Sabbatical and Study


It is now known that I will be on sabbatical from teaching during the months of March, April, and May. I very much appreciate the newsletter Pam sent and her thoughts on progress and honesty. These terms resonate for me too as I look forward to some time that I might progress in longer practices, and very honestly take time to regroup and recharge myself as I look forward to my 50th year.

Yoga is a study – of life, science, philosophy, art, and ultimately Self. And this study takes time – time that sometimes gets away in the normal process and responsibilities of life. Yes, a practice is always there, but what is the quality of it, the energy of it, the growth from it?

In all honesty, this last year has brought a lot of “extra” to my life, and I am feeling the absence of an India trip that would have possibly happened in 2021, but was impossible due to COVID. The ability to separate yourself away from the usual day-to-day and focus on practice and study alongside other dedicated practitioners is a gift that is priceless and indescribable. The usual gatherings of teachers in intensives and workshops also has been absent, so the group energy and dynamic that feeds me from those has also been lacking.

March, April, and May started to show themselves as a perfect 50th gift to myself. Study opportunities and trips began to open up, so what will I be up to you ask?? Here are the highlights….

First, my 50th birthday is on March 8 and I have the opportunity to spend time that first week of March with my oldest practice buddy and our teacher as she teaches at his studio in Cincinnati, OH. I will drive to Cincinnati and road trip through towns that have previously felt like second homes – Madison, Rockford (which actually was my home of 10 years), and Chicago. I look forward to practice time with colleagues and old friends at each stop.

I will take time to travel to Texas to visit family. My father and father-in-law both passed toward the beginning of the pandemic, so the distance from our mothers has started to feel a little father away than it used to. Many of you know my mother does come to class online through The Yoga Place, but of course that does not compare to a live visit…right mom??

In April, my husband and I will team up with an old friend and her husband for a celebration of the 50s in Italy. I do hope to catch a class in Florence with one of our amazing senior Iyengar Yoga teachers there. The last time I was in Italy was for a week-long yoga intensive in Tuscany with Gabriella Guibilaro and Mary Dunn – that memory still lives strong within my practice.

May will be the icing on the cake, as I look forward to getting to sit a 10-day Vipassana Meditation course that I also missed last year. Very likely I will have to take it at a center near Joshua Tree National Park as it meets up with my schedule and bumps right up to the Iyengar Convention in San Diego.

May 15-20 we are blessed again to have Abhijata Iyengar travel to the US for our every-three-year IYNAUS Convention. This year there is an online option, so I would absolutely recommend any interested Iyengar Yoga student to sign up for either. The sun of San Diego is beautiful and the teaching of Abhijata is joyful and accessible to many, so a win-win no matter what you decide! Click HERE for more information.

All in all, I think it will be a great time to feed my soul with yoga and study and time with friends. And, as with any sabbatical, come back with more to teach, more to share, and more energy for it all.

I appreciate all the support and notes I have already received from those who have known and those who just found out. I will miss teaching, but of course will return. It is a path I never thought I would be on, but was called to do, and unexpectedly found a real passion for. I want to encourage every single one of you to continue in your own study – every class at The Yoga Place is there to feed YOU when you make the time.

I leave you all now with how I leave students at the end of a class…”Remember to thank yourself for taking the time to pay attention to your body, your mind, and your breath, and bringing them together through this practice of yoga.”

Tagged as

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.