The Baptiste Power Vinyasa is a unique yoga style created by Baron Baptiste, a power yoga innovator with knowledge of different yoga styles, meditation and martial arts.
His yoga style consists of five pillars: vinyasa, ujjayi pranayama, heat, uddiyana bandha and drishti. Yoga classes performed in heated room are usually sweaty and strong.
Baptiste Power yoga style is a hot power type of yoga, it focuses on asana, self-inquiry and meditation; this yoga style is designed to be adaptable to any physical ability level. To practice this style effectively, learn about the pillars associated with it, its origin, and the location it can be practiced.
Origin of Baptiste Power Yoga
Finding a more suitable yoga lineage than Baron Baptiste’s yoga style would be difficult. The first yoga studio was first opened in 1952 by Baptiste parents, walt and Magana Baptiste. Before then, he learned the teaching of Bikram Choudhury and B.K.S Iyengar.
Baptiste had blended these teachings by the mid-1990s, alongside inspirations from T.K.V Desikachar (son of Krishnamacharya and founder of Vini Yoga) and Ashtanga into his method of power yoga which emphasizes on the essence of intuition.
The foundation of Power Binyasa was created by combining the elements from all these predecessors – Bandhas, drishti, vinyasa, pranayama, adaptability and alignment.
The Five Pillars of Baptiste Power Yoga
The key aspects of this yoga style are summarized by breath, heat, flow, gaze, and core stability; this makes up the 5 pillars of Baptiste Power Vinyasa.
1. Breath: Ujjayi is the main pranayama used, it is linked with a strong practice of vinyasa. To do the Ujjayi breath, you constrict or tone your throat’s back – as you would when fogging up a mirror – as you breathe in and out using your nose. Doing this might be difficult as first, but it becomes easy the more you practice.
Doing this can slow down how you breathe during challenging postures, it makes your breath deep and powerful. The breath can trigger your body’s flight or panic reflexes when it becomes short and shallow. Keeping long and deep breath can help you remain calm.
2. Heat: The temperature of the room is raised to 90 -95 degrees in official Baptiste Power Vinyasa classes. The reason the room is heated is to allow the students fuel their inner fires (tapas) for a free, sweaty practice.
3. Flow: this vinyasa style has to do with linking movements with breath. Practice flow on a daily basis is highly recommended. Although the series of poses in BPV is not fixed, most classes follow a pattern.
Classes starts with different rounds of surya namaskara A and surya namaskara B, and there is also room for variation during practice. The teacher then progresses to a standing series that comprises of vinyasa flow between sides. Beginners can also be introduced to more advanced variations. Abdominal work, hip opening and back banding may be included in the classes.
4. Gaze: Looking at a specific spot while practicing yoga is known as Drishti. It is a key aspect of Ashtanga yoga, where it is taught as a form of alignment for every yoga pose.
The gaze in BPV is not specified for each yoga pose, instead, the students are directed to focus on an immobile spot and maintain a soft eye as a way to prevent distraction in the external environment and focus more inwards.
5. Core Stabilization: this is referred to as uddiyana bandha. Core stabilization in BPV means continuous drawing of the belly button toward the spine. This is carried out all through the practice, but it differs from the deep uddiyana bandha observed in “Light on Yoga” which has to do with hollowing the belly completely till the ribs protrude. The intended purpose is to offer support by keeping the core engaged for strength and balance.
Where Baptiste Power Yoga can be Practiced ?
Two official BPV studios located in San Francisco, California, and Boston Massachusetts. You will also find some affiliated studios distributed in the United States. Baptiste program are very open and independent yoga studios teaching this yoga style can also be partner studios.
Don’t be surprised if there is a hot yoga studio where you can practice BPV. To find a studio close to you, visit the Baptiste website. Also, Baptiste is active on conference circuit and yoga festival, appears frequently in Yoga Journal, and has authored several books such as “Being of Power” , “Journey into Power” and a book for kids “My Daddy is a Pretzel.”