In Honor of Walt Baptiste's Life

Memorial Service and Celebration of Walt Baptiste's life
August 4, 2001 - 11am
The First Unitarian Universalist Church
1187 Franklin St. at Geary - San Francisco
For more information, contact: Magaņa Baptiste (415) 387-6833


A Leader and Pioneer in Physical Culture, Health and Yoga


Born 1917, Walt Baptiste a renowned and much loved San Francisco legend, passed away on July 6, 2001. Walt Baptiste, a former Mr. America, was an international authority and leader of the Physical Fitness, Yoga and Human Potential Movement. He was a patriotic American, a leader, and a pioneer inspiring hundreds of thousands to embrace the world of body mind & spirit, Walt was one of the foremost authorities and teachers of Yoga in the World. He opened with his wife Magaņa San Francisco's first Yoga Center in the 1950's.

Walt was editor of Body Moderne magazine. This magazine has become a rare collectors item due to the value of its timeless content and valuable information.

San Francisco''s Mayor Willy Brown officially proclaimed September 25, 1999 as Walt Baptiste Day for his outstanding contributions to the health and spiritual consciousness of San Francisco residents and hundreds of thousands of people nationally and internationally. Walt Baptiste was known as a catalyst for creating extraordinary change in people's lives.
Mayor's Proclamation

Walt was highly acclaimed by the Physical Culture World including Bill Pearl and Frank Zane for pioneering new areas of thought, research, and development in the areas of physical culture, human potential and body mind mastery. With the use of concentration, breath, and visualization his weight resistance training program developed coordination between body and mind.




In 1934 Walt established the first center of it's kind combining the disciplines of physical culture, yoga, weight training meditation, and the science of breath, as an integral part of higher health, peak performance, and constructive personal psychology. Walt was a pioneer in establishing the valuable benefits of having a sound nutritional program and integrated purification diets as a part of his program for highest health and vitality.

As television and radio personalities Walt and Magaņa have attracted many including Herb Caen and Cyril Magnin as well as reknowned poets, dancers, athletes, creative artists, psychologists, corporate leaders, educators, philosophers, spiritual teachers and householders from all over the Bay Area and around the world.

They have hosted and presented many of the greatest master teachers.
Richard C. Miller wrote: "He has been such a wonderful light to many who know him and all those touched by him who may never know that it was he who was touching them".

Haridas Chaudhuri founder of the California Institute of Integral Studies wrote: Walt Baptiste has always been eager to hold aloft the authentic Yoga ideal of harmonious self-development, emphasizing the need for integrating the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of personality. He has helped countless numbers of people in their search for mature growth and spiritual fulfillment, He deserves to be complimented for his appreciative insight into the spiritual heritage of India as well as of the West.

Walt Baptiste was the opening speaker at the world convocation of spiritual leaders during the great Kumbha Mela of 1974.

Swami Veda Bharati invited Walt and his daughter Sherri to the ceremony and celebration in India March 1999 that conferred Swamiji to the position and spiritual role as the most respected swami; Mahamandalesvar, of India.

Sant Kirpal Singh has said: "Walter Paul Baptiste has realized the way of the Masters. . .
I need not say that he is further and more on the Way than any in California."

Swami Sivananda, wrote: "I greatly appreciate your Yoga exercises so perfectly performed. . . you have the blessings of the sages and saints. . . You are a dynamic Yogi. . . You have a divine mission... Your yoga will be a wonderful success....." Walt Baptiste was given the sacred title of Yogi Raj by Swami Sivenanda and the Forest Vedanta University in Rishakesh India.

Walt's Uncle, Dr. Joseph Baptiste sponsored India's great teacher Paramahansa Yogananda. Walt's Uncle Joseph was said to have been one of Yogananda's most outstanding students and Yogananda traveled up to San Francisco to the Oakland hills to be at Joseph's bedside during his death.

Bernarr Mac Fadden, father of physical culture in the world, described Walt as: "the prince of teachers and a constant resource of inspiration to other teachers."

Magaņa, Indra Devi and Walt

Baptiste Center 
Walt and his wife founded the Baptiste Health & Fitness Center 1971-1989 Arguello and Clement in SF. This dynamic center provided the bay area with the most complete Health and Fitness Center of its kind. Four stories,half a block long devoted to the health and wellbeing of all that entered. People traveled from all over the bay area to receive the quality of information, education and guidance that was offered. This center included "Baptiste Natural Foods Store", "Hungry Mouth Health Food Restaurant", "Magaņa's Bazaar Boutique", a comprehensive Dance studio, gymnasium, and a huge Yoga room with forty foot stained glass ceilings.
In 1975 Walt and his wife Magaņa founded the first school of yoga and health in the tropical country of El Salvador "El retiro del Espiritu". An idyllic setting on the beach accommodating 30 people, with pools, a yoga studio, gym, meditation pyramid, a zoo with tropical birds, monkeys, horses and many other animals. The family retreat has been given to his children, Sherri & Baron to use for their work.

Walt Baptiste is survived by his wife of 56 years Magana Baptiste and their two daughters and son.

Magaņa Baptiste was 1st runner up in the 1951 Miss U.S.A. contest. She is the founder and director of the Magana Baptiste International School of Dance in San Francisco and has been honored for her contributions in the Dancers Hall of Fame. With her husband Walt has helped to popularize yoga into what it has become today. Magana helped to take the science of bodybuilding mainstream, and to introduce bodybuilding to women. Magana teaches sacred dance from around the world, Having taught mudra classes since the 1950's, classical Hindu dance and approaches the Yoga of Movement and Dance as a practice that combines the physical, mental and emotional aspects of our human existence. Magana was given the honorary title of Yogi by Swami Sivenanda and the Forest Vedanta University in Rishakesh India

Daughter Sherri Baptiste Freeman is an inspirational and motivational instructor teaching Baptiste Power of Yoga™ widely throughout Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area. She leads workshops, retreats, and yoga vacations nationally and internationally. She has four children.

Daughter Devi Ananda Baptiste teaches yoga and dance at various health centers, throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Son Baron Baptiste presents Baron Baptiste Vinyasa Yoga trainings, workshops, bootcamps, and retreats nationally and internationally. He was the former NFL's Peak Performance Coach to the Philadelphia Eagles and is the founder of the Baptiste Institute of Yoga in Cambridge, Ma. He has three children.


Walt Baptiste's children are carrying on with the family work, as is Magaņa his wife.
Walt has left a legacy of teachers throughout the United States
teaching the Walt Baptiste Method for Body Mind & Spirit.


Walt Baptiste