Giving Thanks


I know I am a little late with this post according to the calendar, but maybe it is a good reminder that “Thanksgiving” is something for every day and not just that one day of the year we cook up a big meal to gather with loved ones.

Gratitude and giving thanks each and every day can have a huge effect on our mood and the way we treat ourselves and others. Even the smallest thought of “thanks” for me is something that can open up a crack of light where darkness might feel like it has crept in.

So much of yoga has given me opportunities and paths of gratitude. The fact that I am able to even practice each day is a gift and a blessing. To be given the time to get to know myself first and foremost is the key to better understanding the world and the people around me. What makes yoga different from any other action is the emphasis on awareness, so to live life fully and with awareness means to not miss anything and therefore less regret.

To feel the body in simple movement, to be conscious of thought and action, and to be given tools to understand and work through obstacles is the basis of yoga, so isn’t that also the basis of life?

Beyond the relationship yoga gives to our own self, there is a whole community that yoga also provides. When you walk into a class you are immediately surrounded by people of like-mind, willing to challenge themselves through whatever might be in store. Through yoga, I have made lifelong friends, sisters and brothers in yoga that understand all the highs and lows that come with a deeper study of the Self. They are there for support and guidance, for new ideas and fresh perspectives. I give thanks for them each day.

Then there are the teachers of yoga, dedicated students who have come before us, continuing their studies and passing on the traditions of the practice. The gratitude I feel for all of those teachers, including the Iyengar family, overflows my heart. The gifts of the Iyengar lineage and method are unmatched and there is not enough time in my own one lifetime to cover all that has been shared. But, I am thankful for the space and the opportunity to continue that lineage with students who come after me.

The Yoga Place now is a part of the gratitude I feel. Moving around has been part of my journey, and though there have been definite drawbacks, I am grateful for all the gifts my twisted path has given. The Yoga Place is a gem within La Crosse and I am glad there was room for me to settle in here.

And we ALL should be thankful for The Yoga Place! As a stranger, I came in and was greeted with attention and respect. As a student, I am excited that each teacher has a different perspective to share. As a teacher, I know the students are open, attentive, and willing to listen and learn new things.

Don’t forget that every day can be “thanksgiving” … you might be surprised at the light you let in.

Jennie Williford CIYT

Jennie Williford (CIYT Level 3) is a transplant to LaCrosse via Montana, Illinois, and originally Texas. Throughout her life moves and 5 trips to India, Jennie has acquired a well-rounded and multi-faceted approach to Iyengar Yoga since her start in 1998. Jennie loves the experimental and explorative nature of yoga in accessing deeper knowledge of the Self on every level. The practice of yoga can be intense and introspective, however as practitioners we can be light-hearted and open-minded in our discipline. Jennie is intrigued by the philosophy of yoga and hopes to share this depth of subject while teaching the physical and mental benefits that come from the practice of posture.