The Art of Yoga

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Many people have stressful lives and relaxing might mean coming home and sitting on a couch in front of the television eating pizza or falling asleep. Some people go from work to a gym, or a studio to relax. These people achieve their relaxation through the art of meditation, breathing, stretching, and helping them find inner peace. With yoga, people can fight stress and live their life in peace and harmony on a daily basis.

So on Sunday April 8th, 2018, I attended a hot yoga class at 7:00 pm at the Dragonfly Studio. I walked into the small building that is connected to Buffalo Wild Wings, and a liquor store. When I walked into the yoga studio, I was greeted by a young lady working at the desk. She had this big smile and then another young lady came out and greeted me with a warm hello and a big smile. The first lady who greeted me asked me if this was my first time taking a hot yoga class. I replied with a no and asked if it was obvious as I was standing in front of her with no yoga mat or any towels. Other women have walked into the studio for the hot yoga class and had their own yoga mat and towels with them. The receptionist then handed me a form to fill out for reliability as she stated and it was an agreement to respect others in the class. I was then handed a yoga mat that they had in the back. Hot yoga is a form of yoga that is performed in a climate controlled room with heat and humidity that makes the entire room feel like it’s in a tropical environment.

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When I walked into the room, I was immediately hit with warmer temperature from the class before. I went ahead and placed the yoga mat in an area I found to work for me. The instructor who taught the class was a lovely, energetic woman name Brookyln. The class started some deep breathing poses and followed by I believe it was seven different standing poses, I might have miscounted but I know there were so many of them that were similar to one another. Before we went ahead to the floor pose, we ended the standing pose with what the instructor called was a corpse pose. We stayed in that position for about 4 minutes, maybe longer. The corpse pose was where we laid on our mat as if we were a corpse of just sleeping and with our eyes closed, we focused on our breathing and our self. The class consisted of standing poses, floor poses, breathing exercises (2 different breathing techniques), and one relaxation pose. The class was 90 minutes in an intense temperature such as 105 degrees Fahrenheit. In this yoga class, it was different because there were mirrors all around the room. The instructor throughout the class, constantly told us to focus on our self and to keep our eyes open. We were to keep our selves focused in front of the mirror to help promote our presence and to be mindful. Another thing I noticed about this class that made it different from other yoga classes was that the lights were not turned off or dimmed. The lights remained on and there wasn’t any music playing during this 90 minutes session of hot yoga. After class, I immediately asked about the lights and the music, and was told that the lights remain on and the absence of music helps enhance the mindfulness of the movements done by our body and it helps our mind and body connect. Practicing yoga has been proven to improve health physically and mentally.

The heat in hot yoga is been said to help relax the muscle and induce sleepiness. So technically, hot yoga helps to improve sleep. In 2014 there was a study done with a result of 94% of the participants who did Bikram (hot yoga) reported that their sleep habits had improved after a year of engaging in Bikram. In another article done by Harvard Medical School, it was stated that 20% more likely to have a positive image of their own physical and mental health, including a stronger sense of mental clarity, physical fitness, flexibility, and strength (Wei, 2016). Hot yoga has also been known to help participants lose weight. Participants have experienced induced lower body fat and an improved physique. Due to the hot temperature in hot yoga, the temperature helps to elevate the body’s heat/temperature and boost the body’s energy consumption. This will then cause the body to use more of its energy, causing a result of weight loss. Bikram (hot yoga) focuses on the mind and the body of an individual’s development regarding to oneself. Today, it seems that everyone is embracing yoga and what it can provide the participants in the end. Women in the United States are participating more in yoga practices than men are. Yoga has targeted the younger adults between that are still in college or adults between the ages of 18-30. Yoga also targets adults between the age of 35-54 and over 55. It is a mix of age groups but it is said that 71% of those who regularly attend yoga classes have at least one college degree (21 Staggering Yoga Demographics, Brandon, 2015). These yoga participants seem to have an annual household income to participant in yoga. Yoga is not cheap, so whether you are paying for class by class or a yearly membership, yoga is quite expensive. So yoga targets participants who make a good amount of annual household income. Yoga as of today, still is dominated by female. There isn’t a lot of male participants in yoga practices. I believe that due to the advertisements of yoga all over America, more females are attracted to this sort of practice. Yoga uses thin, white, and elegant women to sell their practice as well as their products. This type of advertisement creates an ideal image of a woman in the wellness-obsessed culture. It is quite difficult because Yoga teachers today still struggle to balance the practice for both males and females. Since most of the classes are filled with females mostly, females are practicing and their bodies have adapted to the movements. When a male joins the class, the amount of flexibility that a woman in the class can do is not the same as the amount of flexibility a male body can take or do safely without modifications. Our physical features and our bodies are different from one another. Certain movements are not going to be performed with the same amount of power or flexibility on a male body versus a female body. This can cause males to stay away from yoga because they may think that their bodies cannot or is not made for this type of practice.

In conclusion, Bikram (hot) yoga is considered to be a safe healthy practice for participants who practice yoga to improve their health and reduce stress. It is a way an individual can create harmony within themselves. It is another way to physically and mentally connect your body and mind by engaging movements to understand oneself in a way that you have never done before. It is about building a relationship with our self and our inner beauty. Everyone wants to be happy and to find happiness in our self. Everyone should find a lifestyle that creates an environment in our mind that leads us towards a path of happiness and self-developing. Yoga is an experience of turning self-awareness to something beautiful and can create a new self. It is a process of transforming yourself externally and internally. Yoga is an art of improving the quality of your mind by improving your relationship with your mind and body.

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