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Figured World Yoga Studio

A figured world can be any environment in which there are certain behaviors or actions deemed necessary due to social construction. Figured worlds involve actors, artifacts, and discourse communities. The figured world being observed is a Yoga studio- two different yoga studios, to be exact. The purpose of a Yoga studio is to provide yogi learners with an opportunity to grow in their practice while under the instruction of a certified instructor. This is a place of practice, learning, and fun, but also a setting of business, as it is has an owner, employees, and, hopefully, many clients. People of all kinds attend yoga studios on a daily basis, whether it be to get into shape, to relax, or just out of curiosity. Just as there are various kinds of people, there are also multiple activities taking place within the studio. Besides the help desk and office where all of the business is dealt with and most any questions are answers, there is the practice room itself, sometimes more than one depending on the size of the studio and size of the clientele. Different behaviors are appropriate in different studios. In some, the practice is very serious with very little talking- just deep breathing and the instruction of the teacher, especially in more advanced classes. In comparison, there are also many environments in which the atmosphere is laid back and more fun, with laughter and talking throughout the class time. Each Yoga studio is different, just as each yoga class within a studio is also different. Literacy Practice The commonalities that bring actors together in order to create the figured world. The figured world of the Yoga studio is created by actors who all have something in common- Yoga. They either are passionate about the way Yoga makes them feel, or maybe they are trying to get fit, or maybe they are just merely curious. Observation One Tuesday, September 3, 2013 6:00 PM 7:15 PM

Maggie Hinson 10/30/13 10:24 AM Comment [1]: Wow! This a fantastically descriptive assignment--and it is extremely thorough. After reading your piece, I have a clear sense of some of the practices at different yoga environments, and this worked really well. Your descriptions were clearly above and beyond the assignment guidelines. In revision, I have just one suggestion that I would like for you to incorporate: Add some pictures of these yoga practices/events that you have observed. You describe them quite well throughout, but I still think having some sort of visual would be helpful to me as a reader. You may consider taking multiple pictures and creating a slideshow with captions--this I think would be the best method. These pictures could also include a series showing different yoga poses--but what you choose to do in the photos is completely up to you.

Yoga Studio: Core Studio Pilates Class: Align and Flow Instructor: Nan Vuncannon

Monroe, NC

Description of Space: When first entering Core Studio Pilates, there is an office and inviting seating area in a room automatically to your right, which includes a desk, a computer, a coffee maker, and also a table and chairs. The larger room straight ahead is where this observation takes place. This space used to be an old doctors office, so each door reads words such as XRAY or PRIVATE. Hanging on the door to the yoga room are teal streamers and a large sign posted on a bulletin board reading Teal Tuesday, in honor of ovarian cancer awareness. Each day of the week represents a different cancer awareness theme. The room is extremely well lit due to six large windows on the right hand wall. There are eight lights hanging from the white wooden ceiling, but none are needed because of the natural light from the sun. The left and front wall are painted a pale purple color with the remaining walls being all a dark, textured, brick. The floors are a light hard wood and theres a huge brick archway in the center of the room coming from the ceiling. TRX, or cross training, equipment lines the sides of the room, sitting on the floor and hanging from the walls. In some corners are baskets of medicine and weighted exercise balls, and in others are yoga props. Two ballet bars for Core Barre classes are pushed against the right side of the wall away from the center of the room. A large wall-sized mirror covers the front of the room, and on the left side of the room are large wooden cubbies to hold shoes, purses, etc. There is also a small area on the left side designed for selling merchandise such as natural soaps and lotions, yoga socks, bags, mats, and clothing. Towards the back of the room on the left wall is a door leading towards the bathroom. *I have created a Shutterfly website that holds a few photos that I have taken of both of the studio that I observed. The link is- assignmentoneyoga.shutterfly.com Actors Actors are the people that are acting in the figured world. Their actions, their words, their mannerisms, everything that they do are affected by the figured world that they are in. Nan Vuncannon: Yoga instructor. Nan is an extremely peppy and altogether happy woman. She bounces around the room throughout her instruction radiating energy. She giggles a lot and loves to make the rest of the class smile and laugh. As a yoga instructor, she is very encouraging, but also challenging. Her purpose in the figured world of Core Studio is to help others, and to bring life and laughter into the classroom as she instructs. Suzy Fisher: Student. Suzy is a schoolteacher and just happens to be Nans sister. She contains lots of personality and can be well described by the word spunky. She is a recent breast cancer survivor and is a large reason as to why the studio has adopted cancer awareness projects. Her and Nan both have matching elaborate wrist tattoos of the breast cancer ribbon and are very close. Suzy practices yoga weekly and is a regular at Core. She very much enjoys cracking jokes during class. Her humor serves as a relief for

many of the others. Beyond that, she is a very strong woman, physically and emotionally, and it shows through in her Yoga practice. Suzys role in this figured world is to lighten up the seriousness of Yoga with her humor. Nancy Lee: Student. Nancy is in her mid-fifties and is a retired ballerina. She is very tall and has extremely long legs, which sometimes hinder her during her Yoga practice. Nancy is a very advanced student and is always a bit ahead of the rest of the class. She is a regular, especially for Nans classes and likes to sit in the very front row center. Her movements are very beautiful and fluid because of her dancer background. Nancys role in the figured world is to provide competition. She wants others to know that shes advanced and experienced. Kathy Hamilton: Student. Kathy is a newbie at Core Studio Pilates. She has attended a few other classes before, but this is only her second Yoga class. During class she struggles quite a bit, needing blocks to help with flexibility. Many poses she cant quite get into, but she does put forth commendable effort. Kathys role in the figured world of Core Studio is one of importance- she is the ideal image of a brand new Yogi. She is in a constant struggle throughout class, but she mainly demonstrates a willingness to try new things and to put forth effort. She is a reminder to all other students of what they once were and how far they have come. Artifacts Artifacts can be objects, ideas, emotions, or even people. They symbolize or stand for something in a figured world, something significant. The front of the room: Usually in Yoga studios, many people that arent as confident in their practice want to hide in the back. The front of a yoga studio is known to all Yogis as the ideal spots to show off, since the rest of the class will be looking towards you from behind. To sit in the front of the room says that you are confident in your practice, and most of the time a bit more advanced. The mirror: The majority of Yoga studios also have a mirror. In Core, the mirror just so happens to be at the front of the room. Its purpose is to show you what your postures, stances, and poses really look like. It gives you a much better perspective of what youre doing right or wrong. The mirror is also a sign of confidence with your individual practice. Blocks/Blankets/Straps: These are all props used in Yoga to assist in poses and postures. The blocks are a simple way to bring the floor closer to you. When you cant reach the ground, you just grab blocks. The blankets are helpful for extra cushion, especially for those with bad knees or tight hips. The straps are used for stretching. If you cant reach your toes, you put a strap around them and just hold onto the strap. It can be used for multiple poses to create some extra space that you cant quite get into just yet. All of these objects are artifacts because they are seen as a sign of inflexibility. Although

the props are extremely useful and you receive the same stretch as not using them, many students take great pride in not having to need them. Breathing: In Yoga, breathing is a key concept, if not the most important. It serves to discipline your brain to think only of your breath and your practice, and to not become distracted by things outside of the studio. Ujjayi breathing is a breath technique in Yoga that makes the breathing much more audible. It comes from the back of the throat and, with a room full of Ujjayi breathers, it sounds much like an ocean or the wind. People that practice Ujjayi breath are usually more advanced students who have mastered having good concentration throughout their practice. This breathing technique is an artifact because it symbolizes concentration during the practice, and also tends to symbolize advancement in ones practice. Om: During the beginning and end of most Yoga classes, the instructor will direct the class to take a round of Om. It involves the students sitting up straight with their eyes closed. He or she will begin and the rest of the class will follow in chanting the word Om. This is a way of unifying each student in the class as one. Its also used in meditation classes as a way of calming the mind and freeing it of any unnecessary thoughts. Many students never get comfortable enough to recite the Oms, while many other are extremely vocal. It mainly depends on your level of comfort and exposure to it. The Om symbolizes not only unity, but also comfort. Yoga Mat- Everyone student and even the instructor has a Yoga mat. The mat is very significant because it represents your space and your practice. Your mat your own space to do whatever feels good to you and whatever your body needs for that time period. The Yoga mat is significant because it symbolizes each persons individual practice. Discourse Communities A Discourse Community is any group that begins to form in a figured world based on similarities or the same behavior. The Regulars- Although this class consists of many regulars, Suzy Fisher, Nancy Lee, and Susan Redford are the most talkative group of regulars who come into the studio wanting others to know that its somewhat their territory. The three of them are the closest out of the class and are constantly communicating by talking and joking with each other. Advanced Students- The advanced students in this class are mainly Nancy Lee and Kristy DiSalvo. They both take seats in the very front of the classroom and are both constantly looking in the mirror. Both of them communicate through their practice- going further than all of the other students and silently competing with each other, though they are both flexible in different ways. The Funny Ones- The two women that are the most comical through any practice would be Nan Vuncannon and Suzy Fisher. They are both sisters, giving them more than their

humor in common. Nan is very ditzy funny, while Suzy is very sarcastic funny. They communicate through their humor and end up lightening up the mood for the rest of the students. The Observation *I have created a Prezi that visually explains certain poses that are mentioned throughout all three of my observations. It may be helpful to consult that before reading the observations. http://prezi.com/_z4tcrohh7jt/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share 5:45PM- Students are beginning to enter the studio and roll out their mats. It is very loud in comparison to most studios. There is a lot of laughing and conversation going on as people move around the room to consult with others about their weeks. Susan Redford is discussing her daughter who just left for college a few weeks ago and is having problems with attempting to do her own laundry for the first time. An interview is taking place towards the back of the room between Nancy Lee and Suzy Fisher. Nancy is questioning Suzy about her tattoo and recording her responses on an iPhone. A new face appears, Tracy Scott. She rolls out her mat and does a few warm-up stretches in the midst of all of the conversation and proceeds to stare out the window silently, waiting for class to begin. 5:59PM- Class begins as Nan Vuncannon rolls out her mat in front of the class and seats her self in a cross-legged position. Everyone returns to their own mats and replicates her movement as they all sit with tall spines. Nan always begins each class with an encouraging story that pertains to the focus of the practice for each day. Todays topic is about embracing changes. She tells everyone a story about children playing Hide-AndSeek. Some people are ready to be found (they are ready for change), while others feel as though they havent even found a good hiding spot yet. But ready or not, here Change comes. The main focus for the practice today is to cultivate an openhearted acceptance of change. After she finishes speaking, she instructs everyone to close their eyes and begin class with one round of Om. 6:07- Simple stretches begin at Nans instruction. Some are already very familiar with the routine of these warm ups and perform on their own pace, adding in different poses on their own. Kathy looks to Nan for instruction and to others and is more hesitant in her movements. 6:10- The class is instructed in a sequence of larger movements now. The Vinyasas begin, which are poses performed within a flow, or continuous movement. Again, many know what theyre doing and go with their own pace and breath while some others wait for Nans command. 6:15- The Warrior combinations begin, containing the major leg poses Warrior one, Warrior two, and Warrior three. All of which are difference variations of the same pose. Nan laughs at herself a lot because she mixes up the Warriors and sometimes explains things a bit oddly. She uses terms like wiggle to talk about getting comfortable in a

pose, and she offers advice to make the variations more challenging, or as she refers to it as, giving it more juice!. 6:20- The class now takes on a wider stance and Nan begins to demonstrate a new sequence for them to learn. The class follows along with her, mimicking her movements. There is much laughter because everyone looks a bit goofy. Nan exclaims that they all will be sore the next day and asks the class how they feel. Suzy yells from the back, We feel awkward! There is much laughter at this. Nan goes on to talk about energy and being grounded with your breath. 6:30- The students change their stances to now face the windows in the studio. The changing of directions ties back to Nans topic for today- embracing change. Some use blocks to help them get farther into the poses. 6:35- Nan talks the class through some hamstring openers. One of which is Widespread Forward Fold. Some more advanced students (Tracy and Kristy) are able to rest on the tops of their heads, while others are on blocks. Kathy struggles. 6:37- Nan now calls everyone into a simple standing position as she explains a new and more advanced balancing sequence that she wants everyone to attempt. This sequence involves the pose Half Moon, which is a more advanced posture that even experienced Yogis have a hard time holding. Nan demonstrates the sequence, giving easy to follow to directions and very clear explanations. She tells the students to just play with postures and poses, to have fun with them. She walks to each student and offers tips or assistance for the individual to make their pose more delicious!. Half Moon proves to be very difficult. Suzy, Nancy, and Susan all do great and strong Half Moons. Kathy doesnt even attempt the posture and instead just watches the others, looking a bit defeated. 6:45- Nan now directs the class to try some hip openers. Pigeon is the most common one and is what she helps the class get into. At this moment, she mentions that Tracy is also a Yoga instructor. She begins talking about an article that she read about new Yoga teachers and how they have a hard time with incorporating silence into their classes- they just want every moment to be filled with noise. She asks Nancy if she thinks that she could teach a class in silence and Nancy replies with a chuckle and very firm NO. This also causes much laughter because everyone is aware of how much Nan loves to talk. 6:50- The end of class draws near and they begin working on some more balancing poses. Everyone is struggling to not fall over from shaking so much from being unsteady. Nan tells everyone that the key to any pose is to smile! With this, many people start giggling and do in fact begin to fall over. Nan directs the class to do one more Warrior sequence and this time to add some more challenging details to make the pose harder. She describes the level of the pose as mild, spicy, or hot sauce. This proves to be difficult as most of the students are getting tired. When she asks them to repeat it once more, there are many unhappy moans from the class.

6:56- Now the class performs a final pose to stretch the back and legs- Gate Pose. Nan requires everyone to use a block, and Kathy looks relieved at this. Nancys ballerina legs are far too long and cause Tracy to have to shift position in order to allow them room. They joke about it and Nan comically threatens to separate them. While in this pose, Nan begins talking about Christmas stuff already being put out on display at Costco- ready or not 7:00- The last and final resting pose of a Yoga class is Corpse Pose. Everyone lies on the back with their limbs relaxed and eyes closed. It is very quiet. Kathy and some others open one eye occasionally to glance around and then shut it again. Nan brings out wet cold clothes soaked in Lavender to put over the eyes or foreheads of each student. 7:06- Nan rings a small bell three times to signal the class to mentally return back into the room. She tells them to begin incorporating micro-movements in their body by wiggling their toes and fingers and eventually finding a seat. They all meet sitting up as they were in the beginning of class. Nan asks everyone to place their hands together at their heart and thanks them for sharing their practice with her tonight. She ends with a Namaste as all Yoga classes do, which means the light within me honors and respects the light within you. 7:13- Class dismissed. Interview *This is an interview I conducted with Nan Vuncannon, Yoga instructor at Core Studio Pilates. 1. How did you get started practicing Yoga and how long have you been practicing as of today? How long have you been teaching Yoga? - I started practicing in 1998, mainly out of curiosity. It was something not many people were doing- sort of edgy- and I was running a lot, and had extremely tight hamstrings and quadriceps that were happy to enjoy a little stretching instead of constant strengthening and pounding from running. My practice wasnt consistent at all back then. I have been teaching and practicing regularly since 2007. 2. What motivated you to want to become a Yoga instructor? - I fell in love with the way Yoga made me feel both on and off the mat and I really just wanted others to have that as well. I wanted to practice more consistently and if I was teaching I had to continue to learn so that my classes could be fresh and new and ever expanding. So, I guess it was really a little wanting to help others and help myself in the process. 3. How can Yoga affect a persons attitude or perspective? - It makes people feel better, and when you feel better you behave better. I can honestly say that I am not better than anyone else; but I am infinitely better in every measureable way than I was before Yoga.

4. What do you believe are the most important or biggest benefits of practicing Yoga? - Yogas benefits include greater flexibility and strength, improved energy levels and sleep and a calmer, more contented mind. People love it because it is not only a powerful way to get in shape physically; it is also a fantastic way to feel more emotionally harmonious. Or, you could simply say there is so much truth in the old axiom Move a muscle, change a feeling. 5. What does it mean to have a unification of the body and mind? - For me personally it simply means choosing to step into the flow of Grace, accepting its pace and moving with, not against it, being in the zone, immersed in the moment. The body and mind acting as one neither moving ahead of the other, rather working together in unison, yoked if you will, for the greater good. 6. Are there certain things you try to include in your classes to ensure that each individual is getting the most out of their practice? - Yes. I always try to offer a personal analogy that corresponds with the heart based theme and physical postures we will be working on to make them more meaningful for each student. I try to include things that are approachable for the majority of the class (teach who is in front of me rather than using a preset plan that cant be deviated from) and also an element of challenge to foster expansion and individual growth. Allowing them to learn that they are capable of so much more than the limited ideas they have of themselves. 7. What does Yoga mean to you? - A practice that helps any person begin or remain deeply committed to ALL that life might promise. Observation Two Saturday, September 7, 2013 11 AM 11:30 AM

Yoga Studio: Core Studio Pilates Class: A private Yoga session Instructor: Katie Fallet Description of Space:

Monroe, NC

As it is the same studio as my first observation, the description of the space remains the same. However, this time there are not multiple students- instead there is only one. Figured World: This particular variation of the figured world proves to be much different than that of the previous observation. Because this is a one-on-one instructor and student session, there is not much laughter and cutting up. The mood of the room is much more serious and the only communication going on is that between the instructor and the student concerning the students practice. Actors Katie Fallet: Yoga instructor. Katie is young and fairly new instructor. She smiles a lot and is very caring and attentive to her student and pays extra close attention to minute details that she wouldnt be able to do were she teaching a group class. Katie is important in this figured world because she is the instructor- she is in charge of helping and assisting the student in any way possible. Brianna Ruff: Student. Brianna Ruff is a heavier-set woman in her early twenties. She has been practicing Yoga for almost one year and prefers the one-on-one classes to the group classes. She struggles during much of the class but seems to enjoy the challenge of it. Brianna is an important actor in this figured world because she is the only student- the learner. Artifacts The Instructor- During one-on-one private sessions, the instructor, in this case Katie, is a very important artifact because they provide not only instruction and assistance, but also motivation. Sometimes you tend to push yourself a lot harder when all of the attention is on you compared to a group class where all of the attention is shared and scattered among each student. Privacy- In this figured world, privacy is huge. The student wanted a private session for a reason, it could be for any of numerous reasons, but for whatever the reason may be, the privacy of this class is important and significant because it causes the student to feel more comfortable and able to practice with the unlimited help and attention that she needs. Adjustments- Adjustments are physical corrections that the instructor makes to the student while in poses or different postures. Adjustments are more significant in private sessions because theres much more of it than in a group class. In almost every single pose the student enters, the instructor will make a physical adjustment. This is significant not only because it shows correction, but because its is more of a possibility in one-onone sessions.

The Observation 11:00- Class begins at exactly eleven. Birds can be heard chirping outside and there is not any traffic noise at all because it is a bit earlier in the day. Katie Fallet, the instructor, begins by going to the iPod stereo and playing her Yoga playlist which is relaxing piano music. There are no lights on so the room is dim but becomes lighter as the sun moves in the direction of the windows. Katie directs Brianna, the student, to begin seated up right on her mat. Together they both begin doing some breathing exercises to begin to awaken the body. Within a few minutes the student is following verbal directions from Katie and is beginning her practice. 11:07- Katie circles the student and observes her from every angle during each pose. She makes adjustments as she moves through various warm up poses as necessary. The adjustment include grounding the students hands or feet, or carefully pulling on certain areas of Briannas body in order to open her body up more. 11:13- Katie begins to lean more of her weight into Brianna in order to push her further into a bend. The student seems to be in no pain, and her poses greatly improve with even the smallest adjustments from Katie. She begins to transition into some Warrior poses as Katie directs her. 11:16- Brianna now begins to enter into Vinyasas, which include many Forward Folds and Downward Facing Dogs. Through the repetition of this Vinyasa, Brianna pauses a few times to ask Katie to analyze her alignment or to explain where her muscles and body are more tight. Each time she performs a Vinyasa, it is clear that she is able to reach a bit further than the previous time and can go deeper into the pose. 11:21- As Katie demonstrates more advanced and challenging poses for Brianna to attempt, there is some obvious strain in the students face and body. She becomes very shaky. During these times Katie tells the student to try to keep up with her breath and to clam her body down- to send her breath to the places that she feels the tightest. With each advanced pose, Katie asks Brianna if she feels any pinching or pain. Brianna replies no each time and they continue. 11:25- As the poses and postures continue, some seem more familiar to Brianna than others. Katie is constantly offering advice regarding how to modify the pose to make it easier. Sometimes Brianna perfects the pose and Katie shows her how to take it to the next level, especially in Triangle Pose, when it is clear that she has very flexible shoulders and has already mastered the beginning stages of the posture. Brianna seems to be very open to knew things and Katie offers much praise and words of encouragement throughout the lesson. 11:30- During the last few minutes of class, the student is asked to return to her original seated position in which she had started the class and again repeats the breathing exercises. The student is asked to close her eyes. Katie tells Brianna to take this time to

reflect on her practice and to take into account how her body and spirit feel now compared to when she first entered the studio. The class ends with a bow and Namaste. Interview This is an interview that I conducted with Jill Hinson, founder, owner, and Pilates instructor at Core Studio Pilates. 1. What was your motivation for opening your own studio? - I majored in Dance Education in college. I fell in love with Pilates soon after college and I knew that a studio would combine my love for both. 2. What was appealing about the location that you chose for the studio? (the down town area, and also the studio space? - I have loved the Historic District of Monroe every since I moved here fourteen years ago. I debated on the Weddington area or here at Monroe. I knew Monroe would be a risk because it is such a small area, but I love the community and the space. Rent was more affordable and there was now studio for Pilates or Yoga in Union County yet. 3. What were some of the challenges and struggles that you have had to go trough in order to get the Studio to reach the success that is has now? - The list is a mile long. The biggest one would be in assuming that people would just automatically come. Its amazing the marketing and business challenges that small studio faces. You have to always be able to think outside of the box. Its more challenging in some way being in a small town, as well. 4. Is there anything that you wish you that youd have done differently? If so, what and why? - I would not do anything differently. I always follow my heart and pray about decisions that I make. I learn from my mistakes and it makes me stronger because of it. I have learned though, to be patient and to think all decisions through first to be sure that I am making the right ones. 5. The name Core Studio Pilates obviously emphasizes Pilates. How did other exercises such as Yoga and Piloxing or other practices become involved? Had you planned to have other exercises incorporated all along? - I am a Pilates instructor, but an avid Yoga practitioner. Our original name was Core Studio Pilates but we added and Yoga after realizing that the two were great together. Piloxing is just a fun and trendy cardio work out for those clients of Core who want more cardio. 6. What would you say that your biggest personal accomplishment has been in opening and running Core Studio Pilates?

- Core Compassion Project, a non-profit providing scholarship funding for woman and men with breast cancer. This non-profit will be offered across the state of North Carolina. 7. What sort of important things has opening your own studio taught you as an individual? - Compassion, confident, but most of all, I am slow to judge others. I have learned that everyone has a story, and each person plays an important role to the lives of others. I am truly blessed to know so many amazing people in our community. 8. What original goals did you have for the Studio? Have they been met or are they still in the process? - My original goal was to make it through the first two years. This month is my two-year anniversary! I set short-term and long-term goals. My five-year goal is for Compassion Project to be national. 9. To the people that attend the classes at Core, what sort of impressions do you want the Studio to have on them? - 1. A sense of belonging and community. 2. Anyone any size is welcome at Core. I do not want students to feel intimidated. 3. Very high quality instruction and care. 10. When hiring instructors, was there anything special that you were looking for in them? (such as personality, creativity, challenging, etc.) - Personality is important, but knowledge is equally important. I only hire experienced instructors now, unless coming on as a student teacher or apprentice. 11. Where do you see Core Studio Pilates being in ten years from now? Have you ever though of expanding or opening in different locations? - I am still trying to figure that one out. The next five years will be telling Observation Three Wednesday, September 11, 2013 7:30 PM-8:30 PM Yoga Studio: Lotus Living Arts Studio Class: Yoga Flow Instructor: Vicky Geros Concord, NC

* I wanted to observe at a different studio to examine the differences in not only group classes versus an individual class, but also to compare different locations of the same figured world. The behaviors at each are similar but also have many obvious differences.

Description of Space:

When entering through the door to the practice space, the studio is always very dark. There are no lights except for two lamps in the two corners at the front of the room, but they are almost always turned off. There are two windows on the left hand side of the room, which are covered completely by blinds, allowing only minimal light through. The floors are an old dark wood and creak whenever walked on. The walls are painted an earthy green color. Prayer flags drape across the front wall and in the center of that wall is a painting of a lotus. There is also a large golden gong in the front right hand corner of the studio, which is just for looks. A small white board also hangs from the front wall, which always has inspirational quotes on it. The one for this evening reads Om Shanti Om. Om is believed to be the sound of universal unity, and Shanti is peace. Om Shanti means peace for all human kind. On the left wall more towards the front is a mirror and on the right wall are two space heaters and an air conditioner. In the back right corner of the room is a closet of supplies that is painted red. Here there is also a music player which connects to iPods, and several Buddhist pictures- one of Buddha himself, a lotus flower again, and a banner of the chakras, which are the seven energy points on the human body. The back wall of the room is where all of the props are located- blocks, straps, and blankets. There are also mats for rent for one dollar and a small table near the door where students put their $5 class fee when they come in. There are also two Lotus Yoga shirts hanging up for sale. Actors *Notice that at Lotus studio, males are present, unlike at Core studio. Vicky Geros: Director of Lotus Living Arts Studio and Yoga Instructor. Vicky is from Australia and has very thick Australian accent. She is serious about her teaching, but is very, very silly at the same time. She laughs a lot and makes very odd noises sometimes that are hard to explain. She jokes around with the students often and sometimes her jokes are always a bit corny. Vicky is an important actor in this figured world because she is the Yoga instructor. The students must follow her directions and abide by her modifications and whatever else she may bring into the practice, including her attempted humor. Steve Carroll: Student. Steve is a regular student of Vickys and a regular at Lotus altogether. When first meeting and seeing Steve, the last thought to enter your mind would be Yogi, but after getting to know him a bit, it is clear that he is very passionate about his practice. During class, Steve struggles quite a bit. He is a very large man and sweats from the moment he enters the room. Steve is significant because of his struggle. Yoga is a challenge for him physically, but mentally he seems to have everything under perfect control.

James Dixon: Student. James is a young African American male who is very built. His muscles seem to get in the way sometimes of his practice. James is quiet, but does joke around with Vicky a lot and finds many of her corny jokes to be really funny, unlike the rest of the class. James is significant in this figured world because of his ability to laugh with Vicky and joke. Kathleen Cletti: Student. Tonight is Kathleens first time practicing at Lotus studio, but it is definitely not her first time practicing Yoga. When she first arrives she seems very hesitant about where to sit and what to do- but once class begins it becomes very evident that Kathleen is an extremely advanced student. Kathleen is significant in this studio because of how advanced she is. She serves as an example to others, and ultimately, an ideal goal. Connie Bridges: Instructor of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation at Lotus Living Arts Studio. Also, in this case, she is a student. Connie is an older woman with a very wrinkled but strong face. She hardly ever smiles, but seems very at peace and calm all of the time. Connie is the definition of an old-school hippie. She wears very flowing clothes that look to be made of linen. Her wrists are covered in bracelets and she wears a necklace with an unknown symbol on it around her neck. Connie has a very unique Yoga practice. Being advanced and experienced in other forms of Yoga, she incorporates many other variations into her poses and sequences. Connie is very much the show off of the class, which is why she is significant in this figured world. She also symbolizes, though, the different types of Yoga and how they can all be incorporated into one. Artifacts *The artifacts from my first observation all apply to this observation as well. Although they are two different students, all of the artifacts are still equally significant in this setting as well. (The front of the room, the mirror, blocks/blankets/straps, breathing, Om, and the yoga mat) Lotus Flower- The lotus flower is significant in this individual variation of the figured world not only because it is the name of the studio, but also because of what the lotus symbolizes in Yoga. The lotus flower grows at the bottom of muddy rivers and rises above the water in order to bloom. This is symbolizing how people can rise above their struggles and whatever is holding them down and can learn to bloom from where they are planted. Discourse Communities The Men: Being two older and larger men, Marty and Steve stick together. They have a common ground and they stand firm in that. They both silently talk in the beginning of class and practice with their mats beside each other in the front of the studio. This pair is important because of the similarities that they share- being two larger men, they also share many challenges in Yoga as well.

The Jokesters: As I had mentioned before, James is the only student who really goes along with Vickys jokes and even acknowledges them. They both joke around together frequently during class while all others remain completely serious in their practice. James and Vicky are a discourse community that is significant because of the humor that they bring to the class (and maybe even a bit of annoyance, as well). The Observation 7:30- Each student is seated on his or her individual mat. There are nine students total. The room is extremely quiet and all that can be heard is deep breathing. Anyone who is talking is doing so in silent whispers. Many are just sitting and meditating while others are doing their own warm-up stretches. There is soft music playing the background- deep wooden flutes and soft chimes- it sounds much like the wind. 7:37- Vicky enters the studio running a bit late and turns the music down so she can be heard more audibly. She tells everyone to come to a seated position with their eyes shut and to just reflect for a while. She tells them to try to be here and in the moment, to not let the external and internal forces of the body distract their minds. She directs them to notice the body parts that are grounding them to the floor- their feet, and their bums (very Australian). She then leads them into some beginning breathing exercises. The class is still a bit silent, so Vicky explains how she loves noises. She directs them not to hold in any sounds that theyve been holding in all day- to just let them go. She leads them through a round of Om, and the class is silent once again. 7:40- Practice begins with a few arm and shoulder stretches. Vicky speaks again about releasing the noises that we keep captive inside of us. From the class come some very loud signs and exhales. Connie makes an odd noise that doesnt really sound like a sigh or an exhale- just a painful moan of some sort. 7:44- The students enter into Cats and Cows in order to warm up the spine. They begin a sequence of this before Vicky directs them into a more challenging spinal pose called Rabbit. Connies movements are very natural, exaggerated, and traditional compared to the more modern movements in Yoga. Everyones movements vary significantly from each other, but hers are the most noticeable and evident. 7:46- The class transitions into a few Vinyassas, which are certain poses repeated within a set. Vicky begins to talk about being active. She pretends to get angry because no ones poses look active enough. Dont make me give you detention! she exclaims. No one laughs at this, except for James. The breathing of this class is extremely audible. They all incorporate Ujjayi breath into their practice and it sounds like the ocean when put all together, or a howling wind. As the Vinyassas continue, Vicky makes her way around the room, talking as she goes about how as a student you should take time to get into each pose. She makes several adjustments to Chelseas Plank pose and offers different options to make certain postures easier. Vicky begins telling more corny jokes that obtain no laughter from the class, not even from James, and she responds, Yeah, that ones getting a bit old, isnt it? She laughs a lot at herself while everyone else is very serious and

concentrated in his or her practice. Its hard to tell whether the corny jokes and constant laugher is just apart of her nature, or whether shes just attempting to lighten the mood. 7:51- Vicky now directs the students into leg stretches, which consist of many Lunges and Warrior variations. She constantly gets her left and right mixed up which causes quite a bit of confusion. By this time, Steve has created a puddle of sweat around his mat and his clothes are mostly all soaked, but he keeps up with the rest of the class and shows great effort. Everyones movements are very synchronized and it makes for a very beautiful sight. Vicky again begins to promote loud exhalations and releasing everything that is bottled up on the inside. With this a few more people join in and soon the entire room is filled with the loud sounds of inhales and exhales. It seems to make everyone a bit more comfortable. 7:55- The tired class now is directed into Childs Pose, which is a resting pose. Vicky further elaborates on Childs Pose instructing the students to use this pose to honor their bodies and practices and to give themselves a small break. 7:56- Childs Pose does not last long and soon Vicky begins instructing some spinal twists. Steve needs many adjustments during these postures and Chelsea must use blocks since her legs are so long. In many poses in which the class is facing one wall, Steve seems to always be opposite and is somehow facing the other. 7:59- As the class enters into more Vinyassas, this time incorporating abdominal work, Vicky laughs out loud at Chelseas face which seems to reflect pain. By this time, everyone is sweating. 8:01- As the class transitions into Warriors once again, Vicky begins to reflect on how everyone is different and everyones expression of a pose will not be exactly the same. She makes adjustments to Andrea and Chelsea. Everyone seems to be very proud and confident in their warriors and in their practice in general. As everyone in this class has practiced Yoga on a regular basis, they are all to an extent set in their ways and their own practice. It shows by how strong their poses are, never hesitant. Vicky tells the class that each one of them as an individual is full of light, and that they should let that unique light shine without shame. 8:08- Vicky now leads everyone through Warrior 3, which is one of the more challenging balancing poses of Yoga. Some are very good at it, while others struggle tremendously. Vicky does not criticize or adjust this pose, but instead tells everyone to just do their own version of the posture. This pose requires great concentration and Vicky decides to use this time to try to make people laugh. She goes around and gets close to peoples faces asking them, What day is it?! and wont leave until they respond Its hump day! The only one who finds this humorous is James. It causes most people to lose their balance. 8:11- Now begins the duration of class where the poses are aimed towards the bum, as Vicky likes to refer to it. She directs them into Yogi Squats and there are moans of

unwillingness as the students begin. Vicky laughs at them all and says, I love you! She turns the air conditioner on a bit higher because it has now gotten to be extremely warm in the class. Both fans are also turned on. 8:16- Now the class transitions into Frog Pose, which is beneficial for the knees and hips. Most people use blocks for this pose. Connies Frog Pose is a very odd variation that Ive never seen before and looks extremely uncomfortable. The entire class is very serious and it is very quiet once again. 8:20- Vicky leads the class into a final hip-opening pose, Pigeon. Marty and James both use blocks. Chelseas hips are very flexible; as well Andrea, and they are both able to reach the maximum depth of the pose. Vicky goes around and massages the legs and upper back of each student. Everything remains very quiet and she turns the air conditioner up even higher so that the rooms slowly begins to get cooler again. 8:28- The class folds into a Childs Pose to catch their breaths. 8:29- Vicky offers the class a chance to enter into a final inversion before going into Corse Pose. An inversion is any pose in which your feet are raised above your head, resulting in a switch in direction of blood flow. Connie and Andrea enter into shoulder stand, a more popular advanced inversion. Everyone else is in bridge pose, the most common inversion, except for Steve who is smiling in Happy Baby, which is a pose that looks as it sounds- like a happy baby laying on its back with its feet in its hands. 8:33- Now the students enters into the final resting pose- Corpse Pose. All of the students are on their backs with their eyes closed. All the lights are out and the room is completely pitch black. Its very cool, and its an amazing event to witness- no sight at all, only the sound of breathing and the Yoga mantras being chanted from the stereo. 8:43- Vicky cuts on a lamp in the left hand corner of the room and begins signaling for the students to awaken their bodies and slowly come up to a seated position as they were in the beginning of class. They close class with one final Om and a Namaste.