Monday, February 21, 2011


Yoga: Theory, Culture and Practice
Lesley College
Laura Douglass
Baptise Site Visit
Thorton Paul
February 20, 2011

When I first thought about Yoga when I was younger I only thought of the practice as stretching and more stretching but boy was I incorrect. In class I have understood first hand that my body really does not like yoga. As an individual my lower back and hips are very tight because I play basketball and I do not stretch my hamstrings regularly so it is tough for me to sit in basic positions nonetheless intermediate positions. So I learned fast that yoga was not a joke. My 1st experience with yoga was two years ago and it was more of a stretching class which I loved and hated at the same time. To make things much harder, add a concentration to breathing on top of various positions of the body that I’m not use and it was all she wrote. Many people fail to realize that yoga has deep roots of history in eastern culture and is much more than meets the eye, and that’s what I have been realizing this semester.

A major part of yoga is breathing and to me I feel like it is the most important aspect to yoga. The reason behind my thinking is because with everything you do there is deep breathing involved and understanding of each breath. With each pose you perform you have to sense your bodies limitation and your breaths help you reach your maximum points. I realized that the power of the breath is very significant to your concentration and analysis of your self and self thought while your practicing because it connects your mind and your body. Positions such as Dhanurasana and Arddha Matsyendrasana require deeper breaths because it allows to you to fill air in parts of your body that you normally don’t get to do. It was relevant to me in class while performing Arddha Matsyendrasana that my back was receiving more air then it would ever receive also in the lower back area which was very inserting feel. Even the pose in our book makes me think of how many different areas can be fill with air due to deep breathing. I have also learned that the breath has big impact on your immune system. Practicing deep breath releases more CO2 out of your system making it less likely to get sick.

I was very lucky to attend a site in Cambridge called Baptiste studios. Located on the website, Baptiste studios mission statement is stated ” To empower people in finding true health and deeper spiritual connection, every day, one day at a time.
We give emphasis to clear curriculum with a strategic, but soulful approach that makes our process accessible to everyone, regardless of age, experience, or background.
We strive to effectively adapt the practices and processes to individual needs and to offer the most holistic and comprehensive Personal Growth and Teacher Training programs in the world. We are committed to completely creating a positive impact on our communities, both locally and globally”. I choose this site because I was informed that this studio worked with athletes, which caught my attention because I am an athlete. Located on 2000 Massachusetts Ave two blocks away from the Porter train station, it makes the studio a very applicable site to get to. Baptise yoga also has a studio in Brookline MA. Classes’ prices range from 13-16 dollars each class. There are many classes offered at the studio and ranges from about five to six classes everyday. Classes that are offered at the Cambridge studio are basics, intermediate, relax and renew, hour of power and community classes. The basic class is a standard flow class with particular emphasis on the foundational postures. It is still a challenging class with specific focus on alignment, physical condition, and sprit. It is an ideal class for new students, but also a review for all students. Intermediate is a class that takes the student to the next level. This class is recommended that all students attending this class have taken at least 20 classes at Baptiste Power Yoga. Relax and renewed class is meditative flow with emphasis on opening and restoratiative poses and this is the class I took. Instructors in training teach the community classes. These classes are normally lower priced classes but follow the same format as all of the level classes that Baptiste studio promotes. This class is made available for students of all economic levels.
The Relax and renew class that I took during my site visit is a very calm course similar to our classroom atmosphere. I visited the site twice. On my first visit I collected a flyer and received information about the website which give me a lot of information. I realized very quickly that the studio was a very nice one and was well equip with more then enough material an individual would desire. Jane Cargill was the instructor and she guided us through a very relaxing but painful class. The poses were rigorous for me but the deep breathing help me relax through out the classes. This site visit has broadened my thought process of the study of yoga. I have more of an understanding and appreciation for yoga and the desire instructors try to instill in there students. Going to Baptiste studios gave me more of an outlook on how yoga is practice in the United States.It is much different from other parts of the world because other parts of the world normally focus on the practice and the understanding of the soul while in western culture it’s more on the body.
While sitting through the class I realized for the most part I’ve never been so relaxed in my life. During the class the instructor said something that really resonated with me. She stated, “When you realize what your body allows you to do while recognizing what your mind knows you can do instead of expecting, everything will just flow much easier.” This can be use for everything in life. She is basically saying forcing yourself to do something you expect instead of listening to your body you will not succeed. Our instructor, Jane Cargill actively volunteers for Yoga Hope, a non-profit yoga organization dedicated to bringing yoga to under-served women in the Boston area and across the country. Her teachings involve freedom through the joy of movement. She is very big on happiness and that was very evident throughout the class. She constantly asks us during class if we were having fun. This is a good way to keep a connection between her students.
All and all this was a great experience for me to have gone through because I’ve learned many things about Yoga and I’ve learn many things about my own body in the process.

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