Friday, February 25, 2011

Bryant Itonyo Back Bay Yoga Studio Experience

Yoga is a practice in which the mind, body and emotions are all used to help create a sense of freedom to lead to unstressed body, mind and emotional reactions. Yoga has been practiced for centuries and according to Hatha Yoga Pradipika, some form of yoga has been practiced in between the 6th and 15th centuries A.D. Since the 6th century, cultures have changed and helped transform yoga into a new way of dealing with life struggles. For instance, Americans have modernized yoga and created a business market for which people can pay for yoga classes to help them deal with miscellaneous problems in life. Classes can range from various prices and with new styles, people have options to choose from. Yoga businesses offer different yoga styles like Ashtanga, Forrest, Vinyasa, Restorative, Yin, and meditation. These styles offer variation to yoga customers and give people a chance to decide which style fits best. Yoga creates interest in multiple groups such as athletes, workers, teens and parents. Each group may benefit differently from yoga depending on the style and the persons goal for joining a class.
In class we have discussed the difference in yoga through eastern and western philosophies. The fire yogi was a great way to see how yoga is practiced in another society. Within the documentary was a yogi by the name of Rambhausuami, who is 63 years of age and has been practicing yoga for a long basis of his life. Rambhausuami has an ability to mesh with fire and not get burned. He demonstrates his devotion, dedication, and will to practice yoga by giving up certain portions of his life such as his food intake. The fire yogi demonstrates a different perspective of yoga and how it is used to in his case be almost immortal to fire. This example of the fire yogi shows a significant difference in the attitude and approach between western and eastern societies when involving yoga.
At the Back Bay yoga studio in Boston, yoga was not viewed as a way to tame fire it was simply a one hour class that demonstrated different poses and breathing techniques to help relax the body and clear the mind. The whole view on yoga seemed to be different the interior of the place was set to the likings of a yoga theme. The colors were imprinted to match the tone and style of yoga classes that this studio presented. The class cost ten dollars and a mat rental was three dollars, which brought the total to thirteen bucks.  There was a place to put sneakers and a place for both genders to change into yoga attire. This studio attracted many types of people from different physiques, ethnicities and genders. There were hand outs for people to read about upcoming classes and magazines to help people understand new trends in yoga. The atmosphere had a bunch of friendly and respectful people.
After the brief introduction to the people and the studio’s atmosphere, the class was about to start. The name of this class was Vinyasa yoga and the room had a bunch of accessories for participants to use just to make things easier when performing poses and positions. By definition Vinyasa yoga is “steady flow of connected yoga postures linked with breath work in a continuous movement.”(Yoga Movement, 2011). This class was straightforward with the description because we did a lot of poses and started off with proper breathing techniques. In this studio the heat was on high volume, which made it harder to consistently do poses right after another. Lesley’s yoga class and Back Bay studios classes are totally different because the instructor’s methods had to do with more breathing techniques and poses than chants. With the yoga class at Lesley chants, positions and breathing are relevant. The instructors had a very different point of view of yoga because the room temperature was up and the class was easier going. For example the class had advanced and inexperienced yoga participants because some of the poses were very hard to perform without a proper yoga background. In this class having proper attire was not a problem because there was a woman with jeans and she was very flexible. In most instances having proper attire would help a participant perform poses at an easier rate. This was interesting to me because out of everyone in the class she was probably the most flexible.
The poses were hard and the heat did not help me maintain poses consecutively. Examples of the poses done are the dolphin pose, padangustasana, downward dog, utkatasana, malasana, high lunge, natarajasana, low lunge, triangle pose, full boat pose, all warrior poses and pasasana. These poses required us to breathe correct and be relaxed because if tense injury could occur. The heat did help with loosening the muscle to help people perform certain positions. Not having adequate experience with yoga made me stand out from the rest because in my mind I was the least flexible person there. Also not having a water bottle made it difficult to stay hydrated and perform all the poses. The instructor was well mannered and helped everyone with poses and did a good job of keeping everyone focused and ready to perform multiple poses. Some difficult poses for me was the pasasana, warrior three pose, and the crane pose. The pasasana was very hard at first because it requires a high level of focus to on wrapping your arms in between your legs while squatting and keeping your hands folded behind your back. I had a hard time performing this pose because I was not able to picture myself completing it but after a couple tries I performed it. The second pose I had trouble with was the warrior three pose because it required you to balance your torso by having it parallel to the ground and arms straight while balancing on one leg and hold the other leg straight back. This pose basically had me performing an upper case “T” with my one leg being the straight line vertical and my torso, arms and other leg being horizontal to the ground I struggled with keeping my body balanced. Lastly the third pose I had trouble with was the crane pose in which your body is held up with both hands to the ground with your arms straight and knees tucked into your elbows. This pose was the hardest pose for me because it challenged my strength and breathing technique. All of the poses during the class were even harder to do without proper hydration and focus.
The Back Bay yoga studio is located in Boston and can be conveniently accessed by subway or car. The location of the studio is in the city and around restaurants and businesses making it easy for people to go to yoga during a break or after work. Their mission statement is to “provide a space completely dedicated to yoga. Offering a wide variety of classes… and they believe that by offering a variety of yoga styles, everyone will be able to find a class that suits them.” () this is a brief synopsis of their mission statement and explains what they offer and how they plan to suit all consumers from different demographics. After being inside the studio their mission statement proceeds to follow all of their guarantees to satisfy the customer’s needs for yoga. They offer a drop in classes making it easier for people with hectic schedules to also participate. On the back of the brochure they state rules to abide by when participating in any of their yoga classes. One of the rules is to arrive 15 minutes prior to the start time of your class. This gives the instructor and also the participant time to get relaxed and set up to begin a class. If someone arrives ten minutes beyond the time of class they are not admitted into the class. This studio gives customers the ability to know what the rules and proper attire is when attending and showing up for each class. The interior seemed to be new because everything was nicely placed and the floors were clean and shinny. Charges vary and depending on how many classes someone wants to attend it can become expensive. When accommodating for the people they serve, Back Bay does a good job because it gives discounts for full-time students and the military. This makes it easier for the Back Bay studio to offer specials to everyone from different economical backgrounds. There were a lot of people in the studio during the time I went to the class and I noticed people of all descents and ages. The yoga at Back Bay is influenced by the American culture because there are added prerequisites within the class to help enhance a newer way of doing yoga. For example they offered yoga straps and blocks for stability.  This influenced the way this studio introduced yoga to its customers, also having the heater on a high temperature gave me and also others a different view of this yoga class. The view I had for it was that we were going to do poses and chants but since there were no chants we used silence and heaat to focus and complete positions. Overall back bays techniques for yoga would be totally different from the fire yogi of India’s practice. Culture plays a vital role in how people may practice yoga. The theory of yoga that was used for the class was Vinyasa which focused a lot on poses and proper breathing. At the start we used breathing to help soothe the mind and body and towards the end we followed up with the same routine as the beginning. This class had a lot of moderately difficult poses and breathing techniques to help people complete the poses. The Back Bay yoga studio offered me hands on experience of how a yoga class can be directed and how some instructors may add little changes in to the class to help people benefit from the poses in another way. This was a great class and I would recommend this to people who are interested in learning new poses and proper breathing techniques.

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