If you want to reach your full potential, Baron Baptiste suggests starting with self-inquiry.
Want to unlock an unexpected world of possibility in your practice—and your life? Then Yoga Journal’s upcoming course The Power of Play Bootcamp is for you. Baron Baptiste—veteran yoga teacher and founder of the Baptiste Institute and Baptiste Foundation—will lead you through four weeks of meditation, asana, and self-inquiry specifically designed to spark awakening and growth. Start the new year with a powerful perspective—and discover how to put it into action.
The act of being open to discovering something you haven’t seen before—something new—is the first step in turning your life into something greater. But you have to know where to look. The best place is within. I call this “inquiry.” In Baptiste Yoga, inquiry means doing the kind of rigorous self-examination that brings about empowering and permanent shifts in your quality of life, health, and being. It’s work that we focus on in my new course The Power of Play Bootcamp.
There is always more to learn, more to explore, more to discover. The instant you become filled up with your know-how, you hit a dead end. As soon as you believe you’ve mastered form or have arrived, you give up learning. As B.K.S. Iyengar said, “The minute you think you’ve arrived, you get squashed like a bug.”
Sometimes, too, you might be caught up in self-destructive patterns. But if you can see them clearly for what they are, they lose their hold on you and wither away. There is tremendous power in just knowing what is going on within—not so you can “work on your stuff,” but so you can begin to release it. Many of us spend much of our lives wrapped up in the drama of our stories. We become very adept at knowing all about our problems. But the key is not to stop there. The key is to see beyond the pathology into an enlightened vision.
3 Ways to Practice Self-Inquiry
1. Be curious.
The next time you are in a yoga pose and notice yourself wanting to get out of it because it seems too hard, don’t act on that emotion right away. Instead get curious about what would happen if you stayed. By following your curiosity, you bring inquiry to the pose and the practice, in spirit of wonderment and a curiosity. Inquiry is your all-access pass to discovery and new possibility.
2. Be open.
To continue to grow and expand, you must be malleable. And to be malleable is to be teachable. Part of being teachable means being open and allowing the teacher’s words to land in your body. So often, when a teacher begins speaking, we go into default and immediately think, Oh, I know what he is going to say. Or worse, as soon as the teacher calls the pose, we tune them out entirely, and switch into autopilot. But you showed up on your mat as a student. Why not open yourself up, get curious, and perhaps learn something new?
3. Be hungry for more.
When you achieve the physical skill and capacity you have been striving for there’s always another level of discovery available to you. That’s where the invaluable process of inquiry comes in. Ask yourself: What crossroads do I find myself in at this point in my practice? This question affirms that the complexity of the practice is what gives it deeper meaning. The fact that we can acknowledge we are at a crossroads gives us the energy to get through it. This intersection represents an unfulfilled desire to change our direction and shows us what we want to put our attention on and what we want to take it off of.
Eager to get going? Enroll in The Power of Play Bootcamp