Pranayama Yoga Studio—monthly yoga philosophy Classes

Most people in the West are now very familiar with the physical aspect of yoga, called asana, but many do not know or have misconceptions about the history and philosophy that give yoga its full depth and transformative nature. Over the course of eight monthly classes, participants will rediscover this full yoga practice and discuss the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects that are the deeper complement to the physical practice of asana.

Sign up for an eight-month course

Eight classes at $10 each (you may pay ahead or per class) will meet on the last Wednesday of the month for eight months from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Pranayama Yoga Studio at 517 E. State St., Rockford—advance registration is helpful.

The ancient philosophy and practices of yoga were first passed down by word of mouth beginning around 5,000 B.C. and are found throughout the great epics and writings of Indian culture, but the teachings were finally consolidated and written down in a comprehensive form in The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali. Patañjali himself was a great teacher and sage who lived between 100 and 200 AD. The Yoga Sutras, 196 aphorisms divided into four chapters, are a universal guide to transformation, giving steps to master the mind and emotions and keys to overcoming the obstacles we face on our individual spiritual paths.

These philosophical teachings of yoga are not bound to any religion or dogma and can benefit all those seeking a better understanding of themselves, the world around them, and/or spiritual depth in their life. In so many yoga classes today, this philosophy is ignored, and therefore the student of yoga is missing an integral part of the practice. Yoga is union, and without all the pieces coming together, there is no union, and there is no yoga.

Course outline:

Feb. 28: Brief History of Yoga and Patanjali, What is Yoga?

March 28: Purusha vs. Prakrti, Understanding our Self and our Nature

April 25: The 5 Afflictions and Discriminative Knowledge

May 30: Yamas, The Great Vows or Moral Code

June 27: Niyamas, Personal Observances of Practice

July 25: Asana (posture), Pranayama (breath work), Pratyahara (sense withdrawal)

Aug. 29: Vibhuti Pada, Benefits and Qualities Derived from the Practice of Yoga

Sept. 26: Kaivalya Pada, The Qualities of a Yogi and the Paths of Yoga

These classes will be taught by Jennie Williford, Iyengar Instructor in Certification. They will be fascinating and fun for those who have already practiced yoga, and also a great introduction for those who have not even begun. There will be suggested reading for those who want to study more deeply, but helpful hand-outs will also be provided. Full course attendance is best, but you may attend individual classes.

Information about these special classes and a full list of regular day and evening classes can be accessed at or at 968-YOGA (9642).

From the Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2007, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!