For many people with hectic, stressful lives, relaxation means zoning out in front of the TV at the end of the day or getting some extra sleep at the end of the weekend, but for a certain group of people relaxing does not include this. These people are called yogis; those who achieve relaxation through the art of meditation, breathing, stretching, and finding inner peace. In today’s fast paced society it is hard to find a way to fully relax because people are constantly being forced to push their minds and bodies to the limit, which can result in high levels of stress. Rather than fighting against life’s hardships, people who practice yoga value deep relaxation in order to be free of stress and live each day in peace and harmony without being thrown out of balance by the ups and downs life may bring. As a college student living in today’s fast-paced society life’s obstacles frequently challenge me, which usually leads to great amounts of stress. Watching TV, sleeping, and working out are all ways to help me cope, but these activities never seem to fully get the job done. I never thought that this horrible sequence of stress would find and ending, until I experienced my first hot yoga class. I decided to do my ethnography on the subculture of yogis to find out how these people step out of society’s craziness and enter into a world of relaxation by connecting their bodies and minds. Lucky for me, one of my close friends, Jamie Mack, is someone who takes immense pride in yoga. I was able to talk to her about how yoga helps her free her stress and also get a first hand experience of a yoga session myself. It was like any other Sunday here in Lawrence; I woke up around 12:30 PM exhausted from the night before, and automatically thought of all the homework I had to complete. One of the assignments I needed to get done by the end of the day was going to observe my subculture for my ethnography essay. In the interview I conducted with my friend Jamie, she explained to me, “Yoga I s the best remedy for stress. A part of the practice in yoga is clearing your mind, and it is a great stress relief.” (Jamie Mack, interview) Like other yogi’s, Jamie practices yoga in order to be free from stress, and that was exactly what I needed. What could be a better day to relieve my stress than a Sunday? So, I picked up my phone to call Jamie and find out the name and directions to the place where she practices her yoga. She told me that the yoga place was named “Bikram Yoga”, which is another name for hot yoga. She also told me that I should arrive to the class about fifteen minutes before the session started in order to stretch and relax my mind. Yogis feel that it is key to relax their minds before a session begins because it helps them later when they are trying to achieve their inner peace. At 2:30 PM, my friend Caroline and I left our dorm to go see what this whole “yoga” thing was about. We arrived at Bikram Yoga fifteen minutes before three just like Jamie told us, and saw that it was a small little place pushed into the corner of the shopping strip. Caroline and I ran out of the car, and into the studio. We got in there and were automatically welcomed with big smiles and greetings from the two women standing behind a desk in the little room. One of the women asked us if we had ever been there before or if we had ever done a hot yoga class, but it was quite obvious that it was our first time since we both showed up with no mats or towels and everyone else who walked in seemed to have both of these items with them. When we explained to her that it was our first time, she introduced herself as Kimbo and handed us two forms to read and fill out. One of the forms was asking who recommended us to Bikram Yoga, and the other was asking us to initial statements that proved we would be respectful throughout the session by not talking and not bringing in our cell phones, which are both actions that would interrupt...
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