The 5 Pillars of Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga

Women performing extended side angle pose in class
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Baptiste Power Vinyasa (BPV) yoga is a type of hot power yoga. It was developed by Baron Baptiste, who says it is focused on asana (poses), meditation, and self-inquiry and is intended to be adaptable to any level of physical ability. Learn the pillars of this style of yoga, its history, and where you can practice it.

Baptiste Yoga History

It would be hard to find a better yoga lineage than the one boasted by Baron Baptiste. His parents, Walt and Magana Baptiste, opened the first yoga studio in San Francisco in 1952. Early on, Baptiste was taken with the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar and Bikram Choudhury.

By the mid-1990s, Baptiste had synthesized these teachings, along with influences from Ashtanga and T.K.V. Desikachar (founder of Viniyoga and son of Krishnamacharya) into his own style of power yoga that also emphasized the importance of intuition. Elements from all these predecessors come together to form the foundations of Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga.

Pillars of Baptiste Power Vinyasa

The ​important aspects of the Baptiste method are summarized by the five pillars: breath, heat, flow, gaze, and core stabilization.


The primary pranayama used in BPV is ujjayi, which is associated with a strong vinyasa practice. In ujjayi breath, you tone or constrict the back of your throat (as you would when fogging up a mirror) as you inhale and exhale through your nose. This takes some practice but soon becomes second nature.

Ujjayi breathing slows down the breath to keep it deep and powerful during challenging postures. When breath becomes short and shallow, it can trigger fight-or-flight reflexes in the body. Keeping the breath long and deep helps you stay calm.


In official BPV classes, the room should be heated to 90 to 95 degrees. This external heating of the room is intended to allow students to quickly stoke their internal fires (tapas) for a loose, sweaty practice.


Flow is a vinyasa style practice in which movement is linked to breathing. Daily practice is encouraged. While there isn't a fixed series of poses in BPV, there is a pattern that most classes follow. Classes begin with several rounds of surya namaskara A and B, although there is room for some variation here.

Then the teacher moves on to a standing series that includes vinyasa flow between sides. More advanced variations are offered in addition to adaptations for beginners. Classes often also include abdominal work, back bending, and hip opening.


Drishti means looking at a particular place while doing yoga poses. It is an important part of Ashtanga yoga, where drishtis are taught as part of the alignment for each pose. In BPV, the gaze is not specific for each posture. Instead, students are directed to fix their attention on any point that doesn’t move and to keep their eyes soft.

Practicing this gaze helps you turn your attention away from what's going on in the room around you and bring your focus inward.

Core Stabilization

Core stabilization is uddiyana bandha. In BPV, this means the constant drawing in of the belly button toward the spine. This is done throughout the practice, but it’s not exactly the deep uddiyana bandha seen in Light on Yoga in which the belly is completely hollowed until the ribs protrude. It is intended to provide support by engaging the core for balance and strength.

Where to Practice

There are two official Baptiste Yoga studios in Boston, Massachusetts, and San Francisco, California. However, there are affiliated studios throughout the U.S. Baptiste has a very open program in which independent studios teaching his method can become partner studios.

It may be that the hot yoga studio in your neighborhood is teaching BPV. Check the Baptiste website to find a studio near you. Baptiste is also active on the yoga festival and conference circuit, often appears in the pages of Yoga Journal, and has written several books, including "Journey Into Power," "Being of Power," and "My Daddy is a Pretzel" for kids. offers BPV classes online.

A Word From Verywell

Baptiste Power Vinyasa can be a powerful yoga practice that will challenge you. However, because of the conditions under which it's performed — including the hot heated room — it may not be a fit for everyone. Speak with your doctor before beginning a new workout routine, including BPV.

3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. What is Baptiste Power Yoga. Baptiste Institute.

  3. Gard T, Noggle JJ, Park CL, Vago DR, Wilson A. Potential self-regulatory mechanisms of yoga for psychological health. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2014;8. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00770

By Ann Pizer, RYT
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.