25 April 2009

NAMASTE': Interviewing Baron Baptiste

Not the perfect headstand, but one of the most difficult I've ever executed. This Sonoma Coast beach had not sand, but zillions of loose black pebbles, making balancing extremely difficult, like trying to do headstand in a field of ball bearings. I could not hold the pose while looking toward the violently crashing surf. Nothing felt stable! After falling several times, I turned my back on the ocean, which all the signs posted on this dangerous beach warn against, but I set up a safe distance from the perilous waters, managed to get upsidedown, and changed my perspective.

Ha! I finally worked one of my favorite word plays--HEADSTANDING-ROOM-ONLY-- into a feature article, the lede of a piece I wrote on the yogi Baron Baptiste, founder of Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga. My story runs in the fitness section of
The Denver Post this Monday. I have my yoga roots in Iyengar, but now practice Bikram and Power yoga, so I was honored to interview Baron, as he's know to students.

Please check out the article. Or if you're not local, you can Google
The Denver Post Baron Baptiste by Colleen Smith
and that should bring up the article.

We'll get a link up, too.

I wrote the copy below as a sidebar to my feature. The sidebar got killed--meaning it was not published--but that's the beauty of the blog: The writing was not all for naught. Here it is:

If you think yoga is only for hippie-dippy, tie-dye donning, navel-gazing, om-chanting, vegan sorts, bear in mind that from 1994 to 1998, the Philadelphia Eagles contracted Baron Baptiste to train the team. Baptiste worked with Super Bowl champion players and coaches, but he touts yoga not only for NFL players, but also for athletes in any athletic activity at any level.
“Yoga is great cross-training or counter-training,” he said. “It’s a good support for any sport, a platform for all training.”
The benefits of regular asana practice are many, and evident on many levels, according to Baptiste.
“Yoga builds ease in the body, so people are more comfortable in any movement or sport. Yoga builds agility, balance, mobility, freedom of movement, strength. You feel a freedom in this sense of strength,” said Baptiste.
“It’s a great balance of releasing and strengthening muscles and joints, using your own body as weight, working on multiple planes and angles and dimensions.”
And the mental benefits figure into the athletic equation, too. Baptiste said, “The great mind training allows athletes to be relaxed and at ease and performing at their peak.”


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