|spiritually has lead me into a vibrant and rich heritage to be born into. My parents Magana and Walt Baptiste were ahead of their time renowned Yogis, health, fitness, dance and human potential teachers. They served as leaders and pioneers, recognized for having coined the phrase ‘Body Mind & Spirit’. Dad was one of the foremost authorities and teachers of Yoga in the World. Meher Baba called him a “son of Light”. Swami Rama of the Himalayas referred to him as a ‘Master Teacher’. Swami Sivananda gave him the sacred title of ‘Yogi Raj’. Swami Muktananda recognized him for “insight into the spiritual heritage of India as well as of the West”. Among many honors and great recognition Dad was invited to India to serve as the opening speaker at the world convocation of spiritual leaders during the great Kumbha Mela of 1974. In 1999 Mayor Willie Brown proclaimed it Walt Baptiste Day and in 2002 a Mayor’s proclamation was also presented officially declaring it Magana Baptiste Day in San Francisco.
My parents opened the very first and finest fitness centers in San Francisco’s financial district and is recognized for having established yoga in the West Coast. Revered as “America’s Royal Family of Yoga” they opened San Francisco’s Yoga Centre in San Francisco in 1955, helping to pave the way for millions who practice and teach yoga today. Our centers combined the disciplines of physical culture, yoga asanas, weight training, pranayama, concentration and meditation principles as the foundation in their system. Their teachings brought out the science of breath, along with a consciousness based approach to living and to life as constructive personal psychology. Mom was a seminal figure in San Francisco’s dance world and has helped to popularize yoga into what it has become today. They were constant resource of inspiration through dedication to these arts and sciences; they shared their vision and growing insights into the meaning of body-mind-spirit to enhance the richness of life.
This awareness shaped the out come and quality of my upbringing and life. I look back today recognizing that I was raised in a unique environment…one with insights and early training that I’m very thankful for. I’m the first born of three with my sister Devi Ananda, and brother Baron. Devi is a teacher of dance and hatha yoga, and a performing artist living in San Francisco. Baron renowned teacher and author is at the forefront of Yoga and Human Potential work. I give my brother great credit for opening up many doors in the mainstream for yoga's popularity and growth since the 1990's...his work continues to grow and blossom in the most unique ways, inspiring others to a greater depth of personal understanding.
Tucking me he would
teach me to work with my breath and meditation. I would fall asleep at night
with these thoughts and insights into these practices going on in my head. One he spoke deeply to me about looking within for inner light, and about
the Divine Mother. It was one of those pivotal moments that led me towards
spiritual experience. About the age of nine I remember looking into my own
eyes in the mirror as another key moment of awareness. In that moment,
looking into my own eyes I touched base with my life energetically on a soul
basis. In that moment I knew that there was a much bigger perspective going
on in our lives, and that this life was something amazing. I had no idea
what that meant, just that it wasn¹t random that we were here.
My parents brought us into their lives fully. It was hip, and dynamic. We
were a close family and always an integral part of our parent¹s work and
life. It was a vibrant experience. In my teens I was Dad¹s assistant and had
to attend his meditation and yoga classes in the process in many of the
places including our own centers that he taught. He was a professor at SF
State and Chabot College as well. My training was innate, natural, and
gradual giving it time to sink deeply in on a cellular level.
I stared teaching in my teens. To my horror mom had gathered a group of
about twenty teenagers for a weekly class. They were my peers. It was
painful as I was only fifteen, but they came back again and again and it
opened the door to my own classes. That was the official start. I continued
to study, and also teach Baptiste inspired yoga and dance classes having
formal training in many different styles and disciplines. Next I opened my
first business, Baptiste Natural Foods Store in San Francisco. I loved this
episode in my life, as this store quickly became one of the Bay Area¹s most
popular. People traveled from all over to shop with us because of the level
of education we gave our customers. This chapter of my life allowed me to
teach the value of optimal nutrition and tips for a healthy diet to
thousands of customers. This store was on the ground level of our Baptiste
Center that took up half a city block. It was four stories tall and also
included huge yoga center, gym, dance studio, natural foods restaurant and a
boutique. It was a pretty cool chapter in our families work, and also for
their devoted and wonderful students who worked there too.
YM: Who are your teachers?
YM:What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in yoga since you were a child?
SB: Well of course we have all seen it turn into a business, an industry
with product driven trainings and events. At the same time this has helped
to integrate itself into modern life and our vocabulary. I don¹t think any
part of it is a surprise as it's a terrific system of personal development
and very much here to stay. I have seen a lot of the teachers new to the
scene fade away. Some took trainings as a career move and they were very
honest about that. But as I've observed so many come and go, it seems to me
that the real teachers that stay in for the long haul, seem to find this
perhaps as more of a calling. A process that develops us too along the way
as we simply share what we know to be good with others through the natural
process of our life and teaching. My sense is that Yoga is a Practice and
System of Personal Development that over time really takes hold; it gets in
on a cellular level that builds powerfully over time. Yoga serves our times
and us so well; it has a way of shape shifting to meet our needs in current
times. It's efficient, powerful, fun and inspiring. Yoga has no beginning
and no end; it¹s time tested and here to stay. It offers a quality of
excellence as a science and art with, techniques and practices that are
timeless in their nature connecting us deeply to our deepest levels of
awareness and consciousness of inner potentials in the process.
YM: What is at the core of your teachings?
SB: Breath, spirituality, yoga practices, authentic Self, joy in the journey and community.
What I love about teaching yoga is that it is time-tested. You can trace its roots and philosophy back about 8,000 years. Yoga addresses your mind, body and soul, and it has the power to touch people’s lives in meaningful ways. My classes, retreats and yoga journeys offer time to awaken your spirit and to strengthen, relax, renew, clean out and center yourself. I have found, that everyone can integrate yoga principles into daily awareness and living.
The beauty of the Baptiste Method of Yoga™ is that it creates a balance of strength and flexibility, mentally and physically. You notice an increase in your vitality and overall sense of well-being. If you want to change the quality of your life I invite you to join us.
YM: You created Yoga With Weights, an amazing blend of yoga and fitness techniques.
Just like yoga the weights also came out of India, as you can read in my book Yoga with Weights by Sherri Baptiste (Wiley Publishers) Working out with weights is one of the best ways to achieve overall physical fitness and to cultivate the anti aging factors. Yoga is renowned as a system of personal development through which you can cultivate peak performance and achieve a higher quality of life. By combining these two exercise systems, yoga with weights addresses the needs of the body beautiful, but it also goes beyond the physical dimension of your well being. The yoga-with-weights workout refines and lengthens muscles; it doesn’t bulk up your muscles. The added resistance from the weights forces the deep-core muscles to come into play. Not many forms of exercise engage the deep-core balancing muscles. A 20-minute yoga-with-weights workout will help stimulate your metabolism, develop lean muscle mass, control weight, support healthy bone density, target areas in the process of total body conditioning and make for a beautiful body. You’ll notice an overall sense of well-being and peace of mind.
Baptiste Retreats & Yoga Journeys Presented : 2008 -2009
Journey to India Sacred Sites: A Path to Transformation Oct 2008
Power of Women Retreat: Sayulita Mexico March 2009
Baptiste Yoga with Sherri Baptiste & Nia Movement Sessions with France Laude: Peru-Machu Pichu Aug 2009: http://www.powerofyoga.com
Baptiste Power of Yoga and Meditation Retreat: Green Gulch Zen Center Marin, Ca November 2009: http://www.powerofyoga.com
YM: Where can people find out more about you and buy your books, DVDs etc?
SB: Thank you for asking. I have a beautiful website:
Products can be purchased there, and also from: http://www.EverythingYoga.com, http://www.IdeaWorldFitness.com and http://www.Amazon.com just to name a few. They all sell my DVD, CD and Yoga with Weights for Dummies Book (Wiley Publisher).
YM: Thank you for joining us!
Namaste’ to all,
Sherri Baptiste is an inspirational yoga teacher at the forefront of training in America. She is the daughter of America's yoga pioneers and master teachers Magana and Walt Baptiste. Founder of Baptiste Power of Yoga, she offers classes, workshops, retreats and teacher training. Her retreats and teacher training programs provide an empowering, peaceful oasis in a hurried world, a place where students can find within themselves the tools and knowledge to support and maintain a happier, healthier and more spiritual lifestyle. Sherri presents for Western Athletics Clubs’s Bay Clubs, Gold's Gym, Yoga Studios Larkspur and San Francisco, Nautilus, Loyola Marymount University's Yoga Therapy Rx Program, Equinox, IDEA World Fitness and Inner IDEA Conferences, Body Mind Spirit, Yoga Journal, ECA, AFPA, Can-Fit-Pro, Rancho La Puerta spa and Yoga Therapy Conferences. She has instructed for the International Himalayan Yoga Teachers Association (under Swami Veda Bharati's guidance) and conducts yoga retreats at locations such as Kripalu, Omega, Haramara, Green Gulch Zen Center and Feathered Pipe Ranch.
A member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), Sherri’s teacher-training and continuing education programs are recognized by Yoga Alliance at the highest designated level of E-RYT 500. She is also recognized by the International Yoga Federation as an honorary member of the World Yoga Council. A radio and television personality, she is featured in video, DVD and CD programs that include "Power of Yoga" and "Power of Meditation." Sherri is the author of Yoga with Weights for Dummies (Wiley Publishers 2006). She also serves as the online yoga expert for VoiceofDance.com and is a published writer in Best Body Magazine, Yoga Magazine and Alternative Medicine Magazine, Caregivers Journal 2008.
Sherri's specialties include breath-based yoga flow (for all levels), chakras, breath work, meditation, yoga with weights, yoga personal training, yoga for older adults and therapeutic yoga applications.
Sherri Baptiste, Baptiste Power of Yoga, LLC, P.O. Box 414, Kentfield, CA 94914 (888) 804-9642, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Baptiste Power of Yoga: Yoga Teacher Certification (200 & 500 hr) and Advancing Studies Programs (Yoga Alliance Recognized) with Sherri Baptiste: E-RYT 500