Author: dominiquegaitt

Person for Rent Industry Autoethnographic Response

Myself, Charmaine, Jack and Ash investigated the industry of renting people to be platonic friends to play the roles of family members, wedding guests or just someone to hang out with on a Saturday. The industry is very large in Japan and China as a result of social pressures for girls especially to have a boyfriend in Asian culture and saving face issues. People can earn a lot of money renting out their friendship services and the idea has reached the US and Australia with many websites available for people to employ people to be their friend.Here is a link to our digital artifact with all of the info and insights into this awesome industry.

https://prezi.com/embed/736vvudrxbcl/?bgcolor=ffffff&lock_to_path=0&autoplay=0&autohide_ctrls=0&landing_data=bHVZZmNaNDBIWnNjdEVENDRhZDFNZGNIUE43MHdLNWpsdFJLb2ZHanI5bHpDamN0SmhSbmxZRThPVTZuU3g5cHV3PT0&landing_sign=zdcWwgzQ845O4IDTQrilAW6n0tvlAAsV_aT95UEplao

 

 

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Balancing my Yin and Yang Through Yoga; an Autoethnographic Experience

In my first autoethnographic response to yoga I’d begun analysisng my experience with the practice even though I’d already been doing yoga for quite a few months. I still find it fun, however since I’ve been practicing yoga for this project, my uni load has increased ten fold and I’m lucky to get to go once a week. They say if you don’t have time to meditate 20mins every day, then you should meditate for an hour. They obviously don’t understand how limited your time is when pulling all nighters to submit 3000 word essays.

I complete my practices at the Yoga studio down the road called Body Awakenings. The teachers are really helpful and nice and there is no judgement because everyone is just as terrible as you are. The classes do have a female majority of all ages but there are usually a few men who complete the practices regularly too (boyfriends being dragged along by optimistic partners?)

I love the yoga studio itself, you could just walk into that room and feel relaxed even if you don’t complete the practice. There are multiple scented candles, purple and white walls with a giant mandala painted on one and wooden shutters to keep the bright lights out, all of which sets a relaxing ambiance.

The classes run for approximately an hour with multiple styles to choose from including Hatha Yoga, Core Yogalates, Slow Yoga Flow, Yin Yoga, Yin Yang Yoga, Core Yoga Flow, Restorative Yoga, Core Pilates, Gentle Yogalates, Basic Yoga Flow, Roller and Release with Core Flow, Qui Gong, Meditation along with Teen, Prenatal and Mums and Bubs Yoga classes.

As there are so many classes I haven’t had a chance to try them all, (also not all of them apply to me seeing as I’m not pregnant or a teenager.) However I have tried Hatha Yoga, Yin and Yin and Yang Yoga, Core Yoga Flow, Restorative Yoga and Core Pilates.

My favorite for sure was Yin Yang Yoga because you can relax while holding poses for 2-5 mins while incorporating normal flow yoga where poses are held for 10-20 seconds. Plus it makes you feel cleansed and energetic afterwards.

I researched how this actually worked because the class just involved a whole lot of bending over and lying down and it just seemed to good to be true.

Yin Yang yoga style incorporates a balance between deep long stretches and a Hatha style flow. It’s designed to simultaneously release energy flow and expand flexibility through penetrating deep into connective tissue. Further developing muscular strength and stamina with the combination of the two styles.

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An artistic representation of the Yin Yang Ideology depicting the balance between night and day and the sea and sky. Credit Yogi Surprise, Pintrest

Many people are familiar with the ancient Chinese Yin Yang symbol which emphasizes balance and the cycle of life, how one force dominates and is thus replaced with the opposing force. This is often used a metaphors for life and death, heaven and earth, night and day, health and sickness, poverty and wealth and the cycle of the seasons (winter to summer). Known as the Tai Chi (or Taiqi) symbol, this ideology is mirrored through the yoga style as it balances stillness and movement throughout its practice. Ester Ekhart , describes Yin Yang as best for people who are tired, overstimulated, have overactive mindsets and erratic energy.  I feel this directly applies to me and was invented with myself in mind which must explain why this practice just felt right. My balance between work, uni and attempting to maintain a social life is all out of whack and my inner eye needed some ancient yin yang to work that out.

Here is a Youtube tutorial for a 35min Yin Yang class for beginners to advanced levels of yoga, aiming to release stress if you want further insight into the style by Yoga with Kassandra.

My research has also uncovered that Yoga itself originated in India, beginning as a spiritual process which had the ability to heal yourself and inner being. Many practices which are today defined as different yoga styles, originated in India around the same time that Hindu ideology begun to emerge, therefore the two are often associated with one another. Despite this, it is important to note that the two are separate as yoga is more a way of thinking and living instead of a religion. A Cure Joy editorial emphasizes ‘ It is wrong to identify yoga through religion- just as it is wrong to identify an American product as a Christian product’. I like this metaphor as it helps you visualize how the practice of yoga itself differs from the Hindu religion despite their similarities in ideology.

Yoga styles practiced in the west, can be traced back over 5000 years ago. However as early transcriptions regarding the practice were secretive and passed on orally and written on palm tree leaves which are easily lost or damaged, it is possible that the practice of yoga is over 10,000 years old.  There are 3 different periods which have influenced the creation of yoga as it’s practiced today in the west.

The Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India developed the beginnings of Pre-Classical Yoga and coined the term ‘Yoga’ in the oldest of the 4 sacred Hindu texts, the Rigveda which is a collection of ancient Indian Sanskrits. Yoga was then refined by the Brahman’s priests and Rishis who documented the practice in the Upanishad, consisting of over 200 scriptures. The Upanishad utilized the idea of ritual sacrifice and applied it to the practice in the sacrifice of individual ego through self-knowledge, karma and wisdom.  The Classical period of yoga begun in the 2nd century and is defined by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras which were the first presentation of yoga that cultivated many different styles and conflicting ideas which were seen throughout the practice. Patanjali was the first to denote the idea of the Eight Limbs of yoga in the Yoga-Sutras. Because of this he is seen as the ‘father of yoga’ as many of the Sutras outlined still influence modern styles of yoga today. The Post- Classical yoga period saw yoga masters attempting to refine the practice futher to explore the physical- spiritual connection between the mind and the body as a means to rejuvenate the body and extend life. This period saw the development of Tantra Yoga, utilizing radical techniques to cleanse the mind and body and ‘break the knots which tie us to our physical existence’.

Modern Yoga was bought to the west by yoga masters in the 18-1900’s. Hatha Yoga which is the most common style practiced in the west encompasses many of the fore mentioned attributes including sacrificing individual ego, self-knowledge, karma practice, wisdom, The Eight Limbs and the separation of mind and body as alternate entities. The first Hatha Yoga School was opened in 1924 by Krishamacharya in Mysore in India. (Today is known as Mysuru) It wasn’t until 1947 that Indra Devi opened a yoga studio in Hollywood, and since then it has been embraced by stressed out white people like myself worldwide.

Brought to me by the ancient yoga masters in India, practicing yoga has helped me feel like I’m getting my life together, or maybe I’m just more clam as it’s falling apart. Regardless my experience with yoga has made me feel enlightened and I thoroughly enjoyed expanding my knowledge on the history and origins of the practice.

 

References;

 

 

 

 

My Autoethnographic Experience With Yoga.

For my autoethnographic project I will be attempting to practice yoga and observe whether it has an impact on my lifestyle and relaxation levels. I have a basic knowledge of yoga, essentially that it is an ancient practice which is a really good form of exercise as it lowers blood pressure, stress and can enable people to have a more relaxed outlook on life. As a broke and stressed out uni student I need more of all of those things in my life and therefore have absolutely nothing to lose by attempting this. Except maybe a little dignity when I discover I am not as flexibly inclined as I originally assumed.

yoga-piccy

Caitlin Turner who goes by  Gypset Goddess on Instagram. Photo via Instagram

 

I have been doing yoga for the past 8 months in between uni, working and  going on holidays I can’t afford, in an attempt to get some zen and relaxation into my routine. I am generally a very high strung person who is stressed about anything and everything. However I realized there must be a better way of dealing with life in general than this. Hence; yoga.

Currently I aim to go 3 times a week and I usually leave feeling somewhat relaxed (never completely) with the impression I have done some exercise even though I basically stayed in the same spot for an hour, sticking my ass into the air and lying on a mat.

Last night I went to a Yin Yang yoga class which involved a lot of twists and turns and holding poses to release pressure on the joints which helps cleanse the body of toxins.

This morning I woke up at 7 am,  and instead of feeling as exhausted as I usually would when I wake up at the crack of dawn, I felt refreshed and energetic and my brain felt somewhat clearer.

I’ve never had this reaction since I began practicing yoga. I’ve felt relaxed and found myself able to concentrate on things better, however this is the first time I’ve felt full of energy after a class. It was awesome.

In my initial experiences practicing yoga I found it surprisingly easy as a result of my many years of dancing as a child into my teens.Giving me a bit more flexibility than a lot of beginners and helped me to enjoy the practice more initially.

Things started getting harder and more strenuous when I realized the class I was attending was in fact one of the easy ones. Meaning I probably wasn’t as good at yoga as I’d hoped.

After doing a Hatha yoga class a couple of weeks later I learnt 3 things

  1. Yoga is not to be messed with for the faint hearted
  2. Yoga is awesome when you do it right
  3. Yoga instructors have the lungs of aliens and can spend 30 seconds taking the same breath and expect you to do the same. They should all be Olympic swimmers or something because that is amazing and unnatural.

 

Hatha yoga is one of the more traditional styles and focuses on keeping breathing and movement in sync. As yoga encourages deep and long breathing while doing quite difficult exercise, this was something I struggled with. Trying to keep my ass and leg in the air  while feeling like my wrists are going to pop out and practicing ‘mindfulness’ with ‘relaxation breathing’ simultaneously, sometimes proves difficult.

Although I’ve attended yoga for a few months now, I realized I didn’t know much at all about the background and theory behind the practices. Therefore it was time I completed some research and found out what it actually was I was participating in.

Hatha yoga refers to any type of physical yoga and consists of 8 Limbs which emphasize the steps for a healthy and happy life.  The limbs are outlined in the Sutras and each one relates to a different aspect of achieving a healthy and fulfilling life. The Limbs include the 5 Yamas which are directives on how a yogi should undertake aspects of life towards others. I find them similar to the 10 commandments of Christianity, however they appear to be less strict and enforced and are more guidelines rather than specific things you can’t do which are considered bad or sinful.

Including;

  • Ahimsa: reffering to non-violence against others and is often used as an argument for choosing to be a vegetarian.
  • Satya: practicing truthfulness
  • Asteya: not stealing from others and also alludes to not bringing people down to make yourself better
  • Brahmacharya: refers to chastity but can mean either celibacy or just control of sexual impulses
  • Aparigraha: not coveting what others have

The next limb is the Niyamas and is broken up 5 ways again to describe how one should act ethically towards themselves.

  • Saucha: referring to cleanliness and alludes to keeping pure intentions
  • Santosa: contentment with oneself
  • Tapas: self discipline
  • Svadhyay: self study to look within yourself for answers
  • Isvara pranidhana: surrender to a higher power

The other 6 of the 8 limbs of yoga include:

  • Asana: the physical practice of yoga postures
  • Pranyama: the practice of breathing exercises
  • Pratyahara: the withdrawal of senses, so the outside world isn’t a distraction from the internal inside individuals
  • Dharana: concentration, the ability to focus uninterrupted by internal and external distraction.
  • Dhyana: Meditation and the ability to extend your concentration beyond a single thing
  • Samadhi: bliss, and the transcendence of the self through meditation where an individual merges with the universe. This is also known as enlightenment

I’ve heard allusions to some of the Limbs before during my practices, however what I didn’t expect was the implied chastity practice in Brahmacharya. As I’ve always seen yoga as a free and relaxed form of practice which allows individual interpretation of the limbs, I didn’t expect such a direct instruction regarding sexuality. I would expect this from the stricter religions although because yoga has such Buddhist and Hindu roots, there would be some sharing of morals and guidelines.

Over the next few weeks, I aim to practice yoga and attempt to observe the 8 limbs which aim to attain health and fulfillment. I will document my practices and how I feel and then my auto ethnographic experience to how well I was able to achieve a better lifestyle through undertaking yoga.

 

References:

State of Gender Equality in South Korea

Today I am analyzing my own auto-ethnographic account of the South Korean documentary on professional gaming ‘State of Play‘.

Autoethnography as defined by Ellis et al, 2011 refers to the act of observing a cultural experience and discussing how your own personal cultural experiences affect the way in which you experience this.

In my initial autoethnographic account of ‘State of Play’, I was left dumbfounded at some of the situations exhibited in the documentary. This included the huge amount of fame given to professional gamers, these gamers then giving the majority of their ridiculously high earnings to their parents and the lack of equality exhibited in gender roles through South Korean society. After the initial shock of these differences wore off, I conducted research into South Korean traditions and values and found many answers to my questions of cultural difference.

Despite only 1% of South Koreans actively identifying as Confucianist today, many of their social values and traditions are based upon Confucianist ideologies. The family is integral in Korean life and the father, being the head of the family is required to provide food, clothing and shelter and must approve of any marriages of members of the family. Many families trace back their ancestry through male ancestors for over 500 years and Confucius’s teachings denote how individuals should behave and outlines obligations of people depending on their relationship.(Commisceo Global, 2016)

Further children in Korean society are raised to believe they can never repay their parents for bringing them up and are forever in their debt. As the act of bringing them into the world and giving them life is seen as the ultimate self-sacrifice.(Commisceo Global, 2016)

Now how does all this relate?

The cultural values exhibited in Korean society and their values bring light to a lot of the things Lee Jae Dong did in the documentary ‘State of Play’ which confused me in my initial viewing.

For example, I was thoroughly perplexed and mildly pissed off when Lee Jae Dong’s exclaimed that he gave all of his winnings to his father. Growing up in capitalist Australia my initial reaction was to accuse the father of stealing and question his use of emotional manipulation tactics. However, upon research and reflection, as Korean society places the family’s welfare above that of the individual’s, and Korean children are raised in debt of their parents by Confucian tradition, this act made sense. Despite the fact my upbringing still makes me view this as ridiculously unfair.

Another aspect of confusion for me was the very structured, rather sexist ritual of female fans presenting Lee Jae Dong with gifts after he would play in professional gaming tournaments. Although it appears gift giving has very strict etiquette rules to follow in South Korea. As the female fans admire and respect Lee Jae Dong, and want him to perform well, these gifts signify support and love from the fans. Some of the etiquette rules to follow include handing over the gift with both hands, wrapping it nicely (a gift wrapped untidily is a sign of disrespect), and giving 4 of something in a gift is considered unlucky where giving 7 of something is lucky. (Commisceo Global, 2016)

The fact that everyone has a specific place in society with rules and obligations they must follow accordingly means the disparity between genders is very large. South Korea ranked 111th out of 136 in the gender equality index. As the documentary highlighted through its significant lack of female professional gamers and immense number of fangirls which I originally found quite alarming, the country has a long way to go for gender equality. (Kim, J Lee J-W, Shin, K 2016)

Just because these social exchanges make sense, doesn’t make them agreeable or right for the me and this seems to be the case for others as there are many feminist groups fighting to raise women’s place in South Korean society.  There is a 55% female participation rate in the South Korean labor force compared to the male rate of 77%. South Korea’s importance of raising a good family places immense pressure on mothers, who are primarily responsible for rearing children. Korean workplaces have been found to provide inflexible environments for working mothers and a lack of affordable, convenient and quality child care. (Kim, J Lee J-W, Shin, K 2016)

One of the more extreme branches of these movements is ‘Megalia‘ who have spoken out against, misogyny in South Korea. Their website is a space which has been dubbed by Reddit user ‘SexyMcSexington’ (I know I’m sorry) as the ‘female Korean 4chan‘ which I find is an interesting perspective.  The group have been surrounded in controversy as it attempted to ‘mirror’ the misogynistic comments male users would write about females.

However much of the backlash I found was very similar to the backlash against feminism in Western cultures and Megalian’s tactics could be easily compared to ‘Feminazis’ online. Where men would have similar arguments stating that the feminists are worse than misogynists and accuse them of attempting them of suppressing men’s sexual freedom. (Singh, E 2016)

The group have been responsible for shutting down ‘hidden cams’ on the website Ticketmonster, which would film females in situations where they were unaware of being filmed. They lobbied for the removal of misogynistic banners from Hanshin University, donated over 6 million KRW to Aeranwon an NGO which helps single mothers, and most notably has stopped the sale of high concentrate hydrochloric acid which has been used as weapons in hate crimes against women by men. This was all done by lobbying and protesting by the group and are all significant measures which enable better safety and security of South Korean women.

Their logo I absolutely love, it is satiric in nature and alludes to the novel by Gerd Braten Berg, ‘Egalia’s Daughters: A Satire of the Sexes’, where the genders are reversed. So males are at constant risk of sexual assault and it’s considered their fault and women are given the upper hand in society due to their ability to give birth. It also alludes to the constant objectification of women through use of hand gesture used to signify small male genetalia. (Singh, E 2016)

megalia-logo4

I love that there are feminists fighting for their voices and right to equality in South Korea as there was a very defined divide between genders throughout the documentary. The only females shown were the gamer’s mothers and sisters and then the fan girls whose only purpose seemed to be to worship and offer unyielding support for the players. Which I found very unsettling considering its 2016.

I apologize for going off on a feminist tangent however I feel I didn’t delve enough into the issue in my original autoethnographic account. Through analysis of my original post, I have gained greater understanding of the Korean Culture and the state of society (pun intended) exhibited in the documentary ‘State of Play’ through research and reflection.

 

Autoethographic recount of State of Play

Autoethnography to me sounds oddly like a niche branch of medicine practiced by only a few dedicated doctors. However, I have learnt despite my initial first impression this is not the case. Autoethnography is a means of exploring other cultures, religions and experiences without having to be objective and disregard your personal observations and experiences when undertaking investigation. (Ellis, C. et. al, 2011)  I think this is great because there is usually an element of bias within research no matter how objective an individual try to be, and acknowledging the individual’s knowledge and experience, opens an extra element of understanding for everyone involved.

So watching the documentary State of Play, (2013) which follows the path of aspiring professional gamers in Korean who play ‘StarCraft’, was really interesting for me.

starcraft pic.jpg

One of the first things I noticed was how dedicated the players were to their games, which I would compare to NRL and FIFA players who train all day. Their sport absorbs every aspect of their life as they aim to be the best. Korean gamers who would train for 12 hours a day by playing games on the computer seems like the complete opposite to our admired western athletes, however the amount of preparation and dedication the gamers put into their sport, even though it’s not physical, is still as consuming in their everyday life. The idea that the gamers would move out of their home to go live with their teammates who they eat, sleep and train with daily, isn’t something which is often done in Australia as athletes usually have individual accommodation. However, when considering financial and time implications of travelling and separate living in Seoul, the concept makes a lot of sense to me.

The popularity of gaming is shown through the competitions, which were filled with fans who were so emotionally invested in the players. At first I was unable to comprehend how these fans (who were all female supporting the male players) were so obsessed with the games and the gamers, but then when comparing it to celebrities like Justin Beiber and One Direction where fangirls will wait for hours in the cold just to get a glimpse of them I guess it’s not such a foreign concept.

Another thing which bugged me the whole time watching the documentary that I couldn’t actually put my finger on it until Chris defined it at the end, was the definite and unmalleable gender roles. The girls were the cheerleaders and the guys were the studs who played games. The weird tradition of the gamers accepting gifts of food, flowers and miscellaneous gifts from their fans after their tournaments was unsettling for me. I found the whole concept archaic and the firm structure of the exchange alludes back to the stereotype of females always being nurturing creatures through worrying about the physical and mental health of the players.

There was not a single featured female gamer, they were all merely there to make up the masses of females supporting the players. In the recent events of the ‘gamergate’ controversy this is further example of how unequal and closed the professional gaming world is for females.

The documentary gave insight into how important family is in Korean culture. For example, when Lee Jae Dong was playing professionally it was revealed he would earn 135000 Euros per year which is approximately AUD $196500. Later in the documentary when he was visiting family he mentioned that he gave all the money he made to his father. In Australia I feel that would not go down so well, yes individuals would often give their parents and family significant amounts of money when receiving a lot, but it was so accepted by all of Lee Jae Dong’s family that his father should receive all of his income. The element of ownership is a more collective form of earning for family in Korea compared to the independent capitalist society western cultures follow.

However, as critical as I am, I did enjoy the glimpse into the dramas and tears of the Korean Professional Gaming Leagues which exhibited distinct differences and similarities to western sporting cultures.

  • Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1
  • State of Play, Sept 10 2013Documentary, Steven Dhoedt
  • Mr–Jack, 2013-2016, Star Craft: Trifecta, image, Deviant Art, viewed 7 August 2016, <http://mr–jack.deviantart.com/art/StarCraft-Trifecta-387451595&gt;

Hi All!

My name is Dominique Gaitt and I’m a 3rd year studying International Studies and Communications and Media majoring in Sustainable Development and Global Media and Communications. I am in the Monday tute for DIGC330 and am looking forward to learning about Asia in a way I haven’t previously. I find what you learn in school about other countries can be stereotypical and focuses on the history instead of the present cultural circumstances, which is why I love my degree because it steps away from all of the watered down historical accounts and shows it how it is from another perspective. In this case focusing on the digital world which I believe is so interesting because historically its a very new aspect to study.

One day I hope to be working with an NGO focusing on something like helping refugees or environmental sustainability. Basically the eventual is aim to be the achiever of world peace and all that greenie talk. Possibly a politician, who knows. Someone who has the power to change a lot of what is fundamentally wrong with today’s world. But in the mean time i’ll just study it at uni.

Looking forward to a great semester!