Purity of life is the highest and truest art.
What is a personal revolution, and why do we need one?
Many of us are searching without knowing exactly what we are looking for. Some of us go on a diet to lose weight and try all kinds of programs and workshops to make ourselves feel better, or perhaps we throw ourselves into our work and seek wealth and status to fill the void, but underneath, an emotional emptiness remains. No matter how much we try to gloss over that yearning with temporary fixes, it is still there, whispering the truth: that what we need isn't another quick fix, but a rather a rebirth -- a whole-life revolution.
When I was born, my parents' Yoga and Health Center -- the first of its kind in San Francisco -- was already well established. Famous yogis would come and stay at our home, and we would go to India often for research. Because I was always around yoga, I just kind of picked it up by osmosis. As an adult, it became a natural way of life for me, and for years it seemed as though I was either studying under a guru, practicing yoga, or teaching.
But as I acknowledged in Journey into Power, at a certain point I felt as though the yoga process was failing me. What was supposed to produce miracles in my life just wasn't. Without realizing it, I had bought into the notion that something outside myself could "fix" me. The practices were calming me down a bit on the surface, but they were not enough. Something deep down was still missing. Perhaps my body was healthy, but my soul felt empty. My relationships weren't really working, and in many ways, my life felt futile. I knew I needed something more.
Many of us reach this point, yet somehow we get good at masking it. When someone asks us how we are doing, we automatically say, "Really great...things are so good...no complaints," but the truth underneath says differently. Eventually we can't fake being healthy or spiritual or pretend that "everything is just fine" any longer, and we either land in an emotional fetal position, ask for help, or both.
In my most desperate moment, from somewhere deep in my soul, I asked God for help. I had heard the phrase "Ask and ye shall receive, knock and the door of your mind will open," but it took a humbling emotional pain to understand what that really meant. I asked and I knocked, and as promised, a door was opened. It didn't swing open, as I had hoped; it barely cracked an inch. However, it was as though I were living in a dark room and that tiny crack in the door provided me with the light I needed to see the truth. I finally started to see that real health means wholeness on all levels and a deep and true connection to what is most sacred: the truth within our hearts. I realized that in order for my life to really change, I needed to be willing to surrender all the parts of myself for transformation. It wasn't enough to just work my body and my life on the surface; I needed to look within, take responsibility for my own path, and completely overhaul everything from the inside out.
Once I woke up and really got it that I couldn't just throw myself into the mechanics of the practice without also seeking wholeness and expect to feel better, I began to see the real gifts yoga can offer. In the end, yoga is not a magic cure-all, but the way it challenges our bodies, moves our stuck emotional energy, clears our mind, and inspires us to seek and live in truth can be a catalyst for amazing growth. The style of yoga I practice and teach, which I call Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga, is ultimately a system of physical, mental, and spiritual awakening that integrates the whole person, on every level.
Ultimately, the yoga program found in this book is about developing a soulful perspective to the question that I hear nearly every day in my classroom: "How did I get myself into this state, and how can I get out?" The Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga method offers us the understanding of our condition and the road map to get ourselves out into a more sculpted and awakened life -- whether that be a stronger, more powerful, or pain-free body, a heightened emotional intelligence, or a spiritually deeper experience of life.
The word yoga, in fact, means "to join one point to another," "to leave one place, space, condition and move toward a better one." We can use the practices to move us forward, but we will see the results we seek only if we are wholly willing to be fully present and accountable for the reality we have created in our bodies and our lives and to take full ownership of the revolution we know we need. Taking responsibility for the self means taking action, and this program is about taking action.
This program is designed to challenge your personal philosophy and your body so that you can tap unknown resources within yourself. Very often after someone or something challenges us we say, "I learned a lot from that experience, but I wouldn't have chosen it." It could be some physical challenge that came our way, a failed relationship, or a career decision. When something pushes back at us and bumps us against the fabric of our own being, it forces us to examine who we are and how we see things. In those moments, we can see and start to live in truth, which is the beginning and real basis for any lasting transformation.
A rock climber resting on a safe spot on a cliff must face her ingrained patterns and fears in order to move forward toward the next scary spot. After completing the journey, the climber looks back and feels good about what she's done, because she met a challenge and as a result developed self-respect and a new view of life. This program is meant to challenge your ingrained patterns and propel you to radically move forward and up, away from the plateau where you currently rest.
Once we accept responsibility for ourselves, we can become our own teachers, healers, and motivators. I can promise you that once you take full responsibility and spark your inner revolution with full consciousness, the practices you learn in this program will never fail you. Never. You won't need drugs, surgery, machines, or miracles to transform. All you will need is yourself and your new understanding of what it really means to live an awakened and truthful life.
The Great Masters
My good friend Krishna Das tells a story about how when he and his friend Ram Das were younger, they went to India expecting to leave the Western world and all its beliefs behind. They saved their money and journeyed on this huge pilgrimage to cash in on the exotic enlightenment that Indian mysticism seemed to offer. They believed there was something out there -- over there -- that would give them the insight and tools they needed to transform their lives, to fill in the missing piece of their existence. When Krishna Das and his friend finally sat at the great guru's feet, they heard him simply giggle and offer, "Be like Jesus!"
This wasn't what they were expecting. But like so many westerners who came after them, they believed they needed to look elsewhere for the answers, when much of the ancient wisdom and timeless guidance we need is right here, within our own heritage and our own hearts.
You might expect that I would base the majority of my teachings on the ancient yogic texts and philosophy, but after spending a lifetime immersed in it, I can honestly say that much of the teachings of the East don't make sense for us here in the West. It has become very popular to dress things up with Hindu mysticism, but all the flowery language and talk about peace, chakras, samadhi, and grand promises of spiritual enlightenment can easily become distractions. I've seen so many enthusiastic people sincerely seeking a better way get sucked into the black hole of yogic promise. Blindly worship a guru, contort into strange poses, control your breathing...it all fits perfectly into the dark side of what is wrong with American culture. It appeals to our Madison Avenue-fed belief that happiness is found on the outside.
In this book, I attempt to bridge the gap between the wisdom of the East that can and does apply to us here and the teachings of great masters such as Jesus and Moses. We forget that what these masters taught lies at the heart of what we seek in yoga, and they stand as perhaps some of the greatest yogis who have ever lived. Many of us have rejected these teachers in favor of what we perceive as the more mysterious and fascinating ones from faraway cultures, but the teachings of one can enrich the teachings of the others.
The purpose of this forty-day program is to lead you into your own personal revolution. Like the great masters, you will come to understand that all health and vitality is the outward reflection of a pure heart and right intent. As you start to align your mind with the Laws of Transformation in Part One, you will start to see that the transformation happens naturally. You will lose weight, if that is what needs to happen; you will become less reactive and more calm; your bad habits will start to release their grip on you. You will discover, as I did, that external changes happen when we adjust the inner workings of our minds -- when we adopt a philosophical foundation that gives our growth greater purpose and meaning.
Why forty days? Because the number 40 holds tremendous spiritual significance in the realm of transformation. Jesus wandered in the desert for forty days in order to experience purification and come to a greater understanding of himself and his mission. Moses and his people traveled through the desert for forty years before arriving at their home in the holy land. Noah preserved the sacredness of life by sailing his ark for forty days and forty nights. According to the Kabbalah, the ancient Jewish mystical text, it takes forty days to ingrain any new way of being into our system, and that is what we are aiming to do here: wipe out the old and welcome the new. In forty days, you can shift into a whole new way of living and being.
Here in these pages, I hope to tap ancient wisdom to address the Western world's desperate need for real health, and create a relevant and practical program to spark radical changes within you. Allow these forty days to be a chance to use the tools here to stir things up and see what you are made of. You're not here by accident -- you opened this book at the right time, in the right space. If you honor the inner voice that says you are ready to let go of the past and create a new reality, I am confident you will find your way home to the mental clarity, lightness of body, and illumination of spirit that comes with whole-life health.
Copyright © 2004 by Baptiste Power Yoga Institute, Inc.
40 Days to Personal Revolution
40 Days to Personal Revolution
40 Days to Personal Revolution
In 40 Days to Personal Revolution, Baron Baptiste—one of the world’s most beloved master yoga teachers—inspires us to transform more than body and mind: He gives us the tools we need to set ourselves free to live the healthful life we’ve always imagined. In the next 40 days you will create a whole new way of being and living. Tapping ancient wisdom and his own personal experience, Baron has created a relevant and completely practical program that will lead you to the clarity of mind, body, and spirit that awaits on the other side of your revolution. Each week includes:
- A yoga practice to do every morning
- Principles to cleanse your diet along with eating plan
- Instructions to begin and deepen a meditation practice
- Excavation questions to root out limiting beliefs and patterns
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