In YJ's upcoming online course, Pillars of Power Yoga, master Baptiste Yoga teacher Leah Cullis will lead an athletic and spiritual immersion into the five core pillars of Baptiste Yoga: drishti, breath, foundation, heat, and flow. Sign up now for Pillars of Power Yoga to learn more about Baptiste Yoga and be the first to know when this fitness- and focus-boosting course launches. Here, she explains how practicing in a heated room goes deeper, heals, and pushes you out of your comfort zone.
In Baptiste Yoga, we use the heat as a tool for transformation. The challenge of balancing on one foot in a 95-degree room with sweat running in my eyes forces me to focus on my breath and my drishti to get through the discomfort in the moment. I use that skill on the mat to stay centered when the heat gets turned up in my life. When I move through challenging conversations, when I’m feeling stretched out in all directions with overcommitment, the clarity I cultivate in Baptiste Yoga helps me stay grounded in love. I know that if I stay patient in the middle of the fire, the rewards are waiting on the other side.
The Top 3 Reasons We Use Heat in Baptiste Yoga
1. The heat is a tool to get deeper into the body.
In Baptiste Yoga, we heat the room to 90–95 degrees, using the heat as a tool to get deeper into the body. Heat softens the tissues and muscles and makes the body more malleable. In Baptiste Yoga, we often say if glass is cold you can't reshape it, but if you apply heat to glass, you can form it and bend it and mold it into shape. Same with the body. Physically, you can shape your body in a way that might not seem possible when you first step onto your yoga mat. As you create this melting away of the perceived limitations of your body, you start to see where something else might be possible that you once thought couldn’t happen. The heat melts away layers of resistance and old holding patterns, physically and energetically.
2. Sweat naturally heals the body.
Sweat helps the body release toxins and excess debris. And when you add heat in the room, the results multiply. We live in such a fast-paced and toxic environment today that it's important to be in some sort of practice of rinsing, renewing, detoxing, and purifying. A heated classroom can be uncomfortable at first, but once you access that power of purification, it feels really good.
3. The heat gets you out of your comfort zone.
It's easy to build a very comfortable life and avoid situations that don’t feel good, but being uncomfortable is part of growth. It helps you move forward and transform. When we feel physical discomfort, we build energetic and muscular memory that being uncomfortable is OK. It’s an important part of rewiring your body and seeing things in a new way. Being able to tolerate the heat for 60 minutes teaches you how to “stay” while you’re uncomfortable, on and off the mat. When you stay uncomfortable with the commitment to burn off that which is no longer necessary, you begin to tap into a deep reservoir of inner power that can serve you at work, in your relationships with loved ones, and in a sweaty Eagle Pose.