Becoming a Witness – The Essence of Yoga

Debi-IYPI recently attended Ignite Your Power (IYP), an advanced teacher training with Baron Baptiste and Elizabeth Corley, the CEO of Baptiste Power Yoga Institute. It was a powerful experience. I learned more than I have probably learned in any other training; however, the context of my learning was not in yoga asana, it was about becoming the witness of myself.

To be quite honest, I am still digesting the majority of what transpired during this training. I had many revelations, insights and experiences. I witnessed as fear and anxieties paralyzed me. I witnessed myself showing up powerfully, with a willingness to hear direction and feedback. I witnessed myself sharing authentically and vulnerably. I witnessed myself taking a stand for others and speaking straight. I was the witness of my behaviors that make me cringe and my behaviors that make me feel proud. I experienced meditations that made me sob, meditations where the voices in my head would not stop, and meditations where there was peace. I also witnessed myself feel trust, gratitude, and pure love for others and myself. I am not naïve enough to believe that I will not feel fear and anxiety ever again. However, by continuing to be the witness, I can practice responsible responsiveness instead of reactivity.

One of the exercises we did involved us seeing ourselves through the eyes of others, facilitated by honest feedback. The feedback was our limiting perception of each other. For me, this brought my blind spots into view. I was given the gift of seeing how my behavior lands on others and the impact that my way of being has on my relationships. I define this as a gift because the reality is that people often avoid speaking straight and offering honest feedback. This insight has empowered me to choose how I am being in relationship to how I want to hold space for others.

Part of a key distinction of being a Masterful Baptiste Teacher is the commitment to continually evolve. I know that for me to hold space for others’ transformation I need to be willing to do the work myself. Being a Bold Leader requires me to pave the way with integrity, authenticity and love. Gandhi states, “Truth resides in every human heart.” This is the home of The Witness. Truth is not something we will hear from the voices in our head, truth is an inner knowing deep inside ourselves. It is in this space that Love resides and where we are all connected. The word yoga means union. When I am present as the witness, I feel a connection to my true self and within this connection I am able to truly connect to others. For me this is the essence of yoga.

I have deep love and gratitude for Baron and Elizabeth, the eleven other IYP participants, the Baptiste community, the Bala Vinyasa Yoga Community and my family, who continually show up to practice and grow. You all inspire me on a daily basis.

By Debi Grilo, Courtesy of Bala Vinyasa Yoga.

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© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan LLC

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