Yoga: Theory Culture and Practice
For my venue, I picked to go to o2 Yoga. The reason that I wanted to go to o2 Yoga is because I wanted to have the type of yoga that had the sport and athletic approach to it. I believe that this is the most “western” form of yoga, and a lot like Bikram Yoga where people do it more for exercise rather than doing it for their both their mind and spirit. I wanted to really experience that and at o2 Yoga I believe I did. I can see how it relates to athletics and also the type of people that like to go to o2 Yoga, mostly fit, athletic young adults. After watching what Bikram yoga was like in the documentary last week and finding out it was a sport and athletic approach, then saw what o2 Yoga had to offer on various websites, like Yelp, Facebook, and their own website, I wanted to see experience o2 Yoga first hand and it was a very interesting experience.
O2 yoga is very much a commercialized yoga studio. Though they do offer many levels of yoga throughout the day, you can tell that they are very commercizled just through looking at their website. They have two different studios but offer more than yoga. They offer memberships to their studios, chircopractor and massage therapy, and even have retreats to go to foreign countries and practice yoga with one coming up in 2015 in Mexico. Not only do they offer people looking to use o2 yoga things like that but they even have a vegan café that they promote on their website. Like Bikram yoga, it is very commercialized and seems to me that it is a money making machine, and will continue to be for years to come.
As I previously said, I wanted to go to a yoga studio that had the athletic approach being that I am an athlete. When I first went there, I was one of the first people there. The person that let me was the person that was running the Yoga practice and her name was Lynn, she was a nice lady and she seemed very accepting of me, though I have never been a student of hers before and have never been to this yoga studio before. As the yoga class became closer and closer there was more and more people that came to do the practice. For girls, most of them were wearing yoga pants and a t- shirt or pretty much just a sports bra. Obviously, I have said that I wanted to come to an athletic yoga facility and I did. The practice itself was somewhat similar to the practice that we do. We did many beginner poses because that was the class option that I decided to go to being that I am still very much a novice and think it would be very difficult to keep up in many of the other classes. Everyone took their shoes off before entering the studio itself and majority of people were not wearing socks. The room was fairly warm, as it says on their website, they keep it between “78-82 degrees”. To me, this was fairly warm but that was okay. We did many different poses including child’s pose (a position I was in a lot because of my foot) but we also did beginner poses such as the bridge, laying flat on the ground and grabbing my big toe, squats, and many, many other poses.
The goal for o2 Yoga is simple: “’O2 Yoga is my dream come true. I have blended a strong background in exercise physiology, a love of Astanga Yoga, and my philosophy on life to create a system unlike any other’ founder, Mimi Loureiro.” As the founder of o2 Yoga, the owner of both of the o2 Yoga locations in both Cambridge and Somerville said, she has taken her study of exercise, and combined that with a great love that she has for the practices Astanga Yoga, which they said that it was the more advanced levels of the class and it was not a great thing to do for beginners. Her beliefs were exactly what I felt at o2 Yoga studio as well. It was a little bit faster paced then I was used to and that was okay because my legs were fairly sore after the yoga practice was finished. Unlike the practice that we do within our yoga class, it was less about the mind and spirit and more about getting the body in the best shape possible. Most of the people that were there were very fit, though none seemed very arrogant which I thought was going to happen. People were very welcoming, making sure everyone had space on the floor and were very nice even before we starting practicing yoga. After the practice I was talking to one of the guys there and was telling him that I came here because of this class. I asked him if why he comes here so often (he goes two times a week), and he said it was because it was a “great workout without have to lift weights or run on the treadmill”. I feel that the environment was more like the Bikram yoga where the environment that I was in was made for people who wanted to be physically fit, and professional athletes use yoga to train regularly.
My first time do yoga was within our class. I learned about yoga obviously through our readings and what we have discussed throughout our class together. I know that there are many different forms of yoga throughout the world like the man that lit himself on fire, the people that hold their arm over their head for years and years and eventually their arm rots, and many other forms of yoga throughout the world. Therefore, I believe that there is no real definition onto what yoga truly is, people use yoga in many different ways whether it is for their body, or for their mind and spirit. Though there is no real definition of yoga, I believe that the western form of yoga is completely different from yoga’s roots in the eastern world (i.e. India). “The word ‘yoga’ has great prestige value. It is frequently associated with the acquisition and exhibition of supernatural powers.” Which is something that we have studies in our class very much. How a man is able to lay in a fire pit as the fire burns is quite frankly over my head. It is hard to comprehend but that fact that he is able to focus the mind that much where the fire does not hurt him is remarkable. Going to o2 yoga what I wanted to see what it was like being in a yoga studio where the mind and spirit is not much a central point of their practice rather than just the body. I can see how the o2 yoga studio helps people and why it is their form of yoga. Most people would be unwilling to give up certain things and few know the origins of the practice itself, which is why it is not the same type of yoga as it is in the eastern part of the world. But at o2 yoga, we many poses that would really make your legs and pretty much your whole body burn. The workout as a couple of people told me after our session, is the main reason to why they do yoga, it gives you great stabilization in the core and the legs. It is a great resource for many people to use and that is what I have found in attending a yoga session at o2 yoga. With that being said, I believe that the impact that the culture has on o2 yoga studios is very significant. People do not go to yoga in the western part of the world to try and get their mind, body, and spirit aligned. Instead they go to get a good workout and the business has, quite frankly, flourished in the United States and will continue to grow for many years to come.
O2 yoga studio is the type of place that professional athletes would go when they are either training for the upcoming season, or even during the season itself, should they choose to go to a studio. As I have said, many athletes do yoga for the reasons that westerners first got into yoga, when asked about yoga, Evan Longoria, the third baseman for the MLB team Tampa Bay Rays said : “To be strong in general doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be strong from a baseball standpoint . . . When you're hitting, you want to be as stable as you can and use the three-dimensional aspect—the rotation in your core—to actually translate to power." He articulated very nicely why a lot of great athletes are now starting to do yoga, some have gotten into the mind and spirit portion or the practice, though they may not be fully immersed in it. Athletes use yoga most for the body because it is such a great workout, but some use it for their mind as well. Being a professional athlete, you always have to do something whether it is a game, practice, advertisement or public appearance. By using yoga to clear your mind and not think about anything else, they are helping themselves when it comes to slowing down the games and being in the moment. O2 yoga was a really great experience that opened my eyes to the world of western yoga. Though I may not be going back again for a while because of the daily costs, I now understand why people are willing to use yoga as a workout rather than the whole practice of having your mind, body, and spirit during your time with yoga and believe that this grow “fad” will continue to grow through the United States.
 Fellow Yogi
 On the Meaning of Yoga, K. S. Joshi, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Jan., 1965), pp. 53-64 Published by: University of Hawai'i Press, Article DOI: 10.2307/1397408, Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1397408
 Zirm, Jordan. "10 Athletes and Teams You Might Not Think Would Practice Yoga." STACK. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.