Yoga Rockford: Yoga — for a New Year and a new you

By Jennie Williford
Pranayama Yoga Studio

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali start with the simple sentence, “Now begins the practice of yoga.” Such a simple sentence at the start of the whole treatise on the practice of yoga serves to remind us that every “now” is a good time to start yoga. And the New Year is now, so let’s get to it!

With every New Year there is a hope that we, too, will be new, improved somehow with the change of the date. But, it is also known that without some commitment, those resolutions made on Dec. 31 quickly become a distant memory once the New Year begins. So this year, why not try something different, or if yoga is not new to you, make a renewed commitment to your practice?

Starting yoga now, in the New Year, will bring much-needed support to any and all other activities you might take on. Plus, during the winter season, yoga gives us an indoor activity and tools for introspection that ultimately make all commitments we make to ourselves stronger and more resilient.

The difference between yoga and all our other possible resolutions is this very concept of “now.” Yoga teaches us to pay attention in each and every moment. Not just at the turn of the New Year, but in each and every breath, we are given the opportunity of a new beginning. As we focus the mind on the “now,” it allows less and less time for mental wanderings among old and destructive habits. Through a practice of yoga postures, we not only get a good, healthy workout, but also begin to catch the wanderings of the mind. As we hold the mind steadfast to one particular pose or action within that pose, we soon may become more “tuned in” to every action we take.

Being in the “now” at every moment then allows us to be more aware of all actions in posture or outside the yoga class. If you want to lose weight, you first have to be aware of the habits that make you gain weight. If you want to have better relationships, it is first and foremost important to get to know yourself. If you want to be more productive, you must first lessen the internal chatter that serves as an obstacle to efficiency. The key to all these things lies in developing attention on the “now.”

So “now” begins the practice of yoga. The only thing standing in the way is finding a place to start. Iyengar Yoga is a great way to begin or renew your practice of yoga, no matter who you are at any stage of life. Iyengar yoga is a “method” that builds the learning of postures in a safe and efficient manner, while incorporating the life philosophy behind the physical work. Classes are taught in levels so that any student can progress and transform at the pace they are comfortable with. And Iyengar Yoga covers the gamut of movement from the stable to the mobile, from the simple to the complex, so that all aspects of your physical and mental being are challenged.

Start your yoga now and see how you might increase your focus, increase your attention, and increase your chances of sticking to resolutions in the New Year.

For more information about Pranayama Yoga Studio, visit or call (815) 968-9642.

From the Dec. 31, 2014-Jan. 6, 2015, issue

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