healthy that my lifespan has been elongated.
There were a few times I really struggled with this training session. This is the first time I had been in such a large training group and this is also the first time I had gone through such a physically challenging program in such a short amount of time. The Baptiste methodology is based on three main parts: asana, meditation and self-inquiry. Self-inquiry is a difficult subject to tackle because it forces us to face our fears and challenge our perceptions of ourselves. The result is very freeing! When I realize that the stories in my head create the life I live, I am empowered to decide where I really want to focus my energy in the future. Do I want to continue to spend energy on the past or on things that do not bring me joy, or do I want to spend my energy on enjoying this moment, the moment that I am experiencing right now? This is a choice we all can make.
I haven’t had time to process all that I went through during this training, however, I am thankful my friends Ashish, Kay and Michelle were there as a support group during this time. Being present for each other, supporting and challenging each other to break through barriers is what real friends do for each other (all while laughing about the whole ordeal).
Baron Baptiste is an amazing American yogi. His approach to each asana is very thoughtful and powerful. I struggled with his persona, however, as it was not what I expected. I am not sure whether or not I will continue to take any training from the Baptiste Institute as I found them very capitalistic and perhaps a bit Baron-obsessed. He is just a man. One particular concept that I struggled with is whether or not the Baptiste Institute is a cult-like organization.
- a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.“the cult of St. Olaf”
- a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.“a cult of personality surrounding the leaders”
synonyms: obsession with, fixation on, mania for, passion for, idolization of, devotion to, worship of, veneration of“the cult of eternal youth in Hollywood”
I do not know if they are or not, but the way people seem to worship Baron definitely brought up this question for me. I discussed this concept with a few other attendees and their feelings were varied. Some attendees thought I was being ridiculous. Others understood why I had this interpretation of the organization, but didn’t necessarily agree. Some agreed with me. One attendee (that I did not discuss this with) even had the courage to stand up in front of the entire group and tell Baron that she felt upset with the mega-church aura of the training and the emphasis on the capitalism and wasn’t even sure she wanted to complete the training (I believe she did in fact complete it).
The question is, do I want to drink the Baptiste kool-aid or not? We all drink some type of kool-aid. I just want to make sure I am consciously picking which kool-aid to sip or gulp.
Over the next few weeks, I plan to continue processing my experience in Arizona. Overall, it was 80% positive and only 20% neutral to negative. I met amazing people and I was challenged to really step out of my emotional and physical comfort zone which we all need to do from time-to-time. I also gained new appreciation and understanding of how to effectively connect with students so they feel empowered in their practice and I learned how to take my own practice to the next level (now I just need to actually do it).
Have you ever had a training experience that knocked you out of your comfort zone? What impact did it have on you?