I stumbled on these letters to Baron Baptiste while researching quotes from this famous yoga star. These are funny and insightful and proves that not everyone will drink the yoga star's kool-aid. Thanks to the Must be Motherhood blogger who goes by the name of Eve for letting me repost the letters in full text.
OCTOBER 16, 2007
Dear Mr. Baron Baptiste,
Thank you for your recent email invitation to your Personal Revolution All-Day Immersion in New York City on November 10. How did you know that I am in dire need of a Life, Body & Soul Transformation? It’s like you have superpowers. Of course you do. Who could deny it when you look so delicious sitting on a pier near your home in Hawaii (and thanks also for including this yummy photo in your invitation)?
Back in another lifetime, oh, say, a good five years ago, I practiced at least once a week at your hot yoga studio in Boston’s Back Bay, convienently located across the street from my office building. My good friend and I would dash over post-work, skipping cocktails (those were the days, weren’t they?) and submit our bodies to your 100 degree room and boot-camp instructors and bend ourselves to the physical and mental limit for NINETY minutes. When we were finished, we were drenched with sweat and dizzy and high from deydration. For days afterwards, we’d walk around like ninety-year olds. And then, we’d come back for more.
Ah, we drank your Kool-aid all right.
I still use your hour long audio class CD to practice according to your methods at home. But these days I usually poop out at the forty-five minute mark. There was also a brief period when I attempted your 40 Days to Personal Revolution guide because boy, did I need a revolution at the time. I, the woman who has been moaning for nearly a year and half about not getting enough sleep, set my alarm quite early to practice yoga for incrementally longer periods of time SIX DAYS A WEEK. But I lost you when you wanted me to go for longer than an hour first thing in the morning. I didn’t have it in me. And I’ve been disappointed in myself ever since, thankyouverymuch, because the revolution was short-lived. Oy.
Baron, if you offered your class in Boston and I still lived in Boston, I would consider your offer to enjoy INCREASED STRENGTH, VITALITY, A RENEWED MENTAL EDGE, OR A DEEPER SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE, via the Personal Revolution All-Day Immersion because, as you say, it “can take you there.” Although it has been five years since I practiced your brand of athletic, sweaty yoga with a good dose of new-agey-humor (aka “now twist! point your nipples like laserlights up towards saturn”), I yearn to become your apprentice archeologist and “excavate” my “ideal practice” alongside you. Freeing my true self and transforming my life through yoga with a constant emphasis on gentleness and acceptance sounds like the right ticket right about now. I’m hanging by a thread here, Baron. We’re always trying to get Pitter to “be gentle! gentle!” so this philosophy resounds deeply with me.
But alas, I am not independently wealthy and cannot join you for the ALMOST SOLD OUT upcoming Saturday in November in New York. Perhaps I will support your cause with the purchase of this book you wrote for your son:
But then again, such a gift could have catastrophic consequences as Pitter’s daddy, who cannot even touch his toes, would never be mistaken for a pretzal, and Pitter might conclude that you, Baron Baptiste are his real father. And we can’t have that. Unless…it would mean you would adopt us so we could live in Hawaii with you and also sit on a lovely pier, serene and ridiculously flexible.
Namaste and xox
P.s.: Keep the email invitations coming. Along with the other Boston/East-Coast mailing lists I’m on, they’re really helping me adjust to the midwest. I mean, I’m just exhausted considering all the great road races, concerts, yoga retreats and special-invitation movies I could be going to if we still lived in Boston!
DECEMBER 20, 2007
Dearest Baron Baptiste,
I suspect our messages crossed in the mail, and that you didn’t read my last note before sending me your latest invitation. Because if you did, my benevolent bandanna bearing boy, you would know that my ability to just pick up and join you in a week of sweaty yoga sessions and deep thoughts has been severely compromised by motherhood.
Nevertheless, you send me an invitation to this:
Baron Baptiste’s Teacher’s Bootcamp is an exclusive hands-on opportunity for those who understand that a yoga teacher’s deepest responsibility – and ultimate reward – is the ability to transform the lives of individuals seeking physical and spiritual growth – leading them to a healthier state of existence.
Kindly, you suggest that ”This is a process of total immersion and transformation for those who want to teach and even for those who don’t.” Even for those who don’t. So, inclusive, while at the same time, being exclusive. As usual, you’ve got me all turned around and fluttery, Baron.
Honestly, you had me at exceptional standards and personal attention. Would you actually be there to assist me into a more precise crow or dancer’s bow? And, like, touch me? Squeee!
And then, you threw in Hawaii. The BIG ISLAND. How did you know that the only reason I agreed to have Pitter was so that we could guide him towards becoming a high-powered attorney/speciality surgeon/corporate bitch so that he can buy me and Sweet Cheeks a retirement home in Hawaii? That’s how much I love Hawaii, Baron.
Look at these beautiful people, mats jammed so close together, sweating together, truly, “Lives Touched in a Moment – and Transformed Forever.” Who can resist this siren call to grow more than I could ever imagine? Have you been keeping up with my blog and recent foray into therapy? I want to be more than I can imagine. It sounds marvelous.
Then there’s this stuff about those who attend this training bootcamp demanding (demanding!) more of yourselves and each other than anyone could reasonably expect. Let’s pause on this sentence, shall we?: More than anyone could reasonably expect. Combine this idea with your insistence, nay, expectation, that I show up at my best, every minute of every day, and we have a problem.
Every minute, Baron? Every single minute, even while asleep? I’ve gotta be honest. I’m a scatterbrain since becoming a mother. I can’t focus for 1440 minutes for every day I’m in Hawaii. I haven’t slept a full night in almost two years. I’m suffering from mild depression. It’s more than anyone could reasonably expect, pretzel man.
And so, yet again, I must decline your exceptional offer. May your backbends be bendy and your hands stay soft. Even when you’re practicing on rough, callousy volcano detritus.
Don’t forget about me. Somehow, someday, when the time is right, we’ll find the time to come together.
FEBRUARY 5, 2009
A Special Valentine Message for Mr. Baron Baptiste
Over the last month you have invited me to join you in Boston in March, London in April, and Montana in June for a bevvy of seminars with you and your cadre of yogi pretzels.
And you are so very excited about it. I mean, take a look at yourself.
Wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care!
But at this point in our relationship I feel like you’re just not listening to me. Let’s face it: we’re just not as close as we used to be and your bandanna’d enthusiasm cannot just magically make up for it. Also? Three getaway invitations would strike any girl as a little desperate. Just sayin’.
It’s not that I’ve lost all interest in synertistically working to dissolve my energy blocks with you. I would never suggest that I am a woman without held emotions or limited perceptions. And after recently birthing a second child, I am a reasonable candidate to face these myriad of problems with bio-mechanical precision, strength and an open heart.
I wear my shoulders up by my ears and I cry regularly when watching stories about local dogs fall into frozen ponds on the news. I am by all accounts a mess.
And yet, all of your invitations promise scenes that go something like this:
I think I’m over it.
Don’t get me wrong: The idea of spending a brisk Blue Sky mornings with you this summer trying to become a Sannyasin spiritual warrior, a seeker of truth, an individual on a mission of positive change is not altogether unappealing. Surely it’s a step up from a Sesame Street warrior, a seeker of Elmo, an individual on a mission to record all of the recent Curious George episodes on PBS.
But do we have to do it in a 100 degree hothouse sticking ass to ass?
Here’s where this gets difficult for me.
Have you met Shiva Rea? She’s pretty bendy too.
I’ve been cheating on you with her.
Instead of practicing in quarters that put the crazy in close, she rides the wave of fluid power in grand, open white sandy places like this:
Be honest, Baron. What’s not to like?
Sometimes it’s like she’s convinced the cast of Lost to get hopped up on LSD to undulate about like a bunch of blissed-out patchouli-smelling Rainbow tribe people. And sometimes she gives them fire to play with. How awesome is this? This is transformational entertainment.
Look how flowly and connected to our inner water she is while she practices on that shimmery expanse of sand. Sometimes she doesn’t even confine herself to a mat.
Just imagine! Not only is she not breathing in some rank foot odor from the guy next to her who’s made the unfortunate choice to don purple spandex pants, she’s practically breathing in the mystical air of the sands of time as they sweep from the Pacific over the dunes, directly to her soul. Into her soul, Baron. Fresh air is kind of nice, isn’t it?
And, not only does she not discuss raising our nipples to mars, but she twists and twirls about in what I must admit is a very enviable yogic trance with her patented circulating wave motion.
I think it’s kind of sexy. It’s a bit like Carmen Electra’s Striptease video minus the skank.
Oh, but it’s not all about the sex. Shiva Rea is also very scientific! Did you know her undulating wave powers come from atomic and cellular levels?
Finally, do you realize that on this DVD, which includes a special Yoga Matrix, I can create my own vinyasas with over three hours of material? Well I can. And that’s true flexibility, Baron.
I know, I know. It’s mean to expect you to compete with this. So I’m not going to. I’m going to set you free.
The methods of Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga have served me well for years, but while I’ve used your patented combination of intuition, authenticity, creativity, technical knowledge in serach of total transformation, things have gotten stale, and frankly, a bit smelly.
I’ve got to turn elsewhere. Please know that I will always love you, but I’ve got a new yogi mistress.
Until we meet on the other side, Namaste.