For yoga teachers and serious students, “Best Yoga on the Web” is your hand-picked guide to this week’s best of the best yoga and meditation from around the world. This week – Lyons Den Power Yoga, Baron Baptiste, Africa Yoga Project, Mark Nepo’s new book, and another meditation study!
Lyons Den Power Yoga wins best yoga studio in NYC poll.
Lyons Den Power Yoga, which just had its grand opening on November 14th, 2013 won the Racked Poll for best yoga studio in NYC, pretty impressive for such a new studio! The studio was founded by Bethany Lyons and John Murray and teaches power yoga as inspired by Baron Baptiste. I haven’t had a chance to take a class there yet, but I’ve gone through a few of the teacher bios and it sounds like there’s a good chance you’ll have a great experience.
Since the Lyons Den teaches in the Baron Baptiste style, I thought it a good time to feature Baron Baptiste in Best Yoga on the Web. It’s funny how life brings people together, Baron was the second yoga teacher I encountered on my yoga journey.
It was the mid-90’s, and I mentioned to an assistant at my architecture firm that I was getting into yoga. She said, “I used to baby sit for a guy who’s a yoga teacher”, and it was Baron Baptiste! Baron’s style is a bit brash, and I think of him as the Tony Robbins of yoga. It’s a kind of inspirational style that I really like, though I know it’s not for everyone.
Baron has become an extremely successful brand with his 40 Days to Personal Revolution program and his multi-level teacher trainings. Baron makes no claims to having special knowledge, and his teaching is based on sharing his experience (at least that what he says, a little odd that he has trademark signs all over his website).
Baron gets props for his charitable work, including founding the non-profit Africa Yoga Project (see below), as well as for working with disadvantaged youth and veterans. If you are interested in power yoga, Baron Baptiste is definitely worth checking out. I’ve included a video of Baron with his mother above.
The Africa Yoga Project.
The Africa Yoga Project is doing amazing, inspiring work. The project offers a way out for those brought up in a culture of anger, strife and violence by empowering people through promoting physical, mental, and emotional health. The project is working to create jobs, improve health, and develop the next generation of leaders in Africa. Participants in free yoga classes learn the physical practice of yoga, as well as meditation and self inquiry. The Africa Yoga Project reaches 250,000 people per year through over 300 free yoga classes.
Mark Nepo’s Reduced to Joy.
I enjoyed Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening for its practical, accessible advice on awakening. The title alone gets to the heart of the purpose of yoga. One of my favorite lines from that book is “To hold nothing back means letting whatever we experience make its way in and whatever is in make its way out.”
Now we have a new book of poetry by Mark called Reduced to Joy. The book came out a few months ago, but I haven’t read poetry in quite a few years so it took a shifting to get in the mind frame to take a look at it. I’m glad I did.
The poems are easy to read and evoke a whole range of wonderful emotions. This line from the poem Under Birdsong captures the essence of the book, “We are just lone birds flushed out of hiding, surprised so small a throat can cough up a song.”
More confirmation that meditation reduces stress and anxiety.
A study out this week, led by Dr. Madhav Goyal at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, provides further evidence that you can reduce stress and anxiety by meditating. Here’s a summary article on the research. One of the commenters on the article was dismissive, saying Jon Kabat-Zin figured this out at UMass in the early 90’s. True, but I’m all for more confirmation and spreading the word about the benefits of meditation!
If you have something you think might be worth sharing in a future edition of “Best Yoga on the Web” send me an e-mail or link at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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