“Baptiste Power Yoga is designed to be accessible to all and all are welcome in this class. Be ready to step up to the edge--wherever that is--and go for it!”
Teaching yoga and building community started five years ago in Meg’s garage as she began teaching friends and neighbors the Baptiste Power Yoga method while she trained all over the continent with Baron Baptiste himself. After outgrowing her garage she stepped out to her personal edge, took a leap of faith, and opened her own yoga studio.
Building community with her clients is one of the hallmark components of her practice as well as “empowering others to shine bright,” as Meg says. “Sometimes we have to peel off the layers but this practice that we do helps us renew our physical vitality, and the work we do through inquiry and meditation helps us fire up any places we are feeling stuck, so that we can get out there and live big.”
Another vital component for Meg, and the Baptiste style of yoga, is what she termed “True North Alignment.” She describes the true north concept as “a whole system of where to put what body part to get what’s true to your body”. And, she assures us, this works the same when we’re upside down.
Baron’s father Walt founded Baptiste Yoga and Baron continued and evolved the practice after learning from Iyengar, Krishnamacharya and Desikachar, and other well-known yoga practitioners who were big influences for him. This style has three elements of the practice: asana, meditation, and self- inquiry with emphasis on personal growth and transformation of the student. “Baron took eastern poses and blended it with western methodology of empowerment and community and came up with this heated flow that takes people up against their edge and leaves them in their greatness," as Meg describes this style of power flow.
Although there is a sequence that is common no two classes are the same since instructors are taught to teach to what is right in front of them-to whomever shows up to be taught. She wants beginner students in her classes to feel welcome. That’s no different in this workshop which is appropriate even if you’ve never gone upside down in a yoga class before. “I want people to leave this workshop having been empowered. Typically that means having faced their fear.”
Meg, her husband, and young family all practice yoga, even her toddler. “I love going upside down! I practiced inversions all through my pregnancy. I did a handstand right before I delivered my baby.” They are an active family and whether it's coaching their kids' teams or running them from place to place Meg is inspired by her own practice. “I have to be okay with being in the flow and I really need yoga to help me find balance. I take time to take short meditations even if it’s only a few minutes.”
The defining aspect of yoga for Meg, though, goes back to integrity. “If there is one thing that is at the foundation of the practice it is integrity, that is, for example, in our practice, standing in our true north, aligning our body in a particular way, and also standing in what we believe, what we stand for, who we stand for, that can be really freeing for people when they walk out of the studio, to be aligned with what they stand for.”
When you meet Kristi Taylor you immediately connect with her enthusiasm, passion, and zest for connecting with others. Her style is eclectic and her teaching skills diverse with an exceptional understanding of body mechanics. You may recognize her from previous yoga festivals and we are excited that she will return with a variety of workshops throughout the weekend. Spoiler alert! She’s bringing her wellness business partner -- and music partner -- her husband Dr. Darren Taylor.
Kristi has worked with professional athletes for over 25 years, coaching gymnastics - with her own kids on the national team - and working side by side with her husband in their sports medicine health and wellness facility. Her education is in physiology and kinesiology, and, with her husband “Dr. T”, conducts teacher trainings, immersions and workshops and they teach applied anatomy, physiology and neurology all over the world.
Kristi is one of the world’s first certified teachers of Acro-Yoga, having been in the first group to certify instructors. She is a certified Thai massage therapist, E-RYT500, YACEP, 500-hour Certified Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga Instructor, and has assisted Baron Baptiste for over 20 years. She also teaches restorative and therapeutic yoga, sound healing, meditation, breathwork, and essential oils. Festival-goers will have an opportunity to experience her diverse skills as a teacher this year in four different workshops: Handstand Festival, Hands of an Angel, the Art and Science of Assisting with co-teacher Dr. D, Acro-Yoga, and Thai Massage Bliss.
I first met Kristi Taylor in her handstand festival workshop. She was at the door welcoming everyone with a big smile and lots of sparkle. Literally. She had glittery, shimmer on her face and chest which was a signal to me that I was in for some fun – and I had the time of my life! I was not a “hand-stander” so I went into this a bit apprehensive. She assured me that even if I couldn’t do a handstand that she “wanted ME!” She promised with great enthusiasm and emphasized that her workshops are for everybody regardless of ability or inability or level of fear. “Turn fear into fun!” which is exactly what happened.
There were some who could and many who couldn’t, but wanted handstand to either be a part of their practice or simply reduce the fear of attempting this inversion. Kristi was able to teach to all levels and focused on giving us exercises to get there eventually if that’s where we wanted to go. Seriously, the fun was in the trying and the teamwork and connections that were made with people I didn’t know before I walked into her “playshop.” “If the description of the workshop brings up fear that you can’t do it, I want you! I know how to work with you.”
That goes for her Acro- Yoga workshop as well. She hopes you fall in love with the partner practice just as she did the very first time she tried it. You don’t have to have a partner to participate because you’ll meet others in the workshop. “I love that it’s an opportunity to know and connect with another soul. It’s magical in that it’s an opportunity to collaborate our energies, without any words. It’s powerful. It connects communities. People in these workshops will meet friends for life. People will experience powerful emotions.”
Another opportunity to connect powerfully is with Thai massage, a workshop that Kristi is known for worldwide. In this workshop people will learn how to give and receive this beautiful form of yoga massage which will incorporate aromatherapy and, again, no partner needed when signing up for this course. “They’ll get powerful tools to share with others and learn how to create an experience beyond relaxation—total bliss!”
Kristi will co-teach with her partner and husband Darren in their workshop Hands of an Angel: The art and science of assisting. This workshop will teach assisting with love, and concrete skills for safe, effective, and empowering hands-on assists. Dr. Darren Taylor is a certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner, and former pro hockey player. A yogi himself, “Dr. T” has treated and rehabilitated yoga practitioners and professional athletes for over 20 years. Together the Taylors own and operate Global Body Health, a clinic that specializes in sports injuries, healthy lifestyles, injury prevention, healing and yoga. They use many modalities to optimize healing and get people back to enjoying their active lifestyle.
For Kristi, it’s about creating a sense of oneness. “Yoga, meditation, breathwork, Acro-Yoga, Thai massage, they are powerful tools. All these things I teach are about creating oneness: Oneness with self, oneness with your faith, your spirit, oneness with this world. Our actions have global impact. What do you choose to do with your time? What I choose to do is create oneness and love and sharing and giving and receiving and know that we’re in this together. Everything that I do is creating oneness. Come, let’s be together. Do what you need to do on your mat to get more connected. This is how we change the world!”
Laughter, love, connection and collaboration with exuberance seem to be the common thread in everything Kristi teaches. She loves the concept of connecting on a deep level and facilitating that experience for the greatest good. Her philosophy and skill at building connections have served her in profound ways and recently have inspired a new professional credential to add to her list: Music. This collaboration includes Dr. T and musical guest at the 2017 DY&OF, Michael McGlone.
Michael McGlone is a close family friend of the couple. He is an avid yoga student and attended Kristi’s Acro-Yoga Playshop in New York City. They connected “on a deep level and now he is part of our family”. He recently taught Darren how to play the guitar. Michael has been a mentor to the Taylors on their musical journey, supporting them in their writing and collaborating on the music. Kristi is glowing in her description of Michael McGlone and can’t wait for festival attendees to experience his talent in a live performance. You may recognize him as an actor on TV and in film (he won critical acclaim at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival Best Film Award Winner, The Brothers McMullen) he is a singer, songwriter, actor, author of 6 novels, and a yogi in the Baron Baptiste Power Yoga style.
The Taylors began writing music and collaborated with Michael McGlone for their first song written in January of last year which is called, Thank You, Again; a song about being and living deeply rooted in gratitude, living a life of integrity and loving each other. The three have continued to collaborate on lyrics and music which Michael will perform at the festival.
It sounds like the music career is here to stay. “My husband and I have been married 20 years, and what brought us together was music and laughter. Now, 20 years later it’s still about music and laughter. Music will be a huge part of our future.” They are currently working on the screenplay for a movie inspired by the song they co- wrote, The Hammer, which is Darren’s inspiring life story.
“Do what you love, love what you do. Life is short and we don’t know how long we’re on this planet so I’m going to be really clear and do what lights me up, what brings me love and joy. We are blessed to do what we love. I love working with patients, I love teaching and empowering people and I love music so that will all continue. In all of my workshops there will be loads of fun, love, laughter and music. That just goes everywhere.”
To register for any of Kristi's workshops CLICK HERE. For the full event schedule CLICK HERE. You can read the full bio of Kristi Taylor, Dr. Darren Taylor, or Michael McGlone by CLICKING HERE. For more information about Kristi Taylor go to www.kristitayloryoga.com or go to the Taylor's business website at www.globalbodyhealth.com.
Karen Kramer is a yoga instructor and festival blogger.