My journey with Baptiste Yoga began as a belly dancer and a Ren Faire stunt woman in the early ‘90s, although I didn’t know it yet. I met my soulmate Charlotte then too, although I didn’t know she was her back then. Many adventures together since.
Renaissance Faire stunt work. Jiu-Jitsu scrimmages. Pirate radio DJ stints. Catamaran sailing. Swing dancing at the short-lived, dreamy Sugar Palm Club in Ybor City. Ireland. Spain. The Cayman Islands. Riding motorcycles on sun-dappled winding Florida roads.
As the planet spun on its axis and around the sun, we settled into professional lives that demanded hours of sitting in front of screens. I started telecommuting. The advantages of working from home are many. On the flip, years of sitting in front of a laptop with most daily human interactions via devices slipped into myriad chronic health issues, boredom, isolation. Any of this sound familiar?
Y’all remember 2016. Same here. Amid all that disruption, I started to recall life before screens and keyboards. Without chronic aches, constant discomfort, avoidance of physical effort, unshed tears, tinnitus, twitches, insomnia. I recalled a connection with fellow humans. In-person. Face to face. Crystal clear memories of movement and community starkly contrasted with daily life in front of a laptop, nightlife in front of a tv screen, day and night scrolling over a phone screen.
Propelled by the wiser voices in my head to get out of my head and into my body, I returned to dance and yoga classes. I slowly re-cultivated desperately needed strength, stamina, and resilience of every kind – physical, mental, emotional. Connection with fellow humans, in person, without our amazing gadgets, was the key. Part of the community again after years of techno-isolation, I clearly saw everyone I met suffering, in some way, some more than others. Some a lot more than others. And much, maybe most of it due to self-imprisonment. I realized personal practice was not enough. I registered for YTT, and belly dance teacher training, thinking to blend asana and dance into teaching practice.
Jennifer Huber taught a Baptiste workshop to our YTT cohort. True North Alignment principles made practical sense to this dancer, word nerd, lifelong student. What I wasn’t prepared for was how deeply yoga sank into my marrow. As Jennifer taught the Journey into Power, asking questions that kept me so utterly present I didn’t notice anything else but how amazing it was to be a human being breathing and moving through this gravitational field of planet Earth. Shaking and not a little nauseous, my first Journey into Power ended with vertigo. I spent savasana convincing myself not to puke. Simultaneously I felt my agency in the bone, felt my sovereignty deep in my cells. Of the eons and cultural iterations of the ancient sprawling yogic tradition, my first Journey into Power sequence that day made sense out of it all.
Grateful to Jen for inviting me to the Baptiste practice, and for the people I’ve met in this community since then, I write today as the planet is tilted into winter, which here in Florida is what we put up with July in order to enjoy. I hope wherever and whenever you are when you read this, you’ll consider following the wiser voice in your head to a Journey into Power class near you.