I'm a Baptiste Yogi. Or, to distinguish myself from Baptiste yoga, as an individual, I am a yogi that believes in the Baptiste Philosophy. I know the stigma that often comes with this. You think I don't know what you say behind my back. The comments/judgements of, "she teaches more of a workout," "it's too hard," "there's no yoga philosophy," or, my favorite, "her yoga isn't really yoga."
First of all, I'm not sure where anyone can think that they can define yoga. If you look up any definition, as long as you are working to control your mind and be a peaceful person, you are doing yoga. And I can tell you, in my practice, I (attempt to) control my mind A LOT and somehow I come out preeeetty peaceful. And all it consists of is a good powerful breath, asana that challenges my mind (and body), and lots of self inquiry and awareness.
I was drawn to the Baptiste practice because of this simplicity. I didn't know what I was getting into when I started yoga, but all I knew was that it was accessible. I wasn't trying to necessarily achieve anything; I just practiced a practice that allowed me to take a deeper look, in each moment, to who I was (am). And somehow my mind was becoming clearer, I didn't react or get upset as often, and I was happier. I didn't know what the Yoga Sutras were, I couldn't pronounce Bhagvad Ghita ( I dare you to say it 3x's fast), and I still, yes STILL, don't know the Sanskrit name for all of the yoga poses. Does this make me a bad yogi? Or worse yet, a bad yoga teacher?!?!
Some may say yes, but let me challenge your thinking here. Put the idea of "inquiry" to the test. How did someone write, or come up with the idea, of "The Yoga Sutras?" OR how, did someone come up with the idea of the chakras, third eye, or even the experience of energy? And then, they made them truths?
It's because, they are truths. But truth is inside of you. It's not knowledge that someone discovered and then you are required to achieve to be a good yogi. All it is, is you waking up to your truth and presencing yourself, SO MUCH, to your life, that you can recognize these things, without even knowing what they are.
The reason these Eastern philosophies were created is because, at some point in time, someone had the ability to sit and inquire within themselves, so much so, that they were able to notice things, and then make them truths. For instance, someone realized all, and I mean all, of the crap that we hold inside of our heads and how it affects our life- and then they called it the Yoga Sutras. Someone realized the space between the eyebrows was something special, and so they focused on it, recognized the heightened sense of awareness and peace that came from this place, and called it the "Third Eye." I can tell you, I LOVED to sit and notice the swirling action in my forehead long before I knew that it was my third eye and that it was connected to my internal wisdom. You see, it didn't happen the other way around like we practice now. Now, we are told about the Chakras, the "Third Eye," the Yoga Sutras, and then told to practice them as if they are something to achieve. They are NOT things to achieve. They are a constant practice of just noticing yourself, emptying out the junk that doesn't serve you, and getting one step closer to living in your full expression and your truth. That is it.
If you read and study the chakras, that is great. I am by no means disrespecting the Chakras. But it's knowledge will not lead you to enlightenment. If you study "The Yoga Sutras" front to back, you will have a lot of information to share. But that is it, the sutras, in and of themselves, are information about enlightenment... not enlightenment. If you truly want to be enlightened, then you must do the work of getting connected to yourself and your inner being. All, I mean ALL, that you ever need, is right inside of you. Let me say it again- All you ever need, is right inside of you.
Now that is truth. So let's get to work, shall we?