The Struggle is Real – AND Worth It


I love to introduce people to Iyengar Yoga. No matter if you are a raw beginner who has never taken class or someone who does yoga and just has never yet experienced Iyengar Yoga, you will find a great addition to your life or practice. But, I won’t sugar coat it either. Yoga is not meant to be “easy” or “obstacle free”. It is a practice of transformation and awareness, which means sometimes there is a smack in the face with unavoidable truths AND on the flip side of that the benefit of amazing progress and growth.

When a new student walks into a Level I class there is always trepidation. Some folks have no idea what to expect and those who think they know are also faced with new information to digest. From the first moment of sitting quietly, I think most of us are challenged. You have to turn off your phone, detach from your life outside, open up to learning something different, and focus on your own space and self for an hour or so. To top it off, in Iyengar Yoga there isn’t even music to keep you distracted! It is ALL YOU!!!

When I took my first yoga class, it is a good thing I was committed to a whole semester at a college. My first class was a struggle of ultimate proportion. I was stiff, I had a mind that could drive me a little nuts without distraction, and I just had NO IDEA what I was getting into. It wasn’t Iyengar Yoga, but like most Hatha Yoga teachers nowadays, she was influenced by the stability and alignment that BKS Iyengar brought to practice of posture. We stayed in poses for a little longer as my hamstrings screamed and my brain screamed louder.

However, by the end of the semester there was “something” I just couldn’t put my finger on. Something HAD changed in me despite what I saw as a real struggle. So here I am now, teaching and passing on the struggle to others…but with the knowledge that it is definitely all worth it!

The first class I taught outside of just some friends and coworkers was actually a class with students I had started yoga with – a little awkward to say the least. I had been absent from this particular class for 2 years, sent off by my teacher to a “real studio in the big city”, settled into Iyengar Yoga, and then asked to teach when my old teacher was moving. These were not “new yoga students” by any means, but I had nothing but the Iyengar Level I syllabus to work with, so that’s what I taught. They LOVED IT and the amazing change I saw in those students within their committed session is the reason I stay committed to Iyengar Yoga and still teach today. I am inspired by the progress I see in students every time a session concludes!

Watching any person move from a scattered mind and stiff uncontrolled body, to a more focused space and connected sense of self is nothing less than exciting. The awkward, stiff, and sometimes bored new student blooms into a more free, confident, and focused being. The progressive learning of Iyengar Yoga pulls this focus out of the student and teaches them tools for practice on the mat, but also out in life. But, it takes consistency and commitment, just like anything that shows results. You have to get through the initial struggle and persevere to that other side of growth and transformation.

The Yoga Place will be starting their New Year session on January 5. Registration is now open and we have three strictly Level I classes on the schedule – Monday at 5:45pm, Wednesday at 4:00pm, and Thursday morning at 8:15am. Whether you are absolutely new to yoga or want to add a new angle to your current yoga practice, these classes are great for YOU! Drop-in and give it a try, but remember that commitment will be the key to your ultimate growth!

Sign up NOW!

Give yourself the gift of yoga, or pass this on to someone else! We hope to see your changes in 2020!!!

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.