PHIL 12
Yoga: Cultivating a Practice for Life Winter 2023

Class Details

“Yoga: Cultivating a Practice” will examine what the practice of Yoga is, and how it can serve as a foundation, guide, and inspiration for living, particularly in the face of personal or societal challenges. Alongside the daily physical practice of “asana” (yoga poses), the class will investigate the philosophical and ethical teachings of Yoga’s ancient text, the Yoga Sutras of PataƱjali. Students will learn a number of basic yoga poses and breathing techniques in 1.5-hour classes that will meet 5 days a week. Class time will include about 15 minutes of discussion, followed by a taught asana practice. Students will read and discuss portions of the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, and contemporary texts analyzing Yoga in society. Assignments may also include pre-recorded talks from contemporary Yoga philosophers. This course explores the roots of Yoga as an embodied practice of moral philosophy, and introduces students to Yoga’s potential for individual and collective transformation. This learning is primarily experiential, and students are requested not to miss class sessions. Students will be expected to practice on their own outside of class, to journal, and to participate in class discussions of the readings. Students will submit weekly written assignments in response to prompts relating to class material and a longer final paper.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 14
Expected: NA
Class#: 1225
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Class participation, plus weekly short papers and final 5-page paper.
Prerequisites: No previous yoga experience required. Special permission required for students with significant injuries or broken bones, as the format may not allow me to accommodate their needs.
Enrollment Preferences: I will invite students to an orientation session in order to assess their interest and motivation for the class. From this, I will select participants with a goal of creating a broadly diverse group that can support and enrich each other's experience.
Unit Notes: Anne O'Connor '86 has practiced Yoga since the late 1990s and became a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher (CIYT) in 2016. A Williamstown native, she lived in France and Germany for almost 20 years, working as a freelance translator and editor.
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
WELL Winter Study Wellness

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