3 Themes of Baptiste Yoga

Quiet those limiting beliefs and discover new possibilities by remembering these empowering ideas.

It’s always there. Watching. Waiting. Ready to hold you back from being everything you were born to be.

It’s the inner critic — that pattern of negative thoughts that are limiting you from living from your truth. It can hound you in your job, family life and romantic relationships. And because our yoga mats are the best mirrors, showing what’s really going on inside of us, the inner critic often shows up in our yoga practice. 

Because we believe in empowering each and every student who comes to our studio to reach their full potential, we teach from the three themes of Baptiste Yoga. They are truths that can help you stop making excuses about why you can’t and remind you that you absolutely can. Let’s take a closer look at each theme and what it means.

Theme 1: Know that you are ready now.

Ready for what? For anything! Seriously, what are the excuses holding you back from trying yoga, taking yoga teacher training, getting a better career or traveling more? Whatever it is that you want in life, you are ready now. RIGHT NOW.

One of the most common self-limiting thoughts is “I’m not enough.” Not strong enough, not fit enough, not smart enough, not confident enough, not rich enough, not thin enough. But good news: You are not your thoughts. When you realize that you are merely the observer of your thoughts and, therefore, separate from them, you are no longer a slave to your mind. And then you can change those old thought patterns to ones that help you manifest anything you want. 

The first yama of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is ahimsa, or nonviolence. This means avoiding violent actions, thoughts, and words. That includes the actions, thoughts, and words directed at ourselves. As Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chodron writes in her book “When Things Fall Apart”: “In order to feel compassion for other people, we have to feel compassion for ourselves.” So make this one of your mantras to repeat every day: “I am ready now. I am enough.” 

Theme 2: Give up what you must.

Aside from negative thought patterns, what else could you give up in order to grow? It could be an addiction, an excuse, a toxic relationship, a job that is no longer bringing you life. But you may have been striving for years to let this go and find yourself nothing but frustrated. 

So what’s the secret to giving up what no longer serves you? In Western “self-improvement” culture, we see our problems as our enemy — something that needs to be attacked. But the Eastern path says there is no need to improve ourselves “because our real power flows from a force that is in us but not of us,” writes Baron Baptiste in his book “Journey Into Power.” “The goal is to simply surrender ourselves and our problems to the highest powers in the universe.” 

The most effective way to give up our problems is to forgive ourselves and others, stop resisting and fighting, and just flow.

Theme 3: Be a yes.

When I first heard a Baptiste Yoga teacher say “be a yes,” I admit I felt annoyed. “You can’t say yes to everything,” I thought. “When you say yes to one thing, it means saying no to something else.” For example, saying yes to peace means saying no to violence.

But I was missing the point — which is not to say yes to every invitation or offer or whim. To “be a yes” means to just show up and be open. The only real requirement for growth in your yoga practice and relationships is to be present. 

In your asana practice, you can be a yes by just showing up on your mat on the days you don’t feel like doing yoga. You can be a yes by trying a different variation of a pose that you’ve never tried before. Maybe you raise your top leg during side plank — or maybe you try on bringing your bottom knee down. You can be a yes by showing up to class when you have an injury and learn how you can modify. Or maybe you stay in child’s pose or savasana the whole class. Being a yes just means showing up, being present and staying open. 

New possibilities

When you put these three themes of Baptiste Yoga into practice, you will start to discover new possibilities in all areas of your life. Possibilities for growth in your yoga practice, possibilities for forgiveness in your relationships, possibilities for doing something you never thought your body could do.

So we encourage you to step outside your comfort zone every day and keep these three themes in mind as you embark on new adventures. That is where true growth happens!