My journey with Baptiste Yoga began in 2001. I had been living in Sonoma County for a few years and was training to run my first marathon. Yoga was part of my recovery during my training. I was practicing yoga at a local gym with a very strict Iyengar teacher. One day after class she asked to see me. “Oh no!” I thought, “I must have done something wrong!” She said, “There’s a gym in Cotati that needs a temporary yoga teacher, theirs is going on maternity leave. I think you should do it.” What??? Me, teach yoga!! She must be crazy. I don’t know all the poses. She said to me,”you just need to find your voice.” Well, if she believed in me, maybe she saw something I didn’t. So I did it, for six weeks I would go to her class on Monday morning and then on Tuesday/Thursday at 7:45am I would replicate her class, props and all. After six weeks, the group fitness manager asked if I wanted the class permanently, the teacher wasn’t coming back. I said enthusiastically, “YES!” I just needed a certification.


In 2001 200 hour yoga teacher trainings didn’t yet exist, so I went online and searched “yoga teacher trainings.” A picture of Baron Baptiste showed up with a description of a “Level 1 Yoga Teacher Training Bootcamp” in Maya Tulum. I had never heard of “power yoga” but I signed up! That one week in Mexico changed my life more than all the events before. I pushed my body in new ways and I discovered that I was so much more capable then I ever thought possible. But even more than the physical practice, the inquiry cracked me open. The questions asked of us and the space to share and show up with others and for others helped me to come out of hiding and let myself be seen and supported in new ways. After Level 1 I came home lit up and began teaching Baptiste Power yoga all over Sonoma County. I couldn’t wait to share it with everyone! I still feel the same way.


I went to my first Level 2 in 2003 and then in 2004 I became a certified Baptiste teacher. In 2018 I enrolled in the Fit to Lead program with the Baptiste Institute and am continuing to grow and discover my own potential as a leader. When I opened my studio in 2014 I couldn’t wait to apply for affiliation and join the world wide network of studios sharing the Baptiste methodology. The most unexpected part of studio ownership has been cultivating community. My old way of being had me stuck in “not good enough,” feeling like I didn’t belong and kept me playing small. My discoveries from that first week at Level 1 have allowed me to find my voice, to quiet my thoughts and to shine my SOUL in ways that impact others and allow them to do the same. I am forever grateful for saying YES to my life. 

Lisa Alban Ellisen, owner/founder/teacher/leader