Thursday, February 28, 2013

Yoga Mid Term Paper Metro West Yoga

                                    MetroWest Yoga:                       
                        Myoga Hot Hatha –Baptiste/Shaw

                                     Amanda Cowgill
                                        CSOCS 3452
                        Yoga: Theory, Culture and Practice

                                    MetroWest Yoga:                       
                        Myoga Hot Hatha –Baptiste/Shaw

I have been extremely lucky to experience the art of yoga from multiple teachers over the years. I was able to broaden my horizon by learning a variety of yoga styles.  I started my yoga experience with hatha yoga. Lately I was able to open my eyes to a completely new form,, one  I had never experienced before. I was opened up to the world of Myoga hot hatha.
I was fortunate enough to visit a wonderful yoga studio down the street from me. It’s called, MetroWest Yoga. It is run by a woman in her mid-50s,  Shawn Shaw, who has been practicing for more than 30 years. She started her yoga practice after an abusive marriage left her divorced with two young children. She started her yoga practice in her own home. She converted a bedroom in her house to a studio in 2003. She encouraged her children to join in as well. When her studio began to grow, she opened up her first commercial studio in Westborough, Mass., in 2005. She theThen recently open her second studio in Worcester, Mass.. Shawn turned to yoga to help heal herself from her divorce. She says yoga allowed her to heal., Aa quote from Shawn’s website, tell her story of what yoga did for her:.
With regular practice, my body became stronger and healthier than it had with any other form of exercise, and my mind became calm and peaceful. In addition, I learned to love more openly, speak more truthfully and live more in the moment. I decided teaching yoga and bringing this beautiful healing practice to others would be my life’s work.”  (Shawn Shaw 2011)
It’s wonderful stories like Shawn’s that encourage others, like myself to give yoga a fair shake. It has been explained that although one my not have their “ah ha” moment in the first few sessions,. mMost do leave a yoga class refreshed and ready to take on the day with a positive outlook on what each day has to bring.
            Due to Shawn’s passion for wanting to bring the benefits to others, opening her study was only theo beginning tof what she brings with her. Shawn has become an experiences registered yoga teacher. (E-RYT 200). She has created workshops for those who want to learn the art of teaching. She is a As well as trained teacher herself both locally and internationally. She is known for training teachers to teach with authenticity and an open heart. The MetroWest studios are open to all levels of yoga practitioners, from beginners, children, to well- trained yogis. The studio offers single drop- in classes, a weeklong class andor even courses. Shawn even offers private lessons to all varieties of yogis. For the beginners who are looking for that individual time to help learn the basics of yoga, or for the more experienced yogis who are looking to deepen their practice.
In the beginning I was under the impression that yoga, was used to “empty the mind.. While practicing yoga, one needed to control one’s thoughts. However I was recently told in an interview with my most recent yoga teacher, that’s not what Myoga hot hatha is about. An instructor at MetroWest yoga Vin Garino (2013) stated, “Iit is not about being able to control your mind, because realistically it isn’t completely possible to control your thoughts. But instead meditation and yoga is about seeing your mind wander and being able to realize that and reign your mind back in. Being able to know that you mind is straying from your breathing and being able to refocus on your breaths and focus your energy.” Knowing this has hadmade a tremendous effect on my perspective towards yoga. Struggling with ADHD (attention-deficit-hyperactive-disorder) I have a hard time focusing and sitting still. I always thought that I would never be good at yoga because my mind wanders far too frequently to be able to “control” my thoughts. I thought that yoga was about getting to the point where your mind is empty and not allowing thoughts to go in or out, that it is all about the breath. This was extremely discouraging for me, because I enjoy the art of yoga, but felt I wasn’t good at it. Being introduced to Vin, made a big impact, he was positive and encouraging. When I mentioned my doubts about my mind, Garino (2013) stated, “if you are able to notice that your mind is wandering, then the first step is to see and realize that. The next part is to pull your mind back and refocus. If you are able to do that, then you are more than half way there in yoga and meditation.” This here is one of the major steps in yoga for me, and one huge reason as to why I continue to go back to MetroWest Yoga.
            After speaking with a few of the yoga teachers at the studio, it was explained that the background of Myoga hot hatha is from the practice of Baron Baptiste. According to Baron Baptiste’s,
Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga classes offer a true immersion into your physical and mental self. The unique blend of yoga traditions and philosophies emphasize the flow of breath while moving with strength and grace from pose to pose, all in a heated environment. Modern yogi and founder, Baron Baptiste, stresses the principle of adaptation. Both aspiring and advanced yogis, young and old, can modify each posture and create their own individual experience. The result is a yoga practice that rinses and detoxifies the mind and body, while building strength and flexibility on and off the mat.” (Baptiste, 2013)
With this guidance and experience from working with Baptisite, Shawn went off with the inspiration to create her own style of yoga. Myoga hot hatha has become a version of Baptiste’s power yoga, bringing in her own twist to the practice. One important factor that makesdiffers Shawn’s practice of yoga different from other forms is that fact that there is freedom in the poses. Garino often stated (2013) in his yoga class, “Mmake the pose your own, challenge yourself. Make it different.” This was something I hadn’t heard in yoga before. But it was something that stuck with me. I have always been a unique person, and being able to make each pose slightly more of my own without changing the pose itself, made me feel more in tune with the practice. I hope to one day enjoy a yoga practice taught by Baron Baptisite, to be able to compare the two. But either way I thoroughly enjoy the new practice I have luckily been able to experience.
            Yoga at MetroWest yoga is influenced by a few cultures. However when talking with Garino (2013) he stated,  “There isn’t a specific culture to back this study. The main influence in Shawn’s yoga methods is the study of Baron Baptisite’s practices.”
 According to Baptitste Yoga (2013),
Baptiste Yoga style is are inspired by the hatha yoga teachings of Krishnamacharya and his students Iyengar and Desikachar, whom Baron Baptiste studied with personally from a young age. The Baptiste Yoga practice and programs are designed to empower you with the focus, training and insight you need to achieve consistent results in the most important areas of your life.”
With this, Shawn has designed her yoga to encourage and train any practitioner to help them succeed with major events in one’s life. A reason for this particular practice is to encourage participants to reach their full potential, awaken theat passion that dwells within them, and to promote confidence to help one take on possibilities. The Baptiste yoga practice tries to empower practitioners to become leaders and contribute to the community. The Baptiste practice is one that is practiced all over the world. It is practiced from all walks of life, from professional athletes, to parents or teachers. It isn’t a practice that is only meant for those who can bend like a pretzel or have to stamina to work out for hours. Any one can exercise this practice, which is part of the reason this type of yoga is used by so many all around the world.
            Hot yoga is something that was new for me,. Wwhen I called the studio to schedule my class andI asked what was meant by “Power hour” they didn’t mention anything about hot yoga. Even on the website it states just bring comfortable clothing, I didn’t read the whole page to where it states heated room. However, I showed up to the studio in fleece leggings and lucky for me a running dri-fit shirt. I will honestly say I will never make the mistake again on not reading through something, either way I thoroughly enjoyed the class and I look forward to my future classes there.

Baptiste, B. (2013). Baron Baptiste: International Best-selling Author and Teacher. Retrieved
     February 23, 2013, from Baron Baptiste website:
Garino, V. (2013, February 21). [Personal interview by the author].
Shaw, S. (2011). Who We Are. Retrieved February 23, 2013, from MetroWest Yoga website:

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